By Sen. Bernie Sanders: The American people are angry. They are angry that they are getting forced to live through the worst recession in our lifetimes — with sky-high unemployment, with millions of folks losing their properties and their life savings. They are angry that they will not have a decent retirement, that they cannot afford to send their children to college, that they cannot afford health insurance and that, in some cases, they can not even buy the food they require to adequately feed their families.
They are angry simply because they know that this recession was not caused by the middle class and operating households of this country. It was not caused by the teachers, firefighters and police officers and their unions who are beneath attack all over the country. It was not caused by construction workers, factory workers, nurses or childcare workers.
This recession was triggered by the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And, what makes individuals furious is that Wall Street still has not learned its lessons. As an alternative of investing in the job-developing productive economy providing affordable loans to small and medium-size companies, the CEOs of the largest economic institutions in this country have produced the largest gambling casino in the history of the world.
Four years ago, after spending billions of dollars to effectively fight for the deregulation of Wall Street, the CEOs of the massive banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and the others — went on a losing streak. The huge bets they made on worthless, complex, and exotic financial instruments went poor, and they stuck the American men and women with the bill.
Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the planet. But it was not just the $700 billion that Congress authorized through the TARP program. As a outcome of an independent audit that I requested in the Dodd-Frank bill by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided a jaw-dropping $16 trillion in virtually zero-interest loans to every main monetary institution in this country, significant corporations, foreign central banks throughout the globe, and some of the wealthiest people in this country.
And, instead of utilizing this money to provide inexpensive loans to modest organizations, as an alternative of placing this money back into the job-producing productive economy, what have they carried out? They have gone back to their days of operating the largest gambling casino in the planet. In other words, they have learned absolutely nothing.
The American people are angry due to the fact they see the great middle class of this country collapsing, poverty escalating and the gap amongst the quite rich and everybody else develop wider. They are angry because they see this wonderful country, which so a lot of of our veterans fought for and died for, becoming an oligarchy — a nation exactly where our financial and political life are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.
In the United States today, we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income since the 1920s. Today, the wealthiest 400 people own more wealth than the bottom half of America — 150 million folks.
Today, the six heirs to the Walmart fortune own as much wealth as the bottom 30 percent.
Today, the top 1 percent personal 40 percent of all wealth, whilst the bottom 60 percent owns 2 percent.
Extremely, the bottom 40 percent of all Americans own just .3 percent of the wealth of the country.
According to a new study from the Federal Reserve, median net worth for middle class families dropped by practically 40 percent from 2007 to 2010. That is the equivalent of wiping out 18 years of savings for the typical middle class family members.
The distribution of revenue is even worse. If you can believe it, the last study on this topic showed that in 2010, 93 percent of all new revenue developed from the preceding year went to the top one percent, even though the bottom 99 percent of folks had the privilege of enjoying the remaining 7 percent. In other words, the wealthy are acquiring a lot richer although virtually absolutely everyone else is falling behind.
Not only is this inequality of wealth and income morally grotesque, it is poor financial policy. If operating households are deeply in debt, and have little or no earnings to invest on goods and services, how can we expand the economy and generate the millions of jobs we desperately want? There is a limit as to how many yachts, mansions, limos and fancy jewelry the super-rich can acquire. We want to place earnings into the hands of working families.
The struggle we are engaged in right now is of pivotal importance for this country. Whether we win or lose will determine the future of America. That struggle is not just for our lives but, more importantly, it is for our children and our grandchildren.
Despair is not an option. I know people get angry, I know they get frustrated, I know they get disgusted. But we don’t have the right to give up and turn our backs on our children and grandchildren.
Our job is to simply bring to fruition what the overwhelming majority of the American people want. They want an economy that works for the middle class and working families and not just for the rich. They want everybody in this country to have health care as a right. They want to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They want to move away from these gross inequalities in income and wealth.
We have the people behind us. They have the money. And at the end of the day, the people will be stronger than the money.
Sources and more information:
The American people are angry. They are angry that they are being forced to live through the worst recession in our lifetimes — with sky-high unemployment, with millions of people losing their homes and their life savings. They are angry that they will not have a decent retirement, that they can’t afford to send their children to college, that…