An Alternative Vision
Bernie Sanders Scoop, Summer 2004
Clearly, if we are going to make the changes
desperately needed in this country we must build a strong, grassroots
movement which is organized around a progressive agenda committed
to peace, economic justice, environmental sanity and equal rights
for all. Let me briefly describe some of the concepts that I am
fighting for in Congress.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND ELECTION REFORM.
The wealthy and large corporations cannot be allowed to continue
to buy political parties and candidates. We must move to full
public funding of elections. Same-day registration will encourage
low-income people to vote, and stop the United States from having
the lowest voter turnout of any industrialized nation on earth.
PROTECT AND EXPAND THE SAFETY NET. We
must beat back the efforts to destroy Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid and public education and the attacks on children and
the poor. This country is wealthy enough so that every man, woman
and child should be able to live in dignity and security.
REVISE OUR NATIONAL PRIORITIES. We should
eliminate funding for wasteful and duplicative weapons systems
and the $125 billion we currently spend on corporate welfare.
We should increase funding for job-creating improvements in our
physical and human infrastructure, as well as the needs of our
elderly and children.
REFORM THE TAX SYSTEM TO MAKE IT FAIR.
Over the last 20 years, the federal tax system has lowered taxes
for the wealthy and large corporations, and raised taxes for the
middle class and working families. In a nation which currently
has the most unfair distribution of wealth and income in the industrialized
world, we must fight for a tax system which is progressive and
RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE. In 1996, against
tremendous opposition, Congress raised the minimum wage from $4.25
an hour to $5.15. We must do better. The purchasing power of the
minimum wage today is much lower than it was 20 years ago. Every
American worker who works 40 hours a week must earn enough to
live above the poverty line. That's why I have introduced legislation
which would raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
A FAIR TRADE POLICY. We are losing millions
of good-paying manufacturing and information technology jobs as
corporations "outsource" to China, Mexico, and India
where workers are paid substantially lower wages. We need a new
trade policy which protects the middle class of this country,
and not the CEOs of large companies. Legislation that I have offered
would radically alter our role in the global economy - protecting
the workers of this country and the developing world.
PROTECT CIVIL RIGHTS FOR ALL. Against
enormous and well-funded opposition, we must redouble our efforts
to protect a woman's right to choose, support affirmative action
and an end to discrimination against minorities and gay people.
NATIONAL HEALTH CARE. The health care
crisis is getting worse, not better. More and more American lack
health insurance; Medicare and Medicaid are under savage assault
and millions of people are being forced into "managed care."
Despite all this, the United States continues to have the most
costly and wasteful health care system in the world. We must continue
our fight for a single-payer national health care system which
guarantees health care for all Americans. We must also take on
the pharmaceutical industry which is ripping off American consumers
and charging us the highest drug prices in the world.
Bernie Sanders page