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Sanders Filibusters Tax Cuts, Electrifies the Left

Sanders Filibusters Tax Cuts, Electrifies the Left

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-described socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, became a folk hero to progressives when he took to the floor of the Senate for nearly nine hours on Friday to speak against the plan to extend tax cuts for the wealthy in exchange for extending unemployment benefits for millions of workers and extending tax breaks for the middle class.

On the Senate floor, Sanders accused his Republican colleagues of wanting to roll back the New Deal:

And that is, they want to move this country back into the 1920s, when essentially we had an economic and political system which was controlled by Big Money interests, where working people in the middle class had no programs to sustain them when things got bad, when they got old, when they got sick, when labor unions were very hard to come by because of anti-worker legislation.

Senate video servers were overwhelmed as over 12,000 people tried to watch online, John Nichols of The Nation reports.

“Instead of us having to compromise all the time, maybe it’s time of for some of the Republicans to start compromising,” Sanders told host Laura Flanders in an interview with GritTV. (Watch the video.)

Sanders said that over the past few days, his office had received 2,000 calls congratulating him for his stance.

Despite Sanders’ eloquent appeal to level the economic playing field, the Senate seems poised to move on the Obama tax deal, notes Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. The House Democratic caucus rejected the plan on Thursday in an unofficial vote.

Some Democratic House members have voiced their frustrations with the president. Still, Benen thinks it’s unlikely that House Democrats have any intention of scuttling the bill. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats realize they will probably get an even less favorable bill if they wait until the Republicans take over control of the House.

Ed Brayton of the Michigan Messenger notes that while the two houses of Congress were negotiating, more than one million Americans had already lost their unemployment benefits at the end of November and hundreds of thousands more stand to lose their benefits in the coming weeks.

Roger Bybee of Working In These Times points out that the so-called “99-ers”, people who have been out of work for over 99 weeks, will not be helped by the proposed compromise on unemployment benefits extensions. Approximately 2 million people have already hit the 99-week wall on UI benefits. The so-called Grand Compromise won’t stop their benefits from running out.

The proposed deal, dubbed “benefits-for-billionaires” by GritTV host Laura Flanders, would also effectively end the Build America Bonds program, a program that allows cash-strapped states to borrow to maintain public services. As labor activist and commentator Bill Fletcher pointed out in an interview with Flanders, ending the bonds program is an attack on public sector retirement benefits. If credit dries up, the states will be unable to meet their obligations, such as retirement benefits promised to public sector workers. This is backdoor union-busting. If the state has no money, its contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Taibbi vs. the Vampire Squid

Chris Lehmann of The Nation has a positive review of journalist Matt Taibbi’s new book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America. The book is Taibbi’s wide-ranging take on the meltdown of the American economy from the housing bubble to the credit crisis and beyond. The Vampire Squid is Goldman Sachs, to whom Taibbi allots an outsize share of the blame for derailing the U.S. economy.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.


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Photo credit: wikimedia commons

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

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148 comments

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11:40AM PST on Jan 1, 2011

Keep trying to stick it man Bernie. You are welcome at my house in Colorado anytime.

11:39AM PST on Dec 20, 2010

The Republicans are all about money. There is even a new commercial that says 'Smart are the new rich'. So if you are poor or out of work it is your fault!! You are not smart. They do not want to pay for woman's rights ( abortions and contraceptions), Health care, S.S., unemployment and all other programs They have labeled Socialistic. Get smart; stick with Bernie who tells it like it was and is and will be .

11:37AM PST on Dec 20, 2010

The Republicans are all about money. There is even a new commercial that says 'Smart are the new rich'. So if you are poor or out of work it is your fault!! You are not smart. They do not want to pay for woman's rights ( abortions and contraceptions), Health care, S.S., unemployment and all other programs They have labeled Socialistic. Get smart; stick with Bernie who tells it like it was and is and will be .

9:51AM PST on Dec 18, 2010

Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid

8:17AM PST on Dec 18, 2010

So Bernies a "socialist"..how terrible.

Whats terrible is that in a country of 320 million you only have 2 political parties!! And to make matters worse, you feel you have the system down so pat you can "export" democracy. You need to have democracy here first.

Whats even worse is that as the Democrats move closer to the centre, you might have a medling of parties so that there will really only be one!!! And you have no recourse other than to not vote I guess.

So you need politcal diversity and yes, more socialists. Even more extreme right wingers...but you need more of something at both the state and federal level.

This two party system is getting to look alot like a system dictators would like!

4:31PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

Patricia S..
I'm leaving this site for the Christmas Holiday's. My boyfriend, Steven...who, by the way is 16 years younger than me and a real cutie, and we've been together for over 10 years...and we just watched "The Polar Express" again for the umpteenth time. The tree and mantle lights were on, the candles were lit, the fire was going with a real wood burning fireplace, and we watched it on my Blu-Ray, Hi-Def 50 inch TV with my Bose home theater surround sound, I'm really particular about my electronics and paid for them over a period of time, so you can't accuse me of being one of the people I despise. I wouldn't trade places with you for all the money in the world. I have a little, but cozy house and have both the inside and outside decorated up. I have my beloved kitties and my beloved Steven. You might have something else that you think I'd be jealous of, but, guess what? I'm NOT!!! And, here's another FYI...for the last time, NONE of us are jealous of Sarah Palin. I know you would love to be her, but, please count your blessings that you're NOT her! Cherish the people you have. DO NOT worship her! She doesn't give a rat's ass about you or anyone in your class. Have some dignity, please.

3:41PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

One thing I don't get is why so many people are angry at Obama for trying to compromise. He's the President, not a genie. Many of the Democrats are the real wimps - they had two years to get sweeping progressive legislation passed and all we got was anemic health care reform, a credit bill with more holes than my Mastercard agreement, and some other token scraps that could have been accomplished in mere days if the majority had been united.

Obama is doing what he can with WHAT CONGRESS GAVE HIM. Maybe he should have gotten the Mythbusters' advice while they were in D.C. to talk to him... I've seen an episode where they figured out how to polish crap.

3:27PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

This is my last response to this thread. I don't have time for such a useless discussion. Take your ego's out of the discussion. jw h and any of you that are "saving the babies": Why don't you teach your boys to keep their zippers closed. What a shame you can not look at these problems with out emotion involved. Until you understand that we are united in our need for survival on this planet you will continue to sabotage your own and the rest of our survival. Good luck with it. I choose to work for the greater good of all of us.

2:48PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

Sharon H,
Of course. This is a far-left wing website, and at least 90"% of the people on here think the same way, sadly. Don't pity me, dear. I have the majority on my side. Just watch come January!

2:41PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Sanders is a socialist and only says indy to "get along" and be able to get on a ballot. I'm a socialist and I know for a fact that he is a socialist and only uses "independent" for the ballot box because of the false vilification of socialism. I'm going to make it my mission to find out this guy and who he is. If I hear or read one "god bless" whatever.....I'm done

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