Now Is The Time … Maybe The Last Chance

There was a time when I would have eschewed the very notion of socialism.  A time I didn’t understand the evil that humans are capable of.  A time I thought that ‘right’ would win out over ‘might’.  Over the years, the decades, the rose-coloured glasses have broken to pieces, and the naiveté eroded from my psyche.  Today, I see the human species clearly as it is, and as such, a true democratic socialist state holds much appeal for me.  Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont has, in my view, all the right ideas for what this … or any nation … should be.  Can we get there?  Bernie thinks so.  What follows is the column he wrote for publication in The Guardian on Wednesday … his words make a heck of a lot of sense, at least to me.


The biggest win for the working class in generations is within reach
By Bernie Sanders

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Now is the time.

At a time when the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, when two people now own more wealth than the bottom 40% and when some of the wealthiest people and biggest businesses in the world pay nothing in federal income taxes, the billionaire class and large profitable corporations must finally start paying their fair share of taxes.

Now is the time.

At a time when real wages for workers have not gone up in almost 50 years, when over half our people live paycheck to paycheck, when over 90 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, when working families cannot afford childcare or higher education for their kids, when many Americans no longer believe their government represents their interests, the U.S. Congress must finally have the courage to represent the needs of working families and not just the 1% and their lobbyists.

Now is the time.

At a time of unprecedented heatwaves, drought, flooding, extreme weather disturbances and the acidification of the oceans, now is the time for the US government to make certain that the planet we leave our children and future generations is healthy and habitable. We must stand up to the greed of the fossil fuel industry, transform our energy system and lead the world in combating climate change.

As chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee I fought hard for a $6 trillion budget which would address these and other long-neglected needs. Not everyone in the Democratic caucus agreed with me and, after a lot of discussion and compromise within the budget committee, an agreement was reached on a smaller number. (Needless to say, no Republicans will support legislation which taxes the rich and protects working families.)

While this budget is less than I had wanted, let us be clear. This proposal, if passed, will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s. It will also put the U.S. in a global leadership position as we combat climate change. Further, and importantly, this legislation will create millions of good-paying jobs as we address the long-neglected needs of working families and the planet.

Why is this proposal so significant?

We will end the days of billionaires not paying a nickel in federal income taxes by making sure the wealthy and large corporations do not use their accountants and lawyers to avoid paying the massive amounts that they owe. This proposal will also raise the individual tax rate on the wealthiest Americans and the corporate tax rate for the most profitable companies in our country. Under this proposal, no family making under $400,000 a year will pay a nickel more in taxes and will, in fact, receive one of the largest tax cuts in American history.

We will aggressively reduce our childhood poverty rate by expanding the child tax credit so that families continue to receive monthly direct payments of up to $300 per child.

We will address the crisis in childcare by fighting to make sure that no working family pays more than 7% of their income on this basic need. Making childcare more accessible and affordable will also strengthen our economy by allowing millions more Americans (mostly women) to join the workforce.

We will provide universal pre-kindergarten to every three- and four-year-old.

We will end the international disgrace of the United States being the only major country on Earth not to guarantee paid family and medical leave as a right.

We will begin to address the crisis in higher education by making community colleges in America tuition-free.

We will address the disgrace of widespread homelessness in the United States and the reality that nearly 18 million households are paying over 50% of their incomes for housing by an unprecedented investment in affordable housing.

We will ensure that people in an aging society can receive the home health care they need and that the workers who provide that care aren’t forced to live on starvation wages.

We will save taxpayers hundreds of billions by having Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and use those savings to cover the dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses that many seniors desperately need.

We will rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, wastewater treatment plants, broadband and other aspects of our physical infrastructure.

We will take on the existential threat of climate change by transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

This effort will include a nationwide clean energy standard that moves our transportation system, electrical generation, buildings and housing and agriculture sector toward clean energy.

Through a Civilian Climate Corps we will give hundreds of thousands of young people good-paying jobs and educational benefits as they help us combat climate change.

We will fight to bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

In the midst of the many long-ignored crises that this legislation is attempting to address, we will not have one Republican senator voting for it. Tragically, many Republican leaders in Congress and around the country are just too busy continuing to lie about the 2020 presidential election, undermining democracy by suppressing voting rights, denying the reality of climate change and casting doubts about the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

That means that the 50 Democrats in the US Senate, plus the vice-president, will have to pass this most consequential piece of legislation alone. And that’s what we will do. The future of working families is at stake. The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake.

Now is the time.

Listen to Bernie, my friends … he has the right ideas to take this nation in a positive direction.

39 thoughts on “Now Is The Time … Maybe The Last Chance

  1. Pingback: Now Is The Time … Maybe The Last Chance - FDR DEMOCRATS

  2. While I may agree with Bernie’s assessment, talk is cheap. And thus far, the Dems have done little to shake up the status quo. They talk a good talk, but back off far too often when the “going gets tough.”

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  3. if you want to ensure that the wealthy pay their “fair share” I hate that phrase because who decides what is ‘fair” besides the two squabbling children on the playground, but if you want to make it fair, lobby to get rid of the IRS tax code that has all the loopholes that allow these kinds of things to happen in the first place and go to a national sales tax. The rich who purchase way more than the poor will pay more in taxes and that’s what you want yes?

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    • Well, if I am going to be taxed at a rate of 12% of my gross income, then shouldn’t the wealthy be taxed AT LEAST that much? Now, after I pay my 12%, I can almost afford rent, utilities, medical expenses, and food. But after the wealthy pay their 1%, they still have millions or billions to throw around! It’s easy, Scott … we have a progressive income tax and the wealthy should be paying at least 25% of their income. Period. They aren’t. I’m angry. You should be angry, too. It isn’t about who purchases more … it’s about helping people. Hugs.

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      • okay, so if it’s all about helping people, let them keep more of their hard earned money, all of them, including yourself. I’m guessing that if you’re on social security, you have to pay taxes on that every year, am I right? If that’s the case, you’re paying taxes on money that the government is giving you from taxes that you already paid and that’s just totally wrong and immoral wouldn’t you say?

        Administration after administration has demonstrated over and over again that they are not good stewards of the money they take form us every April, if they were, we wouldn’t have a debt of over 26 trillion dollars. Why should any of us trust that, this time, under this administration, the money will be better spent, that more people will be helped, when it hasn’t happened in the past.

        do you see the problems I have with this whole “fair share” argument? It’s not that I want the rich to continue to be greedy, oh, and on that note, how do you know that they don’t help people in their communities? Not every good deed is going to be plastered all over news outlets and social media but just because you don’t’ hear about it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening.

        You and I won’t agree on this any more than we’ll agree on the second amendment and that’s okay. I just want you to consider that the reason the rich aren’t paying “their fair share” is because of loopholes set up in the very system that you say should make them pay more. Think about it, and be honest, if you were rich, you’d take advantage of loopholes to hang onto more of the money you worked so hard to get, it’s just human nature, and a lot of the rich people in this country have worked very hard to have what they do. Not all of them have inherited their money like “the former guy” as an example and not all of them do dumb things with their money like Bezo going into space. That was just stupid, he could have had a much better impact on society had he used that money in other ways and even though I feel that way, who am I to say what he should do with his money?

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  4. A great article here, Jill. As a fellow Canadian, I agree with Rawgod’s assessment of America’s two-party system. That worked fairly well when both parties operated on the same set of facts and were willing to cooperate to achieve bi-partisan legislation. Now, the GOP cares not for the truth and is totally corrupt. Perhaps the Independents can put together a new party – or the Progressives can break away from the Dems and form a social-democratic party. Having said all that, I don’t expect any substantial changes to occur. I hope for the best but I expect the worst.

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    • Thanks, John!!! I was thinking about you the other day, realizing it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you here or heard a peep from you. I hope all is well with you and Anne?

      You are right … the two political parties are no longer playing by the same set of rules and the system is breaking down before our very eyes. The biggest reason, as I see it, is the ignorance of about half the people in this nation … people who don’t bother or care about facts, but rather tune in to the clowns on Fox ‘News’ and allow themselves to be brainwashed. Oh, I do think substantial changes will occur … only not ones that will bring peace and prosperity … ones that will bring violence, unrest, and at the end of the day … who knows? Either some semblance of order will return, else we will become a dictatorship. Flip a coin, for I cannot predict which it will be. Sigh.

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  5. Bernie has a lot of good ideas, Jill, but for now it is all Pie in the Sky thinking. The people are afraid to believe him–socialism is still a four letter word–and most of his party associates still disagree with him. They think they can get by with talking the walk but not walking the talk!
    I have no idea how many party members agree with him, but even they are scared to challenge the status quo. They are scared if they talk socialism, it does not matter they are Democratic Socialists, they will not get re-elected, which means the Republicans will win because of your ridiculous two party system of government. If you will excuse the reference, America is a black and white nation in so many way, not just the obvious racial divide. You are either for me, or against me. The people have no real choice. America desperately needs a third party! I have said this time and time again. I know, who am I to think I know what America needs? Just look around right now. One party controls the government. The Republicans almost destroyed your nation when they were in power for the last four years. Your people realized that, which is why they voted them out. But here the Republicans are, out of power, but still controlling the Democratic Party’s ability to pass meaningful legislation. If the party in power cannot govern, and the other party doesn’t care about anyone but themselves, who are the citizens of the nation supposed to vote for.
    I do not vote for personal because I cannot find a decent politician to vote for. I refuse to give my vote to anyone who is not worthy of it. Americans have even less hope than I do to find someone they actually want to vote for. Their choice is a bully or a wimp. Neither choice is a good one. Give them someone who at least is willing to truly fight for them.
    Yes, educate them to understand socialism is a real choice, but how are you going to do that when one party refuses to teach them the truth while the other party is afraid to do what is necessary. How do you get the truth in when nobody wants to tell it?

    My truth is, this is why I am sick of American politics! What you need is not what you are willing to sacrifice yourselves for. America is 80% sheep. 19% of the remainder are wolves who love it that way! That leaves 1%, and that 1% is divided into all different groups of thought with no strength to act. I truly see no hope.
    But yet I care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am mostly a socialist at heart, would much rather see my tax dollars spent to help people than to build killing machines or support the already-wealthy. Pie in the sky, you say? Maybe … but one must start somewhere. Thinking, developing priority lists and policies to support those priorities is the first step, which is what Bernie has done. Implementation is something else altogether. Ours is far from a perfect system … and getting further with every passing day, it seems. But, if we don’t start somewhere, we can guarantee that as of January 20th, 2025, this nation will burn its Constitution and inaugurate the first U.S. dictator. So, yeah, I support Bernie’s ideas and if he had won the Democratic nomination, I would have voted for him … with gusto! As it is, I support Biden 100%, though some things in which he seems … too moderate … might be giving me heartburn and keeping me awake nights. Still, he is a damn sight better than the alternative would have been! You and I have always disagreed on voting and whether it should be a responsibility, even if you aren’t crazy about either candidate, so I won’t engage in that discussion. You already know my thoughts on that. LuL

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        • Actually, he is the 19th poorest member of Congress with a net worth of just over $1 million. Furthermore … last year Bernie released 10 years’ worth of his tax returns …
          “The returns show Sanders and his wife, Jane, earned more than $1 million in total income in 2016 and 2017. They earned $519,529 of taxable income in 2018, paying $145,840 in federal taxes for an effective rate of 28 percent. The Vermont independent, one of 18 declared candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, reported income from his job in the Senate and more than $391,000 in income from book royalties in 2018.

          His books earned him $856,000 in royalties in 2017.

          In 2017, when the Sanders earned nearly $1.2 million, the couple’s highest-income year in the past decade, they paid an effective rate of nearly 32 percent.

          “I consider paying more in taxes as my income rose to be both an obligation and an investment in our country,” Sanders said in a statement issued with the returns.

          The Sanders’s income has increased sharply in recent years as he earned more from book royalties and gained fame as a iconoclastic presidential candidate. From 2009 to 2015 the couple’s average income was about $281,000.”

          So yeah, he’s paying his fair share and he is NOT a multimillionaire.

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          • And I apologize for thinking he was in a much higher bracket, but the information we get in Canada is often piecemeal and skewed. That he does pay his fair share of taxes (How much do you pay annually, Scott?) is something that should be made widely known, even though it is a private matter. It would give his possible voters something to look up to him for.
            While everyone with wealth does their best to avoid paying any taxes at all, he does pay his fair share.
            Mea culpa.

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  6. Jill, one of the dilemmas with Bernie’s passion and fight for this cause, it is not received with an intellectual discourse as it should be. Intellectual discussion over issues is not a strength in our electorate, nor will it get any better with social media. We Americans are much more concerned with entertainment news than trying to understand real substance. As for this issue, Republicans will use this against Democrats, successfully labeling Socialism as a four letter word, as they have done before.

    I do like Bernie, but even his fans, other Democrats and especially Republicans do not realize America’s economy is a combination of fettered capitalism with socialism underpinnings. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, Workers Compensation, food stamps, etc. are elements of Socialism. The fettered part relates to insider trading laws, interlocking board laws, collusion laws, monopolies laws, bankruptcy laws, etc.

    What I would ask Bernie to do is encourage the education of Americans and ask what is the right balance between capitalism and socialism. Right now, it has shifted to the “haves” as we have channeled our past Robber Baron period. What frustrates me about politics, is Republicans are much better at finding wedge issues to wield as a weapon. The truth is irrelevant in the issue.

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    • There is so much I want to rebutt here, Keith, but I do not have the time or desire to discourse with you. But your very penultimate statement, “Republicans are much better at finding wedge issues to wield as a weapon” must be expanded upon. Yes, the Republicans find all kinds of weapons that allow they to create wedges, but the truth is, the Democrats ALLOW them to do this. The Democratic Party is made up of a bunch of wimps who knowingly or unknowingly refuse to fight against Republican strategies, but even worse, they refuse to fight to pass legislation that they know is desperately needed. As a non-American it makes me wonder how much the Democratic National Party really cares about the little people your country is built upon. They say they care, but in truth they have not acted in a way prove they do in a very long time! To me, they are a bunch of colluders. They are happy being capitalists and not paying their fair share of taxes, exactly like the Republican National Party, they’re just too damn weak to admit it!

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    • Your final paragraph says so much, my friend. There needs to be a balance, and until we educate the populace, they will continue to seek entertainment rather than facts, will continue to allow themselves to be brainwashed by those who have much to gain. The truth must ALWAYS be relevant, but too few seem to care. Too few are interested in facts, but prefer to watch a guy with a bad hairpiece (Tucker Carlson) tell them lies that … frankly, are getting them killed. I think Bernie’s ideas are very closely aligned with my own, and frankly I’d like to see those with great wealthy tossed into the sea and their fortunes divvied up among those who need housing, food, clothing, education, medical care, and much more. But you are right … until we find a way to educate people, we are not going to progress as a nation, but are more likely to return to the robber baron period.

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      • Jill, many thanks. I think too many Americans care more about entertainment news (basically gossip) and sports news. Frankly, I used to be a sports junkie growing up and as a young adult, but lost interest in the news side of it as it became more about money and fantasy stats. They are not even watching Tucker Carlson’s opinion show, which is a good thing, as per Fox News management in court testimonial, his show is not about news.

        I just don’t think politicians or leaders have the desire, intellect or temperament to discuss the issues needed in the manner they deserve. We used to have some very talented folks looking at issues – Senator Bill Bradley, Congressman Jack Kemp, eg, – today these guys could likely not get elected. Keith

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        • You’re so right, and I think that is the result of an education system that seems to have stopped teaching people to think for themselves, to reason, to find facts and date and study them before taking a stand. The level of sheer ignorance in this country astounds me. And you’re right … there used to be some very conscionable and intelligent folks in the GOP … now we have whiny children, conspiracy theorists, sex traffickers and more.

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