From the office of Sen. Bernie Sanders -- Virtually Everything That They Wanted:
As a Thanksgiving deadline nears for action by the powerful congressional committee on deficit reduction, Bernie sounded an alarm over reports that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid may be cut. "What we have to remember is that the last three times the Democrats negotiated with the Republicans, in almost every instance, they gave the Republicans virtually everything that they wanted."
Rough transcript below.
SANDERS: What we have to remember is that the last three times that the Democrats negotiated with the Republicans, in almost every instance, they gave the Republicans virtually everything that they wanted. In December, remember a year ago December, the Democrats controlled the House, the Senate, the White House, and not only did they extend Bush's tax breaks for the wealthy, but they also provided new tax breaks in terms of the estate tax for the very, very richest people in this country.
Republicans got everything they wanted. In April, with the Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House, the Republicans as everyone remembers threatened to shut down the government and the Democrats went along with $78 billion in cuts from the President's budget request; hurt a whole lot of people and it was just not good.
In August, in an outrageous display of unprincipled gamesmanship, the Republicans for the first time in the history of this country were prepared to not have America pay our bills, default, and the Democrats caved in there as well, providing $2.5 trillion deficit reduction package.
And where we are right now is the committee is looking at up to $1.5 trillion, maybe even more. Now, what we are hearing, which makes me very nervous is Democrats have placed on the table, and this is what I hear, I won't swear to it, but what we hear is they have put on the table are cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They have, we heard, are really coming up with something very, very vague in terms of revenue, including extending Bush's tax breaks for the rich, but trying to deal with some loopholes in between.
But when you talk about revenue, what you've got to remember is you can get revenue from the middle class and the working class and not just from the wealthy. So I think clearly what we have been seeing in the last few months, through Occupy Wall Street, in the very strong election results a week ago from Tuesday, where right-wing extremism all over this country was defeated – huge victory in Ohio. The American people have been very clear. They are very clear about what they want and poll after poll says it.
Don't cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. Demand that the wealthiest people in this country, who's effective, i.e. real tax rate is the lowest it has been in decades, start paying their fair share of taxes. End outrageous corporate loopholes so that you don't have many, many large, profitable corporations paying nothing in taxes, occasionally getting rebates from the I.R.S.
So you have all of that sitting out there. You have a military budget that has tripled from 1997 and I think there really is a consensus among Democrats, Independents and many Republicans as well that we cannot move to the deficit reduction on the backs of the middle class, working class people who already have been devastated and are struggling to keep their heads above water.