Bernie Sanders in The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini

On Jobs: Unions are freedom of association; but gets you fired

Perhaps the most significant reason for the decline in the middle class is the rights of workers to join together and bargain for better wages, better benefits, and better working conditions have been severely undermined over the years. Today, if an employee is engaged in a union organizing campaign, that employee has a 1 in 5 chance of getting fired. Today, half of all employers threaten to close or relocate their business if workers choose to form a union. Today, when workers become interested in forming unions, 92% of private sector employers force employees to attend closed-door meetings to hear antiunion propaganda; 78% require supervisors to deliver antiunion messages to workers they oversee; and 75% hire outside consultants to run antiunion campaigns. In 2005 alone, over 30,000 workers were discriminated against, losing wages or even their jobs, for exercising their constitutional right of freedom of association--a right guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States.
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 53 Jun 25, 2007

On Corporations: Corporations do not have First Amendment rights

In my view, a corporation is not a person. In my view, a corporation does not have first amendment rights to spend as much money as it wants, without disclosure, on a political campaign. In my view, corporations should not be able to go into their treasuries and spend millions and millions of dollars on a campaign in order to buy elections.

I do not believe that is what American democracy is supposed to be about.

In my view, history will record that the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is one of the worst decisions ever made by a Supreme Court in the history of our country. While the campaign finance system we had before Citizens United was, in my view, a disaster, as a result of Citizens United, that bad situation has become much worse

Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 73 Dec 8, 2011

On Social Security: Chairman of the Defend Social Security Caucus

In Vermont no one has heard of the concept of chained CPI. I have asked them, and they do not know what chained CPI is, which is what they are trying to pass here. It is this belief--and senior citizens back home will start laughing when I say this-- that COLAs for Social Security are too high. Seniors back home are scratching their head a chained CPI, which, if it were imposed--and I will do everything I can to see it does not get imposed--would mean seniors between the ages of 65 and 75 would lose about $550 a year. Then, when they are 85 and they are trying to get by on $13,000 or $14,000 a year, it will cost them about 1,000 bucks a year. That is what some of our colleagues want to do--virtually all the Republicans want to do it and some Democrats want to do it as well. I am going to, as chairman of the Defend Social Security Caucus, do everything I can to prevent that.
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 67 Jun 27, 2012

On Environment: Our kids will ask why we made planet less habitable

I believe that decades from now our kids and our grandchildren will scratch their heads and they will say: What world were these people--Members of Congress--living in in 2015 when they voted for this Keystone Pipeline? How did it happen that they did not listen to the overwhelming majority of scientists who told us we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions, not increase them? I think our kids and our grandchildren will be saying to us: Why did you do that to us? Why did you leave this planet less habitable than it could have been?
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 35 Oct 17, 2013

On Immigration: Climate change lays groundwork for mass migration

Scientists are not the only people warning us about the danger of climate change. Hear what the Department of Defense has to say about the impact of climate change on international and national security. What they point out--and I think what every sensible person understands--is that when people are unable to grow the food they need because of drought, when flood destroys their homes, when people throughout the world are forced to struggle for limited natural resources in order to survive, this lays the groundwork for the migration of people and international conflict. That is what the Department of Defense tells us.
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 35 Oct 17, 2013

On Corporations: If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist

No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure would send the world economy into crisis. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist and that is the bottom line. Today, just six huge financial institutions have assets of nearly $10 trillion which is equal to nearly 60% of GDP. These huge banks handle more than 2/3 of all credit card purchases, write over 35% of the mortgages, and control nearly half of all bank deposits. This bill would require regulators to establish a "Too Big To Fail" list of financial institutions and other huge entities whose failure would pose a catastrophic risk on the US economy without a taxpayer bailout. This list must include, but is not limited to: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley. Within a year, the Treasury Secretary would be required to break up financial institutions on this list so that they cannot cause another financial crisis ever again.
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 48-9 May 6, 2015

On Education: Other countries recognize benefits of free college

Other nations around the world understand the benefits of having an educated workforce that isn't burdened with enormous student debt. For example:
  • Last year, tuition was eliminated in Germany because policymakers believed that charging $1,300 per year was discouraging students from attending college.
  • In Denmark, not only is college free of tuition and fees, people who go to college in that country actually get paid to go to college.
  • In Finland, Norway and Sweden, tuition and fees are free not only for their citizens, but in many cases, foreign students as well.
  • And, Chile will implement free college tuition next year, and pay for it by increasing taxes on corporations.
    Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 29 May 29, 2015

    On Families & Children: Real family values means paid family leave & sick time

    When a mother has a baby and is unable to spend time with that child during the first weeks and months of that baby's life, and is forced back to work because of a lack of money, that is not a family value.

    When a wife is diagnosed with cancer and a husband cannot get time off of work to take care of her, that is not a family value.

    When a mother is forced to send her sick child to school because she cannot afford to stay home with her that is not a family value.

    Those are attacks on everything that a family is supposed to stand for. It is time to join the rest of the industrialized world by showing the people of this country that we are not just a nation that talks about family values, but that we are a nation that is prepared to live up to these ideals by making sure that workers in this country have access to paid family leave, paid sick time and paid vacations just like workers in every other wealthy country on earth.

    Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 57-9 Jun 11, 2015

    On Immigration: Disgraceful to shunt our workers into the shadows

    It is no great secret that undocumented workers perform a critical role in our economy. Undocumented workers build many of our homes, cook our meals, maintain our landscapes. We even entrust undocumented workers with that which we hold most dear--our children.

    Despite the central role they play in our economy and in our daily lives, undocumented workers are reviled by many for political gain and shunted into the shadows. It is time for this disgraceful situation to end. It is time to end the politics of division on this country, of politicians playing one group of people against another: white against black, male against female, straight against gay, native born against immigrant.

    That is why I supported the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform legislation. We cannot and we should not even be talking about sweeping up millions of men, women, and children--many of whom have been here for years--and throwing them out of the country. That's wrong and that type of discussion has got to end.

    Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 95-6 Jun 19, 2015

    On Tax Reform: Increase estate tax rates on inheritances over $3.5M

    Sanders introduced legislation to increase estate tax rates on the top 3/10 of 1% of Americans. "The fairest way to reduce wealth inequality is to enact a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaires," Sanders said. Only the very wealthiest millionaires would be effected by the Sanders plan; 99.75% of Americans would not pay a penny more in estate taxes. Sanders' bill does the following:
    Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 41-3 Jun 25, 2015

    On Civil Rights: Remove Confederate flag from State Houses

    In the last 60 years this country has made significant progress on civil rights. But clearly, the events [regarding the Confederate flag] remind us how far we yet have to go in order to create a non-racist society.

    I do not live in South Carolina. But I do believe that the time is long overdue for the people of South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from the state house grounds in Columbia.

    That flag is a relic of our nation's stained racial history. It should come down. Frankly, the Confederate flag does not belong on state house grounds. It belongs in a museum.

    Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p.105-6 Jun 25, 2015

    On Immigration: Since NAFTA, Mexican undocumented immigration up 185%

    Since the implementation of NAFTA, the number of Mexicans living below the poverty line has increased by over 14 million people. Almost 2 million small famers have been displaced. And in the twenty years since NAFTA growth in per capita GDP has been only half of that experienced by other Latin American nations. Not surprisingly we have seen a 185 percent increase in the number of undocumented immigrants from Mexico from 1992 to 2011.

    We as a nation have got to realize the importance of dealing not just with the issue of immigration but with the very real refugee crisis we face.

    Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 98 Jun 29, 2015

    On Civil Rights: Voter ID laws marginalize communities of color

    [On issues relevant to Latino voters], in addition to immigration reform, we must also pursue policies that empower minority communities. This must start with energizing Latinos all across the country to engage in the democratic process and by thwarting efforts to disenfranchise minority voters. Restricting access through draconian voter ID laws and shortening early voting periods are thinly-veiled efforts to marginalize communities of color, low income people and seniors. These policies must be combatted at both the state and federal levels.
    Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 99 Jun 29, 2015

    The above quotations are from The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America
    by Jonathan Tasini.
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    Page last updated: Sep 13, 2016