In response to a diary, I was asked “What will a President Bernie do that President Obama hasn’t done and by extension, what a President Hillary wouldn’t do?” Fair question and I decided that the topic was worth a diary of its own.
In the past 7 years, President Obama’s budgets have never included the items mentioned in Bernie Sanders’ platform — “Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour”, limiting the ability of bankers to get rich from taxpayer bailouts of their institutions, introducing a tax on Wall Street speculation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, capping credit card interest rates at 15 percent, etc. Bernie Sanders has a long record of supporting unions and opposing free-trade agreements [ie. NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, etc.] that promote a ‘race to the bottom mentality’ – “killing American jobs by shifting work overseas to nations which do not provide worker protections / pay extremely low wages”. Bernie’s platform includes: “providing at least 12 weeks of paid family leave, 2 weeks of paid vacation, and one week of paid sick days to American workers“.
“As president, Sen. Sanders would end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee paid leave to workers. The Republicans talk a lot about “family values.” Well, it is not a family value to force the mother of a new born baby to go back to work a few days after she gives birth, because she doesn’t have the money to stay home and bond with her baby…”
Based on his long career of fighting for “people’s rights” rather than “corporate interest”, I believe that a President Sanders will remain true to his principles and fight for us – workers / labor / the poor — the 99% of Americans.
“As Franklin Delano Roosevelt reminded us, a nation’s greatness is judged not by what it provides to the most well-off, but how it treats the people most in need. And that’s the kind of nation we must become.” — Bernie Sanders
As to how will a Bernie administration pay for such policies? I believe the short answer is “tax the rich” corporations / individuals who have managed to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
“As president, Senator Bernie Sanders will reduce income and wealth inequality by: Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. As president, Sen. Sanders will stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes…”
President Sanders would need a cooperative congress in order to get any of his policies enacted. I agree with the diarist statement in “Please Don’t Tell Me”
“that one person alone cannot effect change… Without the poor coming out to vote and elect people to Congress that can move this nation forward, there is only so much any President can do. Without motivating the poor to vote for Democrats who are hopefully more cooperative with a progressive President, we will have another administration obstructed by Congress at every turn…We need [more and] better Democrats serving in all offices, local, State and in Congress”.
Admittedly a more “people centered” congress is very challenging to get these days with all the gerrymandering. However an excited Democratic base might just be able to pull it off. Senator Elizabeth Warren message at the 2015 Netroots Nation was that anyone running for president should clearly proclaim that: “we don’t run this country for Wall Street and mega corporations. We run it for people”.
From what I can see, Bernie’s campaign / life’s work is the only one sending that message to the billionaire class:
“You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end…’Enough is enough. This great nation and its government belong to all of the people, and not to a handful of billionaires, their Super-PACs and their lobbyists.’”
I believe that a President Hillary will continue President Obama’s ‘moderate’ / anti-union policies. In the article Obama’s RTTT vs. Teacher Unions we can clearly see that “School reform” today is not about improving education. It is about union busting”.
“President Obama disappointed many teachers around the country [in 2010] with the announcement of his Race to the Top (RTTT) program — [where in order to receive federal money] states compete with each other to gut union rules, replace unionized public schools with privately managed charter schools, and extend the Bush-era emphasis on standardized test scores as the primary measure of student achievement and a school’s success. Touted by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as a national education reform project that will finally provide high-quality teachers and schools to every child, Race to the Top has won plaudits from business leaders, Republican politicians, and increasingly anti-union Democrats”.
Similarly, Obama’s push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] agreement, the Bank Bailouts, etc. were all actions favoring corporations against unions / the general public. At the altar of economic growth, President Obama continued the union busting policies started by Reagan. In contrast to both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders was against the TPP, proposed reigning in Wall Street by breaking up big banks with his “Too big to fail, Too big to Exists” Act, etc. Bernie’s character and real progressive values – belief in social / economic justice – set him apart from his opponents.
Due to his deeply held progressive values, I believe that ultimately a President Sanders would be a better negotiator than our current president whose 2015 Budget Plan Would ‘Benefit the Worst Corporate Tax Dodgers’. Granted, Congress holds the purse strings; however, the President has the bully pulpit and could use the media to advance his budgetary agenda to the general public. I like the quote “Aim for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land in the stars”. I feel that President Obama aims for a compromise and ends up with deals that benefit corporations rather than people.
In “Audacity of Hope”, President Obama had this to say about our values [empathy / mutual understanding]: “After all, talk is cheap; like any value, empathy must be acted upon…We can make claims on their behalf so long as we understand that our values … demand deeds and not just words”. Unfortunately, Obama’s actions belie his words:
“It is good to know that President Obama is taking global warming/climate change seriously. On his three-day trip to Alaska, he is, as the headline proclaims, warning of “climate change catastrophe.” … For me, though, his actions speak more loudly than his words. Just weeks ago, the Obama administration awarded the final permits for Shell Oil’s arctic drilling. Either he doesn’t see the clear and present danger in that action, or he is talking out of both sides of his mouth…”
We need a “political revolution” to transform our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally. Based on his integrity over the years, I believe a President Sanders will steadfastly use his words and actions to fight for a better future.
Sen. Bernie Sanders walking his grandson to work during the fall of 2013 — one of the reasons he works so hard to create a better world for future generations. Photo taken from: Bernie Sanders… man of the people.