"Americans have suffered through the worst economic decline since the Great Depression. Millions of people have lost their jobs. We're seeing people with very long-term unemployment. We are seeing older people who have lost their life's savings and are now worried about how they are going to retire with dignity. We have seen people lose their homes, and we've seen people lose their pensions. We've seen, in many ways, the collapse of the American middle class," said Sen. Sanders.
Although corporate profits now exceed their pre-recession levels, those benefits have not have not been realized by the middle class and working families who are struggling with stagnant wages and job losses. Sen. Sanders believes we must put millions of Americans back to work by rebuilding our nation's crumbling infrastructure, transitioning to sustainable sources of energy, and bringing our data and telecommunications networks into the 21st century. He also believes we must address record high youth unemployment, and introduced legislation that would provide federal funds to states and local communities to help young people find jobs.
Sen. Sanders feels that those who have benefitted the most from years of tax cuts and a laissez-faire approach to corporate regulation should be the same people asked to bear the burden of digging us out of that hole. As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, he has pointed frequently to the collapse of the American middle class as median family income has declined and millions have lost their health insurance and their pensions. He said, "The reality is that we have the hollowing out of the American economy."
Sen. Sanders firmly believes we must stop profitable Wall Street banks and corporations from sheltering profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes, and as such he introduced the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act (S.250). He also believes that capital gains and dividends should be taxed at the same rate as other income.
On December 10, 2010, Sen. Sanders spoke on the floor of the Senate for nearly eight hours, opposing the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy. He linked the overly generous treatment of the wealthy with the disappearance of the middle class. You can read this famous “filibuster” in its entirety here.
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