[Re the Brookings Institution its stated mission is to "provide innovative and practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: strengthen American democracy; foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and secure a more open, safe, prosperous, and cooperative international system" Wikipedia ]
Self-described 'Democratic Socialist' U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gave a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. on Monday to talk about his proposed recovery program and to address the economic challenges facing the U.S., both at present and in the future, particularly as the wealth gap grows and financial institutions escape accountability.
"[W]e are moving rapidly away from our democratic heritage* into an oligarchic form of society," Sanders said. "Today, the most serious problem we face is the grotesque and growing level of wealth and income inequality. This a profound moral issue, this is an economic issue and this is a political issue."
"We need to take a hard look at our trade policies which have resulted in the outsourcing** of millions of good paying jobs," he continued. "Since 2001 we have lost more than 60,000 factories in this country, and more than 4.9 million decent-paying manufacturing jobs. We must end our disastrous trade policies (NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, etc.) which enable corporate America to shut down plants in this country and move to China and other low-wage countries."
His recovery program, An Economic Agenda for America, would invest in infrastructure; turn away from fossil fuels; raise the federal minimum wage; and close the gender wage gap, among other tenets.
"We need to end the race to the bottom and develop trade policies *** which demand that American corporations create jobs here, and not abroad," Sanders said.
Sanders also spoke about the country's failure to provide for its most vulnerable people."Today, the most serious problem we face is the grotesque and growing level of wealth and income inequality."
In addition to high unemployment rates—which become higher when age and race are taken into account—the U.S. has "by far, the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth," Sanders said.
"In today's highly competitive global economy, millions of Americans**** are unable to afford the higher education they need in order to get good-paying jobs. Some of our young people have given up the dream of going to college, while others are leaving school deeply in debt."
Reform***** must also come to the financial sector, Sanders said.
"We must finally address the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior of Wall Street... Their speculation and illegal behavior plunged this country into the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. In my view, Wall Street is too large and powerful to be reformed.***** The huge financial institutions must be broken up."*****
Finally, Sanders said, the U.S. must "join the rest of the industrialized world****** and recognize that health care is a right of all, and not a privilege."
"Despite the fact that more than 40 million Americans have no health insurance, we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation. We need to establish a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system," Sanders said.
Yet those issues highlight only some parts of the "unprecedented struggle that we're engaged in now against the Billionaire Class."
"The real struggle is whether we can prevent this country from moving to an oligarchic form of society in which virtually all economic and political power rests with a handful of billionaires," Sanders concluded. "And that’s a struggle we must win."
* - democratic heritage - just how democratic was the construct of the constitution?
** - outsourcing - a prime tool of capitalism
*** - develop trade policies - Congress is overwhelmingly on side with corporations (and most folk know why) and compliantly do many undemocratic things.
**** - millions of Americans - this is extraordinarily insular. The capitalist system controls global commerce, one country can't be disconnected so easily. Shouldn't Sanders, (as a democratic socialist) consider the wider picture, citizens and workers world wide?
***** - reform/reformed - now there's a contradiction wound into that paragraph:
'Reform must also come to the financial sector.'
'Wall Street is too big and powerful to be reformed.'
'The huge financial institutions must be broken up.'
So 'too big and powerful to be reformed' but 'breaking them up' isn't reform? He's lost me somewhere there.
****** - just which part of the 'industrialised world' does he mean here? The former industrialised world or the industrialised world that the majority now outsource to? Whichever, I think he needs to be more specific in his pronouncements. World wide health care has a long way to go.
Is Sanders merely relying on ignorance from his fellow Americans to believe all this nonsense he is spouting? Surely by now he knows how capitalism works and who it works for - globally. Potentially anything can be reformed but as for capitalism history and experience has shown that reform has been and can only be piece-meal with limited and limiting effects for different sections of the population.
We stand for a global system which abolishes capitalism, thereby removing the entire structure which enables the few to take advantage of the many. We call it revolution - a socialist revolution.