BURLINGTON, Vt., March 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said today he is working with the committee on a 10-year budget which would create jobs, lower the deficit and protect working families and the most vulnerable people in our society.
A bill from the committee should move to the Senate floor later this month.
“I voted against legislation calling for sequestration because we need a balanced approach toward deficit reduction,” said Sanders (I-Vt.), referring to $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that began to take effect last Friday. “At a time when middle-class families in Vermont and across the country are disappearing, unemployment is sky-high and millions of families are struggling economically, we cannot simply cut, cut and cut.
“Virtually every Republican in Congress wants to cut Social Security, veterans’ programs, Medicare, Medicaid, education, nutrition programs, and virtually every program which benefits working families in America,” he added. “In some instances they have been joined by some Democrats. Tragically, the entire Republican Party wants to slam the door on any further discussion about how to raise revenue by ending tax loopholes and unfair tax breaks, which benefit the wealthiest people in this country and most profitable corporations. The truth is there are ways to deal with the deficit crisis without attacking the elderly, the children, the sick or the poor and that’s what I’m working on.”
Sanders noted that corporate profits today are at an all-time high while corporate income tax revenue as a share of the overall economy is near a record low. Federal revenue today amounts to 15.8 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, less than at any time in nearly 60 years. By comparison, federal revenue was 20.6 percent of GDP the last time the budget was balanced during the last year of President Clinton’s second term in the White House.
Sanders said he will insist that profitable corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. “We have got to eliminate loopholes in the tax code that allow large corporations and the wealthy to avoid more than $100 billion in taxes every year by setting up offshore tax shelters in places like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the Bahamas,” Sanders said. He cited a Government Accountability Office report that 83 of the Fortune 100 companies in the United States in 2008 used offshore tax havens to lower their taxes.
“At a time when we have a $16.6 trillion national debt; at a time when roughly one-quarter of the largest corporations in America are paying no federal income taxes; and at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high, it is past time for corporate America to contribute significantly to deficit reduction,” Sanders said.