The Week in Review

With the backdrop of Saturday’s fifth anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ crash and the Wall Street-caused recession that followed, surveys showed that Americans continue to overwhelmingly dislike and distrust Wall Street and worry about our economy. That sentiment and frustration with Washington’s failure to deal with jobs and low wages fueled overwhelming public opposition to President Obamas’ push for military strikes against Syria. Obama on Tuesday put aside plans for military intervention to pursue a proposal for international monitors to take over Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. 

Back from the Brink “With a loud and clear voice the overwhelming majority of the American people, across the political spectrum, are saying no to another war in the Middle East,” Sanders wrote in a column for The Huffington Post on Friday. Building on that momentum, the senator said Americans now must demand action on important domestic issues. "Now is the time to use that same energy and passion to save the middle class," he wrote. As the president had waged an intense campaign to sell Americans on the need to go to war, Sanders urged him to bring the same focus to the need to create jobs. “I raised this issue to the president the other day,” Sanders told Yahoo News. “It’s one thing to give a speech which most people know really is not going to translate into terribly strong action,” Sanders said. “Intensity is the key issue. Is he prepared to fight?” Read the Huffington Post columnRead the Yahoo article

Wall Street -- Five Years Later As a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior by Wall Street, America five years ago was plunged into the worst recession since the Great Depression. It was on Sept. 14, 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the financial crisis began. Over Bernie’s opposition, Congress voted to bail out the largest financial institutions in the United States. In addition, the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in virtually zero interest loans to financial institutions and corporations in the United States and around the world, according to a GAO audit performed as a result of a Sanders provision in the Dodd-Frank Act. Amazingly, five out of the six largest Wall Street banks are even bigger today than five years ago. They now have $9.6 trillion in assets, or nearly 58 percent of GDP. Bernie wants tobreak up the big banks and end Wall Street speculation.

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Jobs The share of the population in the workforce hit a 35-year low last month, the lowest since 1978. Real unemployment in August was nearly 14 percent. Youth unemployment stood at 22.7 percent. Black youth unemployment was 38.2 percent. Seventy-five percent of the jobs created so far this year have been part-time jobs. A Bernie provision in a Senate-passed bill would invest $1.5 billion in jobs for American young people.

Income Gap The gap between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America is the widest it's been since before the Great Depression, according to report released on Tuesday. The wealthiest Americans earned more than 19 percent of the country's household income last year. That’s the greatest share for any year since 1928. Economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez crunched IRS data to determine that 95 percent of all the gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent. Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman summed it up this way: “Basically, while the great majority of Americans are still living in a depressed economy, the rich have recovered just about all their losses and are powering ahead.”

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Dental Crisis Spending for dental care is rapidly climbing, according to a new report prepared by the Government Accountability Office. Americans spent about $108 billion on dentists in 2011, according to a report for a Senate panel that Sanders chairs. The subcommittee on Thursday heard that millions of Americans do not have access to dentists because of those skyrocketing costs and inadequate insurance coverage. Another obstacle is government policies that don’t pay to prevent or take care of minor problems that left untreated get worse and cost more for taxpayer-funded emergency care. “We can and must address the dental crisis in America now,” Sanders said at the outset of the hearing by the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, which he chairs.

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