Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sen. Bernie Sanders: We're Moving Into An Oligarchy

Senate Republicans blocked a debate and, ultimately, a vote on the Buffet Rule, which would have ensured that the wealthiest pay at least a 30 percent tax rate. The Republicans' obstructionism comes despite the fact that a Gallup poll last week said that 60 percent of Americans supported the proposal–followed by a CNN poll reflecting 72 percent support. The GOP, however, is protecting the financial interests of the one percent, including its upcoming presidential candidate. Mitt Romney paid a 13.9 percent tax rate on $21.7 million income in 2010; he has released no other tax returns.

Interviewed by Ed Schultz following the Republican move, Sen. Bernie Sanders commented on widening income inequality and historically low tax rates for the wealthy, trends that corrupt our politics and threaten democracy itself. Watch:

SANDERS: If we don't turn this around, we are going to lose the democratic foundations that have made this country the nation that it is, and we are going to move very rapidly, which is where we're going right now, into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of people on the top control not only the economics of the nation; they control the politics as well.

SCHULTZ: When you're looking at 72 percent of the American people want something and the Congress doesn't deliver, what does that tell you?

SANDERS: That tells you that our Republican friends are in the pocket of big money interests... With Citizens United Supreme Court decision, these billionaires are pumping huge amounts of money into the political process so that they can become even wealthier.


Jon Rector, editor of the Oracle said...

Hi Jeff,

I would suggest that a fairly large percentage of the American populace has no idea what constitutes an oligarchy or what it would do to our Republic.

Another large percentage could care less due to their overwhelming hatred of Obama.

The conservatives wail that our country is in trouble. I agree, but it is not because of President Obama.

Jeff Tone said...

I agree, Jon. This lack of awareness is connected to those who vote against their interests.

As always, thanks for your comments.

Michael The Molar Maven said...

I agree that those who have benefited most in the economy are not paying their fare share, but I would caution against equating long term capital gains with short term gains and earned income. Long term gains are naturally eroded by inflation. A flat 15% tax, however, is also not fair. It seem to me that in the age of instant information, we can do an accurate index to adjust the rate on gains on investments that are held more than one year, and to tax accordingly - based, in part, on how long the assets are held.

On the other hand, although I'm not sure how I would implement it, I do agree that everybody should pay something, even if it's as small as $50.00 - or even $5.00. It shows a degree of responsibility and an understanding that there is a price to a civilized society.