Given the fact that poverty is growing, more and more Americans are losing health insurance, health care costs are going up, the middle class is shrinking, the gap between the rich and the poor is growing wider.That speaks to the weakness of the opposition. People do not like George W. Bush. But I think it's fair to say that they are not flocking to the Democratic Party, or see the Democrats as a real alternative.
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I have not heard almost anybody suggest that raising the minimum wage to the level we have in Vermont has been an impediment to our economy which is doing reasonably well ... If somebody is going to work that person has got to receive at least a wage that they can go out and live with dignity on. That's an extremely important point.
Establishing a 0.03 percent Wall Street speculation fee, similar to what we had from 1914-1966, would dampen the dangerous level of speculation and gambling on Wall Street, encourage the financial sector to invest in the productive economy and reduce the deficit by more than $350 billion over 10 years.
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Income and wealth inequality have reached obscene levels, the threat of climate change is more frightening than ever, and the billionaire class is now allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the candidate they want. And it is up to us to stand up and fight back. If we stand together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
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The American people must make a fundamental decision. Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all?
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This is what income inequality means in America, and why the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider. According to a recent study, CEO pay is now 295 times more than the pay of a typical worker. In 1965, the differential was 20 times. We must create an economy that works for all, not just the top 1%.
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We need a growing middle class, not one that has been disappearing for 40 years. We need a vibrant one person-one vote democracy, not one which is dominated by billionaire campaign contributors. It's time for a political revolution. It's time to make our government work for all of us, and not just the 1%.
Look, if you have somebody who doesn't have health insurance, who doesn't have a doctor or dentist, and in order to deal with their cold or flu or dental problem, they go to an emergency room - in general, that visit will cost ten times more than walking into a community health center.
What you don't see on television is people dying today because they can't get to a doctor and they can't afford prescription drugs. That's why they are also dying. They are dying in Iraq because they are poor and they have gone into the military because they can't afford to go to college. They're dying because they're living in communities where asthma rates are extremely high because the air is filthy. The suffering of the poor and working class people is a virtual nonissue for the media. But that is the reality.
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It's very easy to make fun of George W.Bush, but that ain't going to do it. What we have to do is knock on doors and go into communities where there are people who disagree with us on certain issues.And we have to talk to them. They're our friends. They're our allies. They're our co-workers. We can't see them as enemies.
Essentially what my campaign is about, it's about anything, this is saying we've got bring that money back into the middle class and working families. We have to create jobs, we have to raise, we have to make public colleges and universities tuition free so kids in that community who are studying hard understand that some day they will be able to go to college.
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They talk about class warfare -- the fact of the matter is there has been class warfare for the last thirty years. It's a handful of billionaires taking on the entire middle-class and working-class of this country. And the result is you now have in America the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on Earth and the worst inequality in America since 1928. How could anybody defend the top 400 richest people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America, 150 million people?
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No. It is not acceptable that the 6 largest financial institutions in this country have assets of almost 10 trillion dollars, and issue half of the mortgages and two-thirds of the credit cards. That is too much wealth and power in the hands of a few. If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today he'd tell us to 'break them up.' And he'd be right. These huge banks must be broken up.
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I supported Barack Obama originally. I supported him for reelection and the alternative of a Mitt Romney is very, very clear to everybody. And I think the president has done a good job in a number of areas. But one area that has concerned me from day one has been his reliance on Wall Street type people in terms of financial matters.
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I have a lot of respect for President Obama. I consider him a friend. I disagree with him on issues like the extension of tax breaks that Bush initiated. But I think history will judge a President Obama a lot better than many other contemporaries, given the fact that he came into office at a time when this country was in terrible, terrible shape.
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No president, not the smartest, best human being in the world can do it alone. You cannot take on this, the power that is in Washington, to billionaires and lobbyist, the military industrial complex, all of this money and power, you can't do it. You need a mass movement of American who are looking in congress and we say directly.
Every candidate running for president has got to answer the following very simple question: At a time when we need to address the planetary crisis of climate change, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainability, should we continue to give $135 billion in tax breaks and subsidies over the next decade to fossil fuel companies?
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During the debate over NAFTA President Clinton said, 'I believe that NAFTA will create a million jobs in the first five years of its impact.' WRONG. According to the Economic Policy Institute, NAFTA has led to the loss of more than 680,000 U.S. jobs. I voted against NAFTA and other bad trade agreements and am fighting to stop the TPP.
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During the 1999 debate over Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China President Bill Clinton said, 'In opening the economy of China, the agreement will create unprecedented opportunities for American farmers, workers and companies to compete successfully in China's market. WRONG: Our trade deficit with China has increased from $83 billion in 2001 to a record breaking $342 billion in 2014.
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If children of 5 are not taught to obey orders, sit still for 7 hours a day, respect their teacher, and raise their hands when they have to go to the bathroom, how will they learn (after 17 more years of education) to become the respectful clerks, technicians and soldiers who keep our society free, our economy strong, and such inspiring men as Richard Nixon and Deane Davis in political office.
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The rich and large corporations get richer, the CEOs earn huge compensation packages, and when things get bad, don't worry; Uncle Sam and the American taxpayers are here to bail you out. But when you are in trouble, well, we just can't afford to help you, if you are in the working class or middle class of this country.
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In any democratic, civilized - even non-democratic nations, if you are a nation, it means to say that in our case, if there's a hurricane in Louisiana, the people of Vermont are there for them. If there's a tornado in the Midwest, we are there for them. If there's flooding in the East Coast, the people in California are there for us.
The rich people are apparently leaving America. They're giving up their citizenship. These great lovers of America who made their money in this country-when you ask them to pay their fair share of taxes they run abroad. We have 19-year old kids who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan defending this country. They went abroad. Not to escape taxes. They're working class kids who died in wars and now billionaires want to run abroad to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. What patriotism! What love of country!
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At a time when the average student is graduating from a four-year college $27,000 in debt, when hundreds of thousands of capable young people no longer see college as an option because of high costs and when the U.S. is falling further and further behind our economic competitors in terms of the percentage of young people graduating from college, no agreement should be passed which, over a period of years, makes a bad situation worse and will make college even less affordable than it is today.
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I believe strongly that we can protect our people without undermining our constitutional rights and I worry very, very much about the huge attacks on privacy that we have seen in recent years -- both from the government and the private sector. I worry that we are moving toward an Orwellian society, and this is something I will oppose as vigorously as I can.
I want some help on this. I'm being very honest, i want some ideas, as somebody who was arrested 50 years ago fighting for Civil Rights trying to desegregate schools in Chicago, who spent his whole life fighting against racism, I want your ideas. What do you think we can do? What can we do?
During the last two years the wealthiest 14 Americans saw their wealth increase by $157 billion. This is truly unbelievable. This $157 billion INCREASE in wealth among 14 individuals is more wealth that is owned, collectively, by 130 million Americans. This country does not survive morally, economically or politically when so few have so much, and so many have so little.
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You all remember how many years ago, we were younger, it was uppity women who are trying to take our jobs as men. It was those gay people who wanted to make everybody homosexual in our school system. It was Blacks wanted to take white jobs. You all remember how many years ago, we were younger, it was uppity women who are trying to take our jobs as men. It was those gay people who wanted to make everybody homosexual in our school system. It was Blacks wanted to take white jobs.
In 2013 Citigroup had profits of $6.4 billion in the United States. They paid no federal income tax and, in fact, received a rebate from the IRS of $260 million. That same year J.P. Morgan had $17.2 billion in profits in the U.S. They also paid no federal income tax. Do you think it's time for tax reform?
Black people are dying in this country because we have a criminal justice system which is out of control, a system in which over 50% of young African-American kids are unemployed, it is estimated that a black baby born today has a one in four chance of ending up in the criminal justice system.
We can combat climate change effectively. What we are lacking now is not the brain power, not the knowledge, not the technology. What we are lacking is the political will power, and we need your help by the millions to tell Congress to stop worrying about their fossil fuel contributors to their campaigns and worry about their kids and grandchildren.
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What Wall Street and credit card companies are doing is really not much different from what gangsters and loan sharks do who make predatory loans. While the bankers wear three-piece suits and don't break the knee caps of those who can't pay back, they still are destroying people's lives.
Subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries are projected to cost taxpayers more than $135 billion in the coming decade. At a time when scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon pollution to prevent catastrophic climate change, it is absurd to provide massive subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies' already enormous profits.
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The TPP is another corporate-backed agreement that is the latest in a series of trade policies which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs, pushed down wages for American workers and led to the decline of our middle class. We want American companies to create decent-paying jobs in America, not just low-wage countries like Vietnam, Malaysia or China. The TPP must be defeated.
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Charles Kernaghan is a legitimate American hero... Through his determination he has forced the leadership in our country and many other countries around the world to pay attention. Kernaghan has done more to expose child labor than has the whole Department of Labor that has a budget of hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, because he has the guts and determination to do it.
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Do the elected officials in Washington stand with ordinary Americans - working families, children, the elderly, the poor - or will the extraordinary power of billionaire campaign contributors and Big Money prevail? The American people, by the millions, must send Congress the answer to that question.
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I think what you've got are millions of people who are in trouble today. They really are. They're confused. They're working longer hours for lower wages. They're seeing productivity going up but their kids are worse off economically than they are. They're looking at a campaign finance system in politics and they see corruption, big money buying elections. Nobody in Congress is listening to them.
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