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Bernie Sanders: The rich-poor gap in America is obscene. So let's fix it - here's how

Mon 29 Mar 2021


If income inequality had not skyrocketed over the past four decades and had simply stayed static, the average worker in America would be earning $42,000 more in income each year. Instead, as corporate chief executives now make over 300 times more than their average employees, the average American worker now earns $32 a week less than he or she did 48 years ago – after adjusting for inflation. In other words, despite huge increases in technology and productivity, ordinary workers are actually losing ground.

Addressing income and wealth and inequality will not be easy, because we will be taking on some of the most powerful and well-financed entities in the country, including Wall Street, the health insurance industry, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry and the military-industrial-complex. But it must be done. Here is some of what Congress and the president can do in the very near future.

We must raise the minimum wage from the current starvation wage of $7.25 an hour to a living wage of at least $15 an hour. A job should lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it. We need to make it easier, not harder, for workers to join unions. The massive increase in wealth and income inequality can be directly linked to the decline in union membership in America. And yes. We need to make the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America start paying their fair share of taxes.

Growing income and wealth inequality is not just an economic issue. It touches the very foundation of American democracy. If the very rich become much richer while millions of working people see their standard of living continue to decline, faith in government and our democratic institutions will wither and support for authoritarianism will increase. We cannot let that happen.


"I am once again asking you for a bigger excavator." - BernieAtSuez

"The way that we work, it's meant to mentally break you down."

Mar 28, 2021

I spoke for a few minutes on Friday with Amazon workers in Alabama. They told me about the heat, the absurd breaks, and the fact that if you are one minute late you lose a whole hour of pay. That is why they are standing with courage and taking on the richest man in the world.

Sanders and Colleagues Introduce Legislation to End Rigged Tax Code as Inequality Increases



WASHINGTON, March 25 – In a continued effort to combat rising economic inequality, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday introduced two pieces of legislation to end our rigged tax code and ensure the wealthiest people and largest corporations pay their fair share – the For the 99.5% Act and the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) are joining Sen. Sanders as original cosponsors of the For the 99.5% Act in the Senate, which has garnered the support of over 50 national organizations. In the House, the companion estate tax legislation will be introduced by Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), while Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) will introduce the bill on offshore corporate tax dodging.

The For the 99.5% Act is a progressive estate tax on the fortunes of the top 0.5 percent of Americans, while the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act will eliminate tax breaks and loopholes that encourage corporations to shift jobs and profits offshore. This comes a week after the reintroduction of the Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act, and ahead of today’s 11:00 a.m. Senate Budget Committee hearing on “Ending a Rigged Tax Code: The Need to Make the Wealthiest People and Largest Corporations Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes.”

“Unbelievably, the United States today has more income and wealth inequality than almost any major country on Earth,” said Sen. Sanders. “This inequality has only deepened with the economic crisis brought on by COVID and by a tax system that allows for billionaires to pay less in taxes than working people across the country. From a moral, economic, and political perspective our nation will not thrive when so few have so much and so many have so little. We need a tax system which demands the billionaire class to pay its fair share of taxes and which reduces the obscene level of wealth inequality in America.”

The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act would raise over $2.3 trillion in revenue by preventing corporations from shifting their profits offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes. It would also restore the top corporate tax rate to 35% – where it was before Trump became president.

Today, corporations are paying as little as nothing on profits they claimed to make overseas. The situation has become so absurd that one five-story office building in the Cayman Islands is the “home” to about 20,000 corporations.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, just the offshore loophole closing portions of this bill would raise over $1 trillion through 2031.

Sen. Bernie Sanders' Next Progressive Frontier: Reshaping A 'Rigged' Tax System

March 25, 2021
5:00 AM ET


Sanders will introduce a pair of bills on Thursday to restore the corporate tax rate to 35% and add a new progressive tax on the estates of the wealthiest Americans.

Sanders is introducing the bills, both of which face long odds in the closely divided Senate, as part of a broader push to walk back tax cuts that were enacted under President Trump and to go further in redistributing the tax burden to corporations and the wealthy.

The first bill would restore the corporate tax rate to 35%, undoing a cornerstone of former President Trump's 2017 tax overhaul. Republicans cut the corporate rate to 21% in that bill, a move that Joint Committee on Taxation valued at $1.3 trillion over 10 years. The bill would also end rules that allow companies to further reduce their tax bill by shifting operations offshore.

A second bill would add a new way to tax the wealthiest estates in the country. Sanders says the bill is aimed at the fortunes of the top 0.5%. It would exempt the first $3.5 million of an individual's estate from the estate tax, $7 million for married couples. Those with estates between $3.5 million and $10 million would be taxed at 45%, the rate would jump to 50% between $10 million and $50 million, 55% for estates over $50 million and 65% for estates valued at over $1 billion.

"What we need to do, in the midst of massive income and wealth inequality, when the rich are becoming much richer, while the middle class struggles, we need a tax system, which says to the wealthy and large corporations that they're finally going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes," he said. "At the end of the day, we need massive tax reform in this country, so that we end the tax loopholes and the giveaways that the wealthy and large corporations."


NEWS: Sanders, Khanna, Doggett, Welch, Bush Introduce Sweeping Legislation to Lower Drug Prices


WASHINGTON, March 23 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Reps. Ro Khanna, (D-Calif.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), along with more than two dozen colleagues, on Tuesday introduced sweeping legislation to drastically reduce the cost of prescription drugs in the United States.

The package of bills includes: The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act to peg the price of prescription drugs in the United States to the median price in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan; The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D; and The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act to allow patients, pharmacists and wholesalers to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries.

The measures are overwhelmingly supported by the American people. Seventy-two percent of Americans favor allowing the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, 92% of the American people support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and 79% percent of Americans say the price of prescription drugs is too high.

The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, if enacted, would lower most brand name drug prices in the United States by 50%, according to economist Dean Baker. Additionally, the U.S. government could save close to $360 billion over 10 years if Medicare negotiated the same prices for drugs as people in Canada pay, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Last month, a report released by the Congressional Budget Office, commissioned by Sanders, found that on average Medicare Part D pays nearly three times more for brand-name drugs than Medicaid.

In 2020, five of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. made $44.9 billion in profits. That same year, in the midst of a horrific pandemic and economic crisis, drug makers raised their prices of more than 860 prescription drugs by 5%, on average. Meanwhile, one in four Americans cannot afford their medicine.

In Canada and other major countries, the same medications, manufactured by the same companies in the same factories, are available for a fraction of the price compared to the United States. In 2019, Americans spent $1,128 per person on prescription drugs while Canadians spent $879 and people in the U.K. spent $526.

➡️Cosponsors in the Senate of The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act include Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

➡️Cosponsors in the Senate of The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act include Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

➡️Cosponsors in the Senate of The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act include Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore).

LIVE: Why Do Americans Pay The Highest Prices In The World For Prescription Drugs?

LIVE: I’m holding a Senate hearing on why Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. The time is NOW for Congress to stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry.

Sanders: When workers stand together in collective bargaining, there's power.

Mar 22, 2021

Every benefit, from the minimum wage to the 5-day work week, was earned when people organized. It’s never easy. But workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama are standing together right now and if they win, it will send a shockwave throughout this country.

Bernie Sanders making plans to push prescription drug reforms through reconciliation

By Ryan Nobles, CNN
March 22, 2021


Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is set to unveil a trio of bills designed to lower the cost of prescription drugs and give American consumers access to the competitive global drug market.

On Tuesday, Sanders will introduce the three bills ahead of a hearing in a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions subcommittee that Sanders also chairs. One bill is designed to index the price of popular drugs according the global market. A second will give Medicare the opportunity to pay for drugs through a competitive bidding process, and the third would allow Americans to buy drugs at cheaper prices from foreign sellers. The policy proposals are very similar to ones Sanders has previously championed as a senator and as a Democratic Presidential candidate.

"In my view, the pharmaceutical industry is out of control," Sanders said in an interview with CNN. "They can charge any price they want at any time and that has to change."

From his perch as Budget Committee chairman, Sanders wields a powerful weapon. He is able to push through legislation through the reconciliation process, which allows bills, which directly impact the federal budget, to pass the Senate with a simple majority, as opposed to standard pieces of legislation that must overcome a 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster to move forward.


Sanders and Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Combat Corporate Greed and End Outrageous CEO Pay


March 17, 2021

WASHINGTON, March 17 – Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) along with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Wednesday introduced the Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act to take on corporate greed by raising taxes on companies that pay their top executives at least 50 times more than the pay of a median worker.

Americans across the political spectrum are outraged by the extreme gaps between CEO and worker pay. According to a nationwide survey, the typical American would limit CEO pay to no more than 6 times that of the average worker. About 62% of all Americans – 52% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats – favor capping CEO pay relative to worker pay.

“The American people understand that today we are moving toward an oligarchic form of society where the very rich are doing phenomenally well, and working families are struggling in a way that we have not seen since the Great Depression,” said Sen. Sanders. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the American people are demanding that large, profitable corporations pay their fair share of taxes and treat their employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. That is what this legislation will begin to do.”

“It is unjust and unacceptable that for decades, billions of dollars have gone to those at the top while workers’ wages, especially for workers of color, have remained stagnant,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “As millions of families struggle to keep food on the table during a global pandemic and economic crisis, it is more important than ever that we close the CEO-worker pay gap and ensure that companies pay their workers the wages they deserve. I’m proud to partner with Sen. Sanders to reintroduce the Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act to make ultra-wealthy CEOs pay their fair share.”

The Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act is endorsed by 32 academic leaders and policy analysts, as well as the AFL-CIO, Americans for Financial Reform, American Sustainable Business Council, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Campaign for America’s Future, Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), Coalition on Human Needs, Communications Workers of America (CWA), Consumer Action, Economic Policy Institute (EPI), Franciscan Action Network, Greenpeace USA, Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), MO Jobs with Justice, National Council of Churches, National Federation of Federal Employees, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Our Revolution, Patriotic Millionaires, People Demanding Action, People’s Action, Public Citizen, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Social Security Works, Strong Economy for All Coalition, The Other 98%, Take on Wall Street, United for a Fair Economy (UFE), United for Respect (UFR), and the Working Families Party.

The bill was cosponsored by Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Steven Lynch (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

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