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Senator Bernie Sanders Leads Fight Against Obama Tax Deal

Bernie Sanders filibusters for the working class Bernie Sanders filibusters for the working class

With liberal Democrats in an uproar over President Barrack Obama’s tax cut deal with Republicans, one man is not taking the compromise lying down. Independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, took the floor in the Senate and began speaking against Obama’s proposal at 10:25am on Friday, and wrapped up over eight hours later, around 7:00pm. It was a heartfelt filibuster, and made headlines everywhere.

Sanders has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Bush-era tax cuts that Obama hopes to extend. Could you expect any less from the first U.S. Senator to ever identify himself as a socialist (a “democratic socialist” to be precise)? Sanders asserts that Obama’s plan will only increase the national debt "by giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don't need it."

For his part, Obama doesn’t seem too happy either. He described tax cuts for the wealthy as the Republicans’ “holy grail” and also characterized Republican proponents of the tax cuts as difficult to negotiate with, calling them “hostage takers.”

Meanwhile, Obama now faces the ire of liberal Democrats, and appears stuck between a rock and hard place. But after the November 2 elections that saw the Democrats take serious hits, Obama’s move towards the center may be little more than an act of self-preservation.

As for the 69-year-old Sanders, who as an independent is without allegiances to any party line, he is far from the center. In fact, his eight-hour epic filibuster is one of the most dedicated leftist political moves in the US Senate in years.

And for supporters of the working class, Sanders is a breath of fresh air. “This nation has a record breaking, $13.8 trillion national debt at the same time as the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing,” said Sanders during his epic speech.

In another speech delivered earlier this month, Sanders attempted to hold his fellow politicians’ feet to the fire for failing to talk about “who is winning in this economy, and who is losing.” He describes the nation’s billionaires as being “on the warpath” and targeting the working class. His reason? “In the year 2007, the top 1% of all income earners in the U.S. made… more than the entire bottom 50%. That’s apparently not enough!”

But it was his lengthy speech Friday that made the most headlines. And that’s good. We need more leaders like Sanders in the spotlight, leaders who genuinely care and spark discussion by raising awareness. Whether you’re on board with his politics or not, you’ve got to like the cut of his jib.

For example, when referring to the president’s proposed continuation of the Bush-era 15% tax rate on capital gains and dividends, Sanders said that the move would mean “that those people who make their living off their investments will continue to pay a substantially lower tax rate than firemen, teachers, nurses, carpenters, and virtually all the other working people of this country. And I just don’t think that’s fair. That’s wrong.”

Senator Bernie Sanders stood up for the little guy on Friday. His filibuster must have been extremely taxing, especially for a man pushing 70, and you can’t help admire both his dedication and his gumption. Not to mention that he’s making a point that seldom gets heard, and in the meantime becoming one of the country’s most recognizable politicians. And he’s doing it with integrity. Perhaps President Barrack Obama and few other public figures could take a cue from the independent representative from Vermont.


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Last modified on Monday, 22 October 2012 18:01

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