The Barefoot Accountant of Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC, presents the video and transcript of an interview of Senator Bernie Sanders conducted by Wolf Blitzer on CNN on May 19, 2015.
Wolf Blitzer: Income inequality certainly a major issue in the 2016 Presidential race. Hillary Clinton has made headlines over the revelation that she and her husband the former President Bill Clinton made about 30 million dollars since last year alone in speaking fees, five million dollars for the book that she wrote. Listen to what she said about that when she spoke to reporters just a little while ago.
Reporter: On your income disclosure recently that just came out on Friday, you were in the tip top echelon of earners in this country. How do you expect everyday Americans to relate to you?
Hillary Clinton: Well obviously Bill and I’ve been blessed and we’re very grateful for the opportunities that we had, but we’ve never forgotten where we came from and we’ve never forgotten the kind of country that we want to see for our granddaughter, and that means that we’re gonna fight out to make sure that everybody has the same chances to live up to his or her own God-given potential.
So I think that most Americans understand that the deck is stacked for those at the top and I’m running a campaign that is very clearly stating we want to reshuffle that deck. We want to get back to having more opportunities for more people so that they can make more out of their own lives.”
Blitzer: Well let’s talk about that and more with the Vermont Senator, a Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. Thanks very much for coming in. What’s your reaction when you hear her say that about income inequality, which is a huge issue for you.
Bernie Sanders: It’s an issue I have been talking about for many, many years, and I think what we need to do is be very specific about what we’re gonna do about it. Today, Wolf, 99% of all new incomes is going to the top 1%. The top one-tenth of one percent …
Blitzer: Would you put her in that top 10 percent, one-tenth of one percent, is that what you’re saying?
Sanders: I don’t know exactly, they may be. I don’t know if they are that high but …
Blitzer: Is that a problem though? Is that a problem that she and her husband made thirty million dollars for the past 16 months for speaking and writing a book?
Sanders: Well it’s a problem, but the more serious problem is what do we do about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in America today. So what do you have to do?
What we need to do is create millions up decent paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.
What you need to do is say to the wealthiest people in the largest corporations, you know what, you gonna have to start paying your fair share of taxes; you can’t stash your money in the Cayman Islands.
What you’re gonna have to do, if you really want to grow the middle class, is say that everybody in this country, regardless of their income, if they have the ability, they’re going to get a college education. And today I just introduced legislation that would make public colleges and universities tuition free.
Blitzer: Where’s the money going to come from?
Sanders: A tax on Wall Street speculation and that’s exactly where it should come from.
Blitzer: Talk about that. What does that mean a tax on Wall Street speculation?
Sanders: What it means is right now you have people who are becoming phenomenally wealthy by speculating in derivatives and every other type of esoteric instrument that they can. People are getting very rich on Wall Street. What we are going to impose is what exists in dozens of countries around the world is a very modest tax on the transference of large amounts of stock.
Blitzer: What does that mean, a very modest tax? Is that going to pay for tuition free education?
Sanders: More than that. This is a very effective and progressive way to raise money. The estimate is that it could bring in as much as $300 billion-a-year.
Blitzer: Do you think Republicans are going to go along with this?
Sanders: Of course not.
Blitzer: Well if they if they’re not going to go along with this, it’s not going to become the law.
Sanders: No, well, I don’t think it’s going to be passed tomorrow. But what I think what we have to do is the American people will go along with it. The American people think it’s absurd that our young people are leaving school deeply, deeply in debt and young people can’t afford to go to college.
Blitzer: Is Hillary Clinton committed to this cause as are you?
Sanders: Wolf, you will have to ask her.
Blitzer: But what do you think?
Sanders: I don’t work for her. I don’t know.
Blitzer: But you know her, you know her position.
Sanders: I just introduced legislation. I don’t know where Hillary Clinton is coming on this. I believe we got to join Germany, Scandinavia, and many other countries around the world and say, if you have the ability, regardless of your income, you are going to be able to go to college tuition free.
Blitzer: So you want to raise taxes.
Sanders: On the very wealthiest people in this country? Absolutely.