The Labor Department on Friday issued another disappointing report on unemployment. Sen. Bernie Sanders put the numbers in perspective. He also renewed his call for an aggressive program to repair crumbling roads and bridges. Those and other badly-needed building projects would create millions of badly-needed jobs. Also on Friday, Sanders defended Social Security against attacks by a Wall Street-funded campaign to cut benefits for millions of retirees. And in an interview taped Wednesday for broadcast this weekend, Sanders and Bill Moyers talked about money and politics and oligarchy in America.
Bill Moyers on Wednesday interviews Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photo: Dale Robbins / Moyers & Company
The economy added only 96,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent, from 8.3 percent in July, but that small dip reflected the fact that more unemployed workers were discouraged about the prospects of finding jobs. Real unemployment, which counts those who gave up looking for work and those forced into part-time jobs, was 14.7 percent in August. "We have to remember where we were when Bush left office," Sanders told a caller on The Thom Hartmann Program. "Some job growth is a heck of a lot better than massive job losses."
Social Security and Wall Street
As Social Security critics launched a nationwide misinformation campaign on Friday, Sanders traveled to Manchester, N.H. to take on the self-styled "Comeback America Initiative." The group, funded by Wall Street billionaires, began a series of town meetings on federal budget deficits at St. Anselm's College. "The goal of these ‘town meetings' is to convince the people of New Hampshire and the rest of America that the only effective way to address the deficit crisis is to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. Don't believe it!"
Social Security and Obama
President Obama was very clear four years ago that he would not cut Social Security. On Thursday, however, he was very vague when he told the Democratic National Convention that "we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street." "What I want the president to do is to simply tell us that he still supports the position he held four years ago when he ran against McCain, which is that you can solve the whole Social Security crisis by lifting the cap on taxable income ... That is the solution, and I'd like the president to reiterate that," Sanders told radio host Ed Schultz on Friday. Sanders has introduced legislation to tax income over $250,000. The payroll tax - the dedicated funding source for Social Security - is now capped at $110,100.
Moyers & Company
In an interview being broadcast this weekend, Bill Moyers talked with Sanders about the wealth and income gap in America, the disappearance of the middle class, attacks on Social Security and the influence of big-money interests in American politics. "You're looking at a nation with a grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and income, tremendous economic power on Wall Street and now added to all of that is big money interests -- the billionaires and corporations now buying elections," Sanders said. "I fear very much that if we don't turn this around, we're heading toward an oligarchic form of society."