Bernie Sanders in Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders

On Jobs: Current $7.25/hr and $2.13/hr is starvation wage

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is starvation wage. The minimum wage must become a living wage--which means raising it to $15 an hour by 2020 and tying it to the cost-of-living increases in the future. And we must also close the loophole that allows employers to pay workers who get tips--waiters, bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers, parking attendants--a shamefully low $2.13 an hour.

These changes would benefit more than seventy-five million workers and their families.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 2 Aug 29, 2017

On Jobs: Minimum wage increase helps economy because workers spend it

When low wage workers have money in their pockets, they spend that money in grocery stores, restaurants, and businesses throughout this country. All this new business gives companies a reason to expand and hire more workers. This is a win-win-win for our economy. Poverty is reduced. New jobs are created. And we reduce the skyrocketing income inequality that currently exists in this country. Every time a minimum wage increase is proposed locally or nationally, conservative politicians and their billionaire campaign contributors claim that jobs will be destroyed. Time and time again they have been proven dead wrong. Increasing the minimum wage is good for business as well as workers because it reduces employee turnover. When workers earn a living wage, they are more likely to stay with their company.
Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 3-7 Aug 29, 2017

On Welfare & Poverty: Welfare to low-wage workers subsidizes profitable companies

Why do the taxpayers of this country pay billions of dollars a year for programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as the food stamp program), Medicaid, and subsidized housing? The answer is clear. Millions of American workers need these programs because they cannot survive on the starvation wages their employers pay. Public assistance given to low wage workers is essentially subsidizing the profits of the companies paying the low wages. Those corporations and all businesses should be paying their employees wages that they can live on with dignity, without the need for public assistance.
Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 8 Aug 29, 2017

On Jobs: Women still earn only 80% of men; minorities earn 63%

Today women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce. Yet the average woman working full-time in this country still earns just 80 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the same job.

The gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. African American women earn 54 cents, and Native American women only 58 cents or every dollar a white man earns.

Since the 1990s, more women have received undergraduate and graduate degrees than men. In spite of these gains, the gender pay gap has remained roughly the same for the past fifteen years.

Equal pay is not just a woman's issue; it is also a family issue. When women do not receive equal pay for equal work, families across America have less money to spend on child care, groceries, and housing.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 13-5 Aug 29, 2017

On Budget & Economy: Undermining unions led to 40-year decline in middle class

If we are serious about reducing income and wealth inequality and rebuilding the middle class, we have to sustainably increase the number of union jobs in this country. We must make it easier, not harder, for workers to join unions.

Today, just 11 percent of all public-sector workers belong to unions, and in the private sector it is now less than 7 percent. Historically, unions have enabled workers to earn good wages and work in decent conditions because of .collective bargaining. Today, millions of workers are in a "take it or leave it" situation, with no power to influence their wages or benefits.

There is no question that one of the most significant reasons for the forty-year decline of the size of the middle class is that the rights of workers to join together and bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions have been severely undermined.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 16-7 Aug 29, 2017

On Families & Children: Workers need paid family leave and paid sick leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act that Congress passed in 1993 is totally inadequate for our twenty-first-century workforce. It covers only employees in companies with fifty or more employees, and it requires only unpaid, rather than paid, leave. The economic benefits of a paid family and medical leave more than outweigh the very modest costs of this program.

Women who have paid family leave are more likely to stay in the workforce and off federal programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and public housing.

Families that have paid leave are much less likely to declare bankruptcy. And children have a greater chance of leading healthy and more productive lives if their parents have paid family leave.

We have to make sure that workers in this country have paid sick time. Forty-three million Americans don't have access to paid sick leave today.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 19-20 Aug 29, 2017

On Tax Reform: Replace carried-interest loophole with progressive taxation

If we taxed the wealthy in a progressive manner, we could begin to address the most urgent needs for factoring our country. But we don't. [According to Citizens for Tax Justice, the richest] 1 percent of Americans, [who] took in an astounding 21.6 percent of all income in the United States last year, paid just 23.6 percent of all federal, state, and local taxes. That is not the kind of tax system we need in America.

It's not just the official tax rates that benefit the rich, it's also the loopholes. There is a carried-interest loophole, a tax-break that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to treat most of their earnings as long-term capital gains instead of payments for services rendered. Although it makes no rational sense, this loophole cuts the tax rate in half for a small group of incredibly wealthy people--costing the U.S. Treasury as much as $180 billion over ten years.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 32-3 Aug 29, 2017

On Corporations: 45% estate tax only for estates over $3.5 million

Strengthening the estate tax is one of the fairest ways to reduce wealth inequality, while at the same time raising significant new revenues that the country needs to rebuild the middle class.

I propose restoring the minimum size of an estate subject to the tax from $5 million to $3.5 million, where it was in 2009. This would only impact the estates of the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. And we should make it graduated to target the biggest estates:

There are all sorts of loopholes that help the wealthiest families avoid paying estate and gift taxes. We must close each and every one of them.
Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 42-3 Aug 29, 2017

On Free Trade: Expand "Buy American" and "Buy Local" as government policy

When we talk about unrestricted free trade, it is important to understand that these policies have been developed in a bipartisan manner, with the support of both Republican and Democratic presidents. Corporate America spoke, the leaders of both parties responded to its needs, and American workers suffered.

We must expand, not limit, "Buy American," "Buy Local," and other government policies that will increase jobs in the United States. This includes service-sector contracts that prevent companies from sending government call center and data processing facilities to the Philippines and other countries.

Moreover, we need to make sure that strong and binding labor, environmental, and human rights standards are written into all trade agreements.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 44-8 Aug 29, 2017

On Corporations: Regulate derivatives like the high-stakes wagers they are

We must also provide greater stability and transparency to the financial system by prohibiting taxpayer insured banks from holding derivatives contracts on their balance sheets. Derivatives are the risky financial products that nearly destroyed the economy in 2008. They are basically insurance policies on future events that may or may not happen.

Today commercial banks still have over $177.46 trillion of derivatives contracts on their books. That is insane. And I'm not alone in thinking that.

We must make sure the derivatives that are held by investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity funds are strongly regulated. Right now, state insurance commissioners and gambling authorities are banned from regulating them. We must lift that ban. They should be treated and regulated like the high-stakes wagers that they are.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 65-6 Aug 29, 2017

On Health Care: Employer-based insurance burdens employers & stifles workers

Our dysfunctional health care system impacts not only patients & medical care professionals, but our entire economy. Given that employer-based insurance is the way most Americans can get their coverage, small- and medium-sized businesses are forced to spend an enormous amount of time and energy determining how they can get the most cost-effective coverage for their employees. It is common for employers to spend weeks every year negotiating with insurance companies. Millions of Americans remain in their jobs today not because they want to be there, not because they enjoy their work, but because their current employer provides decent health care benefits for them and their family.

Think about the extraordinary impact it would have on our economy if all Americans had the freedom to follow their dreams and not worry about whether the family had health insurance. Universal health care would provide a major boon to our economy, unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of millions of people.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 87-90 Aug 29, 2017

On Health Care: Mental illness system is in tatters; treat like any illness

In our country today, there are thousands of people who are suicidal or homicidal walking the streets. More than half a million Americans with serious mental illnesses are falling through the cracks of a system in tatters. The mentally ill who have nowhere to go and find little sympathy from those around them often land in emergency rooms and county jails, or on city streets.

States looking to save money have pared away community mental health services designed to help people function, as well as the hospitable care available to help them heal after a crisis.

The result is that all too often people with mental illness get no care at all. Nearly 40% of adults with a severe mental illness--such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder--had received no treatment in the previous year.

The time is long overdue to understand that a mental health problem should be treated like any other health-related issue. People must be able to get the mental health treatment they need when they need it.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 96-7 Aug 29, 2017

On Education: Education is the great equalizer on path to middle class

Education has always been--perhaps more than any other institution in our society--the great equalizer. Education, especially in a rapidly evolving economy, is how people qualify for better jobs and how they do well at them. It is the key to solving many of the serious problems of economic, racial, and gender inequality plaguing our society.

Today, perhaps the most important pathway to the middle class runs through higher education. While not all middle-class jobs in today's economy require a college degree, an increasing number do. People need a higher education to make it to the middle class and successfully compete in a global economy.

It is my view that all students in this country, regardless of income, have the right to higher education if they have the ability and desire to obtain one.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.108-9 Aug 29, 2017

On Energy & Oil: Rising oceans creating world's first "climate refugees"

Rising oceans are already creating the world's first "climate refugees." Residents of the Maldives are abandoning some of the lower-lying islands as the ocean rises. Closer to home, residents of Isle de Jean Charles in southeastern Louisiana, are preparing to leave as their land disappears.

Unless we drastically change course in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures will continue to rise. Millions of people will be displaced by rising sea levels, extreme weather events, & flooding.

The growing scarcity of basic human needs could well lead to perpetual warfare in regions around the world, as people fight over limited supplies of water, farmland, and other natural resources. A world in which we see mass migrations of people is not going to be a safe or stable world. That's not just my opinion--that is the opinion of leading national security experts in our country and throughout the world. Yes, climate change is our nation's great national security threat.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.127-30 Aug 29, 2017

On Drugs: Racist & failed war on drugs targets people of color

The intersection of racism and criminal justice is not limited to police violence. An even bigger issue is the failed war on drugs, which has over the decades harmed millions through the arrest and jailing of people for nonviolent crimes. Since 1980, this "war" has disproportionately targeted people of color. Blacks and whites use drugs at roughly the same overall rates. However, blacks are arrested for drug use at far greater rates than whites, largely because of overpolicing, racial profiling, and the fact that black motorists are three times more likely than whites to be searched during a traffic stop.

Take marijuana use. Blacks smoke marijuana at a slightly higher rate than whites. However, blacks are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

In 2014 there were 620,000 total marijuana possession arrests. And that's a major reason why African Americans account for 37% of those arrested for drug offenses when they only comprise 14% of regular drug users.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.159-61 Aug 29, 2017

On Crime: Police forces should reflect diversity of their communities

We must reexamine honestly, how we police America, and the federal government can play an important role in establishing a model police-training program that reorients the way we do law enforcement.

Every effort should be made to have police forces reflect the diversity of the communities they work in. And that must include in positions of leadership and training departments.

We must demilitarize our police forces so they don't look and act like invading armies. We should federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers to make it easier to hold everyone accountable. We must stop cash-starved communities from using their police forces as revenue generators.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.169-70 Aug 29, 2017

On Immigration: Give undocumented workers legal protections

Exploitation of undocumented workers is certainly not limited to the agricultural sector. The Chicago doll manufacturer Ty Inc. used layers of shadowy labor brokers to find low-wage workers, many of them undocumented, for its factories. Since the workers weren't direct employees of the company, Ty had plausible deniability about their immigration status.

Walmart has employed undocumented workers to clean its stores. Tyson Foods has used them to process chickens, amid many violations of laws on workplace conditions and allegations of human smuggling.

We must extend labor protections to undocumented workers. If we start giving undocumented workers legal protections, we can slow down the "race to the bottom." But that would affect big business's bottom line, and therein lies the rub.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.183-4 Aug 29, 2017

The above quotations are from Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders
Click here for main summary page.
Click here for a profile of Bernie Sanders.
Click here for Bernie Sanders on all issues.
Bernie Sanders on other issues:
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Please consider a donation to!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Apr 10, 2019