Friday, April 25, 2014

Bernie Sanders: Koch Brothers' Extremism Is Now Republican Mainstream

Interviewed by MSNBC's Joyce Behar, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke about the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers' aim to build an oligarchy–and how their ideas now represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Watch:

SANDERS: I fear very much, and I think people may think I am overstating this, I fear very much that this country is losing its democratic foundations and moving towards an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires will control not only the economy, but the political life of this nation.

What you are looking at right now is an extreme right family who believe all the things that you just indicated. They don’t believe that we should simply not raise the minimum wage. These guys believe that we should do away with the minimum wage, and if you have to work for three bucks an hour or two bucks an hour, that’s freedom. That’s your freedom, and these guys believe that we should privatize Social Security, massive cuts in Medicaid, no support for women’s right, etc.

They believe the federal government is terrible, and they want to move toward a society where the big money interests control the economy and the political life. I highlighted the 1980 Libertarian platform for a simple reason. In 1980, that party got one percent of the vote and most people thought that these guys were pretty crazy, pretty extreme, pretty out there. If you looked at the issues they talked about then, their point of view, many of those same ideas are now mainstream Republican Party.

You talk about minimum wage. You have most Republicans now in Congress not only opposed to raising it, they believe we should abolish the concept of the minimum wage. That’s what the Koch brothers talked about 34 years ago. Social Security, Medicare, look at the Ryan budget. What you are seeing is as a result of the Koch brothers and others, a Republican Party moving from what used to be a right-center party, a moderate conservative party, to a right wing extremist party. That is probably the most important development in recent politics. The degree to which the Republican Party has moved to the right and has no stomach for moderates anymore.

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