The ‘Filibernie’ – Sen. Sanders’ 8.5 hour argument against Obama/GOP Tax Deal

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) capped off a week of growing discontent among Democrats with an eight and a half hour exclamation point.  Clearly upset with the Obama administration over its willingness to compromise, the bulk of the Senator’s lengthy remarks were dedicated to dismantling Republican’s economic proscriptions and enumerating their past failures.

“In my view,” Sanders said, “the agreement that they reached is a bad deal for the American people, and I think we can do better.”

That was at about 10:30 Friday morning.  Senator Sanders continued, with brief support from Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), until just after 7:00 in the evening.  During that period, Sanders spoke with passion on several topics related to America’s economic ills and their resultant structural societal inequities.

On income inequality, for example, too often ignored by the mainstream media, Sanders addressed it head on (emphasis added):

There is a war going on in this country, and I am not talking about the war in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan. I am talking about a war being waged by some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in this country against the working families of the United States. Against the disappearing and shrinking middle class of our country. The billionaires of America are on the war path. They want more, and more, and more. And that has everything to do with this agreement reached between the Republicans and the President.

In 2007, The top 1 percent of income earners in the United States made 23 and a half percent of all income. That is more than the bottom 50 percent…. But for the top 1 percent in America, that’s apparently not enough.

Incidentally, Sanders cited these same statistics within a Nov. 30 floor speech during the Senate debate over Wall Street regulation reform.  Urged by shocked readers to fact-check this claim, Politifact did so, and found it to be “true.”

My favorite part of the speech, by far, was when Sanders addressed the Republican demand for Bush’s tax cuts for the top marginal earners.  While Republicans have argued since the Reagan administration that cuts for the top income brackets have a stimulative effect on the economy, it has never worked out that way.

Even in the present debate, Republicans continue to insist that these cuts will be stimulative and job creators.  This despite America’s present economic predicament having taken shape in the wake of the Bush’s tax cuts, ill conceived wars, and other unfunded mandates.  On this, the Senator from Vermont states what should be obvious to us all:

For my friends, my Republican colleagues, to tell me that we need more tax cuts for the very rich, because that’s going to create jobs, that’s what trickle down economics is all about. What I would say to them is: Ya had your chance! It failed! In case you don’t know, losing 600,000 private sector jobs in eight years is not good. That’s very, very bad. That’s an economic policy that is bad. We don’t need to look at that movie again. We saw it. It stunk! It was a very bad movie!

Though Senator Sanders’ impressive effort wasn’t technically a filibuster — the Senate isn’t expected to vote on the Obama compromise until Monday — it served as a reminder to observers of what a filibuster should look like.

Below you’ll find a video of the first 12 minutes of Sanders’ remarks.  For more, see Josh Harkinson’s excellent post, in which the Mother Jones reporter excerpts many of the highlights.  Of course, if you have a lot of time on your hands, you can see it all on C-SPAN’s site.

Sen. Sanders, mid 'Filibernie' via


Ola C.
Ola C5 years ago

I agree totally with Bernie Sanders! Unfortunately, the reality is that for those receiving unemployment; this tax bill has to be signed. That is unfortunately the ugly unvarnished truth. I totally hate the idea of the upper 1% of the country getting their tax cuts for two years; while the unemployed have to get their extentions for only 13 months. It is very unfair and makes me sick to my stomach. Passing this tax bill; I am afraid is a necessary evil though.

Sherry D.
Sherry D5 years ago

I have so much respect for Bernie Sanders, which is more than I can say for most politicans. I hope Bernie Sanders gains more political power. We need his help. This guy gets it.

Paul B.
5 years ago

Go Jeffrey... Jason, Government run healthcare, energy, insurance, education IS socialism... and the society won't be sane. I don't trust the government to collect taxes properly, much less run anything that I depend on for my happiness. What has the government EVER run effectively? SS, MEdicare, Postal Service, Education, What???It's not left, it's not right. It's not the enlightened or the religious. It's government and the POWER that corrupts anyone who runs it. Always and forever, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. So the less power we give them, the better off we are. Talk about elitists, haves and have nots, just give the government MORE power and you will quickly see how little POWER YOU HAVE LEFT. that is what I DON'T want to happen. That is what most Americans are afraid of at this point... government power and more corruption, more "who you know cronyisms", More elitists telling us how we should live our lives. I guess if you have nothing, then you only have to gain by taking from others. But the ceiling is limited. DOing for yourself, the ceiling is unlimited. I chose to do it for myself... limitless what I can accomplish if I have the desire and the willingness to work and take some risks. Dependency on government enslaves those who allow it. NOT ME!!!

Jeffrey W.
Jeffrey W5 years ago

There are pictures in the album of her face

Judith S.
Judith S5 years ago

Funny, your "really hot blond won't show her face.

Jeffrey W.
Jeffrey W5 years ago

You could too, you know. You just have to get off your butt, take a chance, and do something. Actually, anybody can do it. But if you go around with the attitude you're a victim, you'll never do it.

It's your choice. I choose to enjoy the economy and ride around with really hot blondes. If you prefer to spend your time here whining, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Jason R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Jeff is sort of saying, we have all the money. Screw you.

We get that, Jeff. We will remember.

Jason R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Okay then. Enjoy the economy.

Jeffrey W.
Jeffrey W5 years ago

You bet!

Jason R.
Past Member 5 years ago

OOps. I just looked at the picture of you with the young hottie on the back of your motor cycle. Are you rich and selfish?