“Our Middle [Class] Is Collapsing”

In an interview on PBS NewsHour tonight, Senator Bernie Sanders made a passionate plea on behalf of the middle and working classes, many of whom have become impoverished in the wake of the economy’s crash two years ago.

“The top 1 percent today earn more income than do the bottom 50 percent,” he pointed out. “They earn about 22 percent of every dollar earned in America. And that gap is growing wider. Meanwhile, what this budget includes are massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.”

Then I looked up his Web site, and wow, does he ever “get it.” Just this Monday, he published a collection of “recession stories” called Struggling through the Recession:  Letters from Vermont, which you can download from his site. From the twentysomething who can’t earn enough to pay her student loans, to “older workers, who have depleted their life savings, [and] are worried about what happens to them when they retire,” these testimonials cover the full spectrum of the life we live now.

Cover image for Struggling through the Recession booklet

You can download Sen. Bernie Sanders collection of recession stories.

I give you Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont:

“This year, ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in the history of the world, is not paying a nickel in federal income taxes, despite having made $19 billion last year. In 2005, one-quarter of corporation — large corporations in America making a trillion in revenue didn’t pay a nickel in taxes. You have got a military budget which in many ways is still fighting the old Cold War.

“So, I believe that we have to move toward significant deficit reduction, but you don’t do it on the backs of the middle class and working families who are already suffering as a result of this Wall Street-caused recession.

“You want to know the way to raise money? Put a transaction fee on Wall Street, so maybe we can curb some of the speculation and raise some money.”

Well said.

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