|If you're out at the Star Wars premiere this weekend, you might see members of Bernie's Light Brigade with lighted signs. Tell them you support Bernie, too, and share your thoughts with others in line who may not have heard about him yet. Feel the Bern and may the Force be with you--always!
This week our blogger tells us his favorite things about the senator from Vermont. Read on and see if you don't agree with him. What other things do you like about Bernie? Share them in the comments below. Better yet, write us a blog article and submit it. We'd love to hear from you.
Top Ten Reasons Why I Support Bernie
by Terry Pensel
Bernie Sanders has supported equality and has been active in the civil rights movement from the sixties. He wants everybody to have an equal opportunity at an education, a decent standard of living, and a secure dignified retirement. He believes no one in a country as great as ours should work 40 hours or more a week and still live in poverty. He is against discrimination by race, gender, sexual orientation, origin, age, and creed. If you don’t believe that all people deserve an equal opportunity, then to me you don’t believe in democracy.
Unlike his opponents, Bernie wants to rebuild this country's infrastructure. We need to repair our bridges, highways, railroads, dams, levees, and schools. This is a function of government to develop municipal projects that improve the well-being of everyone. Even the former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, stated, “We badly need infrastructure improvements, but we have no money for it.” The problem is that Republicans won’t raise taxes on the corporations that pay nothing in federal income tax, or on the top 1% who pay a lower percentage of tax than ordinary people like teachers, truck drivers or electricians.
8) Free Post-High School Public Education
This is a way of life for people in Europe. Many countries pay for college students to go to school. The return on higher education investment is about six times for every dollar spent. Other countries have done this and continue to do it, and they are reaping the benefits with more high tech jobs, less social problems, better economic conditions and less poverty. The US, on the other hand, has the highest post-high school educational costs, the highest student debt rate, as well as lower paying jobs and less benefits.
7) Tax Code Fairness
Whether you use the Warren Buffett example, or a corporate welfare example, anyone who studies our tax code with any scruples at all can see it’s designed and written to benefit the very, very wealthy. At least 57% of the new wealth is going to the top 1%, which means people who are making $231,000 per year are making even more and paying a lower percentage of their income in federal taxes. If we increase just their tax rates, eliminate corporate welfare, offshore tax havens, and other tax loopholes, we would have enough money for all the infrastructure improvements, free health care, and free public higher education we collectively need as a society.
6) History of Progressive Politics
Bernie has a history of progressive politics. You can look at his voting record and what all he has fought for and his principles. You'll find he is very consistent and taken principled stands on the big issues and has been a leader in progressive politics for years. He stood up against the Iraq War. He promotes the single payer plan for universal free health care. He stands up for free public higher education, and daycare and paid family leave for new and parents of young children. All these benefits are a regular part of socialized democratic countries in Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
This is a big point that everyone needs to consider when selecting any candidate. What do they talk about, and what won't they talk about. Many of the presidential candidates will not talk about tax code changes, exporting/outsourcing jobs overseas, offshore tax havens, for-profit prisons, monopolized industries, big pharma price gouging, out-of-control CEO salaries, huge billion dollar trade imbalances, or police brutality.
Bernie knows what people are concerned about, and he fights for their interests. If a candidate starts talking about Planned Parenthood, illegal immigrants, welfare people living high on the hog, takers, totalitarianism, losing your liberty and freedoms, Muslim Sharia law takeover and religious freedoms, they are really trying to make you surrender to fear and scapegoating the poor, so they can continue the economic/social relationships they have helped to create.
Many of the candidates running don’t want any real or fundamental change in society. They are comfortable being the lackeys of the top 1% who want to take away what little social benefits we have fought for such as minimum wage laws, overtime, benefits, OSHA laws, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, environmental laws, food stamps, and unemployment benefits. Who do these candidates represent, the American public or their rich campaign donors? They want to extend the exploitation and servitude of workers to the status quo.
I have reviewed Bernie’s numbers on various social and economic issues such as wealth inequality, poverty, unemployment, factories that have moved or shut down since 2001, prisons, pharmaceutical prices, health care costs. The media has not really questioned his numbers. I have vetted the numbers, and I have had no serious challenges on statistics on social/economic relationships Bernie talks about. We are on a downward spiral as a government, a people, and a society. Bernie has a plan and wants genuinely do right by the working people of this country. He stands for their collective interest. He is not afraid of the truth and promotes it everywhere in everything he does.
3) Medicine/Big Pharma/Health Insurance/Big Money Hospitals
3) Medicine/Big Pharma/Health Insurance/Big Money Hospitals
One of the biggest differences between Bernie and everyone else in the field running for president is his stance on health care. Every major industrialized country has health care as a basic right. Bernie calls the U.S. health care system a national embarrassment. He wants a single payer system like many other countries have.
The biggest problem with our health care system is it is based on a for-profit model. Health Insurance companies provide no medical services, but take one-third of every dollar spent on health care. Before Obamacare, there was no regulation with regards to profit. No other country spends as much per citizen on health care than the U.S. We spend the most on prescription drugs--anywhere between 3 to 20 times more than other countries for the same drugs made by the same drug manufacturers. We have non-profit hospitals that have CEO and administrators receiving mid-six to seven figure salaries. We need health care as a right, not some privilege only for the elite.
This has been forgotten, but it is worth understanding who Bernie really is. He wants everyone to participate in the political process. He wants everyone to vote, debate and work out the problems of our society and come together to find collective solutions. He talks how Republicans are working hard to shut down early voting, absentee voting and late evening voting.
Secondly, he is against the excessive stringent ID requirements that keep working class people from getting a voter ID card. Example: A former Speaker of the House, Jim Wright, could not register to vote with his expired driver license and his TCU faculty ID card. The purpose of these new voter ID laws is to keep minorities, working class and poor people from voting, period. Voter fraud is so low that it does not constitute even half of a percent of the total vote, but denying people access to the vote pays huge benefits to the party that does not have the majority to win an election.
Bernie is for honest democratic elections and automatic voter registration at age 18. Even more importantly, he wants to eliminate Citizens United that allows a billionaire or large corporation to donate unlimited sums of money to a political candidate. Big money has ruined our democracy, and we have to stand up against the richest and powerful people and organizations that subvert our regulations, our standard of living, and our economic rights.
1) Big Issues
Finally, Bernie wants to talk about the big issues: universal health care, free public higher education, paid family leave, excessive student loan debt, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, poverty, exporting jobs overseas, tax code fairness, inner city youth unemployment, infrastructure repair and improvements, trade deficits, and police brutality.
Just listen to what other presidential candidates don't talk about, and ask yourself why are they not talking about the big issues. The big issue for other presidential candidates is to maintain the status quo. One in eleven corporations pay zero federal income tax. Corporations get tax breaks to export jobs overseas. Sixty thousand factories since 2001 have moved overseas or shutdown. Multi-national companies move their headquarters overseas to elude U.S. tax laws. Corporations overseas don’t have to follow environmental laws, OSHA laws or labor laws such as a minimum wage, overtime or pay benefits.
The world climate is changing for the worse, and we have wrestle control of this country away from the ultra-rich or we will all suffer. Bernie is fighting for our interests. We need to help ourselves and fight on the big issues with Bernie.
Bio: Terry Pensel says: "I have been a progressive political activist since the late 1980's. I have been championed universal health care, free higher education, and decent living wages. I have a AAS in Electrical Engineering from Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, Iowa. I have attended University of Illinois at Chicago, and DePaul University in Chicago. I do some web development, and IT support. My hobbies include playing the ukulele, teaching the ukulele, and biking. "
This weekend is twice as special. First, there's the Star Wars premiere and then on December 19th is the next Democratic Debate. Are you throwing a debate watch party/rally? Awesome! Want to attend one? Go to http://map.berniesanders.com/ and type in your zip code to find a party near you. Bring your spouse, significant other and/or a friend along. Introduce them to the best candidate running for the White House--Bernie Sanders!