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>>> the republicans want you to believe that america is broke. they want you to believe things have so bad there’s no other option but their draconian cuts.
>> we’re broke. broke going on bankrupt.
>> we have to reform medicare. it costs too much and it’s going to bankrupt us.
>> because obama care will bankrupt the country.
>> just because we followed grea greece into democracy does not mean we need to follow them into bankruptcy.
>> false, false, false, false, false, false. it’s all fall. we’re not broke, nor are we going bankrupt. i’m not the only one who thinks this. michael moore and bloomberg news both agree that america is nowhere near broke. here’s more in wisconsin over the weekend.
>> america is not broke. not by a long shot. the country is awash in wealth and cash! it’s just that it’s not in your hands! it has been transferred in the greatest heist in history from the workers and consumers into the banks and portfolios of the uber rich.
>> now, that’s totally true. and republicans say we face financial ruin because we’re in debt. but bloomberg says the u.s. is not going broke or going bankrupt. the it says almost every government is in debt, which makes sense. which makes sense. that’s normal operating procedure. you’re only in trouble when no one will loan you money anymore. the real problem is that our tax rates are badly skewed. if we ask the very wealthy ? to share the pain of these economic time, we could balance the budget as we did in the clinton years. everybody knows this. the whole financial market knows it, otherwise they wouldn’t lend us the money at those incredibly low rates. this isn’t about whether we can pay our bills but how the wealthiest americans air void paying their share.
>> they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them.
>> the gop says the only way to balance the budget is to do it off the backs of the middle class, but having done so, they present the democrats with a great opportunity. to stick up for the middle class. democrats can come riding to the rescue here, but that means they have to fight for your priorities and not for the wealthy political donors. here’s what warren buffet said about that, quote, there’s class war fair, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class that’s making war and we’re winning. michael moore and warren buffet agree. every sensible person in the country agrees. fighting for the middle class is the right thing to do and it’s also an obvious winning political strategy. it’s easy, it’s gift wrapped for the democrats. now question is, will they do it. it’s a good question. joining me now is independent senator bernie sanders of vermont and former pennsylvania governor and nbc news political analyst ed rendell. how will the democrats stick up for the working class and fight back for them?
>> the clear issue is a clear issue. the republicans want to throw hundreds of thousands of kids off head start. they want to substantially cut back on pel grants which will impact millions of college students. they want to cut back on heating assistance programs, they want to cut back on pregnancy prevention. pra, et cetera, et cetera. this is a real vicious attack. what the republican budget in washington is against working families and low income-paying people. meanwhile, the top 1% are doing phenomenally well. their effective tax rate at 16% is at lower than anytime in recorde@? history. they have gotten hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks. instead of attacking middle class and working families, you eve got to ask the wealthy to start paying their fair share of taxes. if we simply do a 5% surtax on all income over $1 million, you can do away, cover all of the cuts that the republicans have put into their budget. you don’t have to cut back on children, the sick, the elderly or the poor. ask the people earning more than $1 million to pay a 5% surtax on income above $1 million. go after the oil companies thov loophole after loophole. you do those thing, you don’t need any of the cuts the republicans are talking about.
>> governor rendell, will the national democratic party have the courage to do that? will they say let’s put a surtax on people making over $1 million. and let’s not fight for it and say oh, look at that, the republicans won again.
>> i think so. i think wisconsin has been a catalyst. i think the national democrats should pivot and number one, do what bernie said, close the loopholes, first of all. nobody out there thinks loopholes make sense. let’s close those loopholes. virtually every american agrees they’re making record profits. those are things i think are easy to do. we should speak up. i do believe we do have to cut some problems. we certainly need to cut wasteful spending, and there is some waste in social programs. don’t after heating assistance for low income people, but you try to trim those programs that aren’t reaching their mark. ? the pain is all on one side.
>> governor rendell, they just had a vote in congress and the republicans won on loopholes, they voted to keep the loopholes for the oil companies. why don’t you call them out on it? the republicans are vicious to democrats. why don’t they come out and say these republicans are bought lock, stock and barrel.
>> i think that’s the mistake we made in the 2010 election. we tried to be republican-lite. everywhere we tried to do that, we lost. we should have stood up for the things we believe in and tell the people the absolute truth, and then if we lose, at least we lost fighting for things this we believe in, that are our core principles. and it’s time for us to go back to the core principles, what made us democrats and stand up and put those before the voters. don’t try to be imitation republicans.
>> senator sanders, i want to go to that point, right? governor rendell mentioned.
>> would you do for a surtax? is it possible anyone would even suggest that in washington?
>> governor rendell is right. there is waste in government. i didn’t mean to suggest that we can’t make judicious cuts in a number of areas. certainly, including the military, whose budget has almost tripled since 19977. so i do any you need to make some cuts. but on the other hand, when the wealthiest people are becoming wealthier, paying very low effective tax rates have received huge amounts of tax breaks, they have got to anticipate in the effort. it cannot simply be on the backs of the week and vulnerable. what’s going on here in washington? we had an immediate $800 billion tax cut. really almost no fight over that. ? when you go to balance the budget, they say you can only do spending cuts. so you’ve already lost. why do the democrats lose that framing battle every single time?
>> look, i was on the floor of the senate for 8 1/2 hours talking about those issues. and i think that the problem is that big money has a huge impact on both political parties. i think it’s fair to say many democrats have lost their way and no longer see their function as representing working people or the middle class, but share the goal of the republicans, unfortunately, in representing the wealthy and the powerful.
>> see, that’s an interesting indictment of some democrats. and i totally agree with that. governor rendell, what do you think?
>> i agree with bernie as well. i think some people in our party have forgotten our roots and forgot what we’re fighting and forgotten fundamental fairness. this interim budget battle and the long-battle over the president’s budget next year are going to be very, very telling. it’s my hope that every democrat democratic senator in the senate will stand up and say hey, don’t even talk to us about tax cuts when you’re giving subsidies to the oil companies. don’t even talk to us about spending cuts when you’re not closing loopholes that are so unfir. then next year let’s go back to taking away the bush tax cut.
>> i hope the white house is listening to you guys. hey, wait a minute, governor rendell is senator sanders is right. you’ve got to give back these subsidies to the largest oil companies in the world.
>> it’s ridiculous, ridiculous.
>> the only thing i would add to ? what ed said is that the republican proposal in the midst of a horrendous recession with unemployment extraordinarily high will cut, cut hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
>> enand, that’s not theory. do you remember this past month’s job report. 223,000 public sector jobs created. that’s great news. the net was 192,000 because we lost 30,000 public sector jobs. that is just the beginninging. the tip of the iceberg of what we’re going to lose when these budget cuts go through not only in washington but in state capitals alike.
>> all right, senator sanders, governor rendell, thank you both for joining us this evening. really appreciate it. it was a great conversation. all right, michelle