A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Friday, September 07, 2012

Bernie Lays Out An Agenda For Obama

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is not at the Democratic Convention this week. That's because he's not a Democrat. He's an Independent (who's not the least bit afraid of the "socialist" label). But he's probably a better progressive than most of the politicians who are attending the convention. And he can always be counted on to vote with the Democrats on progressive bills to help the American people. In fact, I'd venture to say that he's probably voted with Democrats a lot more than the "blue dogs" who are actually in the party.

While Bernie is not a Democrat, he knows that the election of Ryan/Romney would be economically and democratically disastrous for nearly all Americans (with the exception of the super-rich). And he realizes that this country would be better served by the re-election of President Barack Obama. So in an article in USA Today a couple of days ago, Bernie laid out an agenda for the president to help him to appeal to middle class voters. It's a good agenda, and I agree with every word of it. Here's what Bernie had to say:

Given Mitt Romney's business record as an outsourcer and tax avoider, and his desire to continue the failed economic policies of George W. BushPresident Obama should be 20 points ahead in the polls right now, not struggling to stay even. At a time when the wealthiest people are doing phenomenally well, Romney's plan to provide more tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires is dead wrong.

At a time when we have lost more than 56,000 factories and 5.3 million decent-paying manufacturing jobs since 2000, Romney is wrong in pushing for more unfettered free trade, which will make it easier for large corporations to throw American workers out on the street and ship American jobs to China and other low-wage countries.
At a time when millions of Americans continue to struggle through the horrendous recession caused by the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, Romney is wrong to believe we need more deregulation of too-big-to fail financial institutions.
In order to win support from the American middle class, it is absolutely imperative that the president provide a strong agenda that speaks to their needs, and that makes clear he will fight to win those proposals against the right-wing extremists who now control the Republican Party. Here is some of what the president should advocate:
1) The president must make it clear to the American people that he will not cut Social Security. Social Security has not added one penny to the deficit because it is funded by the payroll tax. Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 21 years.
2) Obama must tell the American people that he is not going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. The deficit was largely caused by Bush's two unpaid-for wars, tax breaks for the rich and the Wall Street-caused recession. The president must reduce the deficit by asking the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes, by ending enormous corporate tax loopholes and by taking a hard look at wasteful military spending.
3) Given that real unemployment is 15%, the president must propose a major jobs program to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports and railroads) and, in the process, create millions of good paying jobs.
4) The president must accelerate his efforts to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and such sustainable energy sources as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. This would not only address the planetary crisis of global warming but also create jobs.
5) The president must call for real Wall Street reform that ends the largest unregulated gambling casino in the history of the world, and that demands Wall Street invest in the productive economy.
6) The president must support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the disastrousU.S. Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and billionaires to buy politicians.

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