Sanders Proposes Surtax on Wealthy to Pay for Bailouts

Calls for Breakup of Businesses ‘Too Big to Fail,' Stronger Financial Regulation

WASHINGTON, September 18 - Amid one of the worst financial crises in American history, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today laid out a four-part plan to cope with the collapse of financial institutions and avoid future failures of businesses "too big to fail."

First, Sanders proposed a surtax on the very wealthy to pay for bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and American International Group.

"The wealthiest 400 families in America saw an increase in their wealth of $670 billion since President Bush has been in office. They have seen extraordinary benefits under Bush's reckless economic policies. The middle class, whose standard of living has declined, should not be paying for these bailouts. Rather, we need an emergency surtax on those at the very top in order to pay for any losses the federal government suffers as a result of necessary efforts to shore up the economy," Sanders said.

Second, he called for stronger oversight of financial institutions, "This Congress needs to put an end to the radical deregulation that we have seen under President Bush and even before him. We need to put the safety walls back up in the financial services sector. We need to regulate the electronic energy markets to end speculation in oil futures."

Third, he said giant businesses like Bank of America should be broken up so no company in the future could bring the American economy down with it. Said Sanders, "This country can no longer afford companies that are ‘too big to fail.' If a company is so large that its failure would cause systemic harm to our economy, if it is too big to fail, then it is too big to exist."

Fourth, he called for an immediate economic stimulus package which would put people back to rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and moving us to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.