A massive recovery operation was underway this weekend after Hurricane Sandy left scores dead and caused an estimated $50 billion in damage. The so-called superstorm blew ashore Monday along the mid-Atlantic coast. “It’s Global Warming, Stupid,” a Businessweek cover shouted. Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed. He called the storm a wake-up call about the need to seriously address climate change. He also said transforming America’s energy system from fossil fuels to clean energy sources such as solar and wind would have a major side benefit. It would create jobs. The U.S. Labor Department report issued Friday on unemployment in October showed signs of improvement but millions of Americans remained out of work.
‘It’s Global Warming, Stupid’
“If we do not reverse global warming, the science is very clear. We can expect more damaging extreme weather in the future, and a strong likelihood of it being more and more severe. As a member of both the energy and environment committees, I am going to do everything I can to support the strongest possible legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions and end our reliance on fossil fuels while making major improvements in energy efficiency and transforming our energy system to sustainable energy,” Sanders said. As a member of both the Senate energy and environment committees, Sanders has long pressed for action on global warming. Read more.
The Labor Department announced Friday that employers added 171,000 positions in October. The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September. The real jobless rate was 14.6 percent counting workers forced into part-time jobs along with frustrated job hunters who gave up looking for work. The last look at hiring before Tuesday's election showed a gradually growing job market. Since July, the economy added an average of 173,000 jobs a month, up from 67,000 a month from April through June.
A Bad Bargain
When Congress returns later this month, the main focus is expected to be on the budget. Sanders is the founder of the Senate Defending Social Security Caucus. He is leading the fight against calls to cut Social Security and other programs that help working families. He also has offered a detailed plan of his own to reduce deficits. While “ripping the austerity agenda of Romney and Paul Ryan,” Sanders also has warned “that Obama and too many Democrats were inclining toward an austerity-lite ‘grand bargain’ that would make debt reduction a greater priority than saving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," according to a profile in The Nation.
With millions of students graduating from college in debt, Sanders wants to make college affordable for all Americans. “Some of my Republican friends would like to cut important education programs such as Stafford loans and Pell grants," he told The Vermont Cynic in an article published by the University of Vermont student newspaper on Wednesday. “However, I believe we should expand them to help all Americans, regardless of income.”