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The Bernie Buzz:We Must Not Accept This Economic 'New Normal'

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, congress, corruption, dishonesty, elections, ethics, economy, government, Govtfearmongering, healthcare, housing, media, politics, propaganda )

- 1718 days ago -
The front pages of American newspapers are filled with stories about how the US economy is recovering.

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Kit B (276)
Friday June 7, 2013, 4:57 am
Photo: Senator Bernie Sanders

The front pages of American newspapers are filled with stories about how the US economy is recovering. There is some truth to that. Since President George W. Bush left office in 2009, significant progress has been made in moving our economy out of the abyss of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But in the midst of this slow recovery, we must not accept a "new normal".

We must not be content with an economic reality in which the middle class of this country continues to disappear, poverty is near an all-time high and the gap between the very rich and everyone else grows wider and wider.

The good news is that instead of losing more than 700,000 jobs a month as we were five years ago, we've been gaining almost 200,000 jobs a month since January. The bad news is that, in addition to those job numbers being much too low, nearly 60 percent of the jobs gained since the "recovery" are low-wage jobs that pay less than $14 an hour, while most of the jobs lost during the recession were decent-paying middle-class jobs.

The good news is that the official unemployment rate has gone down from 10 percent in October of 2009 to 7.5 percent in April. The bad news is that 20 million Americans still are looking for work and the real unemployment rate – counting those who have given up looking for work and those working part time when they need full time jobs – is 13.9 percent The very bad news is that youth and minority unemployment is far higher than that and, with the decline in factory jobs, income for poorly educated men has shrunk by nearly two-thirds over the past four decades.

The good news is that housing prices are beginning to rise, providing some additional wealth for most home owners. The bad news is that from 2009 – 2011, all of the new wealth generated in this country went to the top 7 percent of American households, while the bottom 93 percent saw a net reduction in their wealth. Further, the US has more wealth inequality than any major country on earth with the top 1% now owning 38 pecent of the financial wealth, while the bottom 60 percent owns just 2.3 percent of the wealth.

The good news is that the stock market has fully recovered from its collapse in 2008 and is now at an all-time high. The bad news is that the top one percent of Americans earn more income than the bottom 50 percent, and 100 percent of the new income generated in this country from 2009-2011 went to the top 1 percent. During that period the bottom 99 percent of Americans lost ground economically.

The good news is that, since 2008, the deficit has been cut by more than half. In 2008 it was $1.4 trillion, this year it will be about $642 billion. The bad news is that many working class families can no longer afford the outrageously high cost of college, and the average American student leaves school about $25,000 in debt, with graduate students running debts far higher.

The good news is that if you are a CEO of a large corporation, you are now making 350 times more than your average employee. The bad news is that unemployment benefits have been cut, making it harder for the long-term unemployed to live in dignity.

The American people get the economic realities. According to a Gallup poll, nearly six out of 10 believe that money and wealth should be more evenly distributed among a larger percentage of the people in the US, while only a third of Americans think the current distribution is fair. A record-breaking 52 percent of the American people believe that the federal "government should redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich".

The United States Congress and the president must begin listening to the American people. While there clearly has been some improvement in the economy over the last five years, much more needs to be done. We need a major jobs program which puts millions back to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. We need to tackle the planetary crisis of global warming by creating jobs transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

We need to end the scandal of one of four corporations paying nothing in federal taxes while we balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.

By Senator Bernie Sanders | The Bernie Buzz |

Carol H (229)
Friday June 7, 2013, 5:03 am
thanks Kit, noted

Alan Lambert (91)
Friday June 7, 2013, 6:44 am
Thanks Kit, great post...

Nancy M (197)
Friday June 7, 2013, 11:54 am
We absolutely can't. I can't believe some people defend this.

Kit B (276)
Friday June 7, 2013, 12:09 pm

Just think of the many people that are paid minimum wage and less, multiply that by 350 and that is the salary of the CEO. Why did we ever allow this to happen?

About 5 million a year. Even with the best possible investments the average worker will never be able to save that amount of money in his/her life time.

JL A (282)
Friday June 7, 2013, 2:45 pm
I'm glad we have a Bernie to speak to realities of what the so-called jobless recovery actually means to most Americans.

Diane O (194)
Friday June 7, 2013, 3:45 pm
Well, excellent thread, with absolutely accurate information but you forgot to add one real piece of information.....personal choices by Americans. We cannot "insist" that every American get a high school diploma. And, we cannot insist that every high school graduate enroll and complete a training program in their field of interest and we cannot insist that every high school graduate get a college degree and a master's degree. That's not possible. So, what are we talking about here? We are talking about "some" Americans who opt out of higher education/training in a specific field whereby they can EARN more than minimum wage.

We are paid according to what we are qualified to do. And, thank God, we have many companies in our country who will hire those who have virtually no education. We cannot expect companies to pay them $25.00 an hour, a living wage, if they aren't qualified to do the work.

This article hit on real truths. I work for a wealth management company and I see couples come in every week who have invested in their education and then went on to work for companies for many years who then invested in their 401k and other investments religiously. They made that choice to do so. The average worker has to understand that if they do not invest in themselves early in life they leave themselves open to earning a minimum wage the rest of their lives. And in so doing, what is it they expect from that decision?

It's called personal responsibility. What one puts in is what one gets back. No high school diploma? High school diploma but no college? College but no master's degree? These are choices we all make.

A CEO of a large company provides many jobs for Americans particularly to the middle and lower middle class Americans. They also offer retirement benefits. Some employees start early and participate in these offerings and others decide that they won't make this sacrifice and spend what they could be saving. Again, it's a personal choice.

I know you aren't going to like my response because I am a realist. I believe each and every one of us makes a choice early in life and that decides our future. I am not, in any way, including our disabled Americans as that is an entirely different topic.

I have never, and will never, have a problem with a CEO earning a large income. Not everyone can lead a large company to prosperity, providing millions of jobs and benefits to Americans. CEO's provide the workplace where Americans earn a nice living, healthcare benefits and retirement accounts. It becomes a personal choice if we take advantage of it. Many will take advantage of it and unfortunately some do not.

You reap what you sow. If you expect the taxpayers to "take care of those" who continue to make bad financial choices for themselves then you may just have your head in the sand.

Personal responsibility. Personal choices.....they define who we are.

Sheryl G (364)
Friday June 7, 2013, 4:42 pm
Is always a wonderful thing when you can have personal choices. Sometimes when those who are living in poverty are hungry they don't have personal choices, they leave High School and go to work. I could give a lot of case scenarios to how much personal choice is available to people living on the edge.

I know people that got into retirement plans and had their money wiped out by the Banksters and Wall Street, so I don't consider that their personal choice to be wiped out or nearly so.

Yes, there are personal choices to do drugs, there is a personal choice to give up or to keep hanging in there. It is always so easy for those who in their life might of had a bit of a helping hand. Their family was already educated, or the parents knew someone who would hire them on in the firm, or they got good food and solid direction all their life. Many children are going to bed hungry, how does that help their learning. Some children are living in cars or moving from place to place as they don't have a steady roof over their heads.

Is always easy to look down from the towers on high and say, well I did well why can't others. It is even harder today to pull oneself out of a bad place than in the past due to a rigged economy, that is not a personal type of choice either.

As Suze Orman said, "There is a highway into poverty and not even a sidewalk to get out." If people do not have opportunity then they are very limited on what personal choices they can make.

Thankful we have Bernie Sanders that can explain things in a clear and simple manner and is also a very compassionate man besides.

We have many things that need repairing in our Country that would offer a lot of people work, we could set up training programs to people that they could get on their feet with, so much could be done to offer a hand up but that isn't happening, too many people have chosen to kick the people while they are down and wonder why they can't get up.

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday June 7, 2013, 4:46 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. Bernie is such a wonderful advocate for sanity and balance; too bad he won't run for President. But, it's great to keep his voice in the Senate.

Robert K (31)
Friday June 7, 2013, 5:12 pm
Some moronic wingnut on the air today pooh pooed the relatively good jobs report saying 175,000 isn't good. He said Reagan added a million in one month, which was true, but his average was 158,000 and those of you who are old enough remember what almost ALL the jobs created under Reagan were called....McJobs, minimum wage, no benefits jobs.

We could be adding that million jobs a month if the Republicans would help, but they only care about power and trying to make Obama look bad. No Republican politician gives the slighrtest damn about America, and no one who supports them is helping the country, but in most cases it's just because they are ignorant as to facts or stupid enough to buy into Republican ideology.

Hi Diane!

Kit B (276)
Friday June 7, 2013, 6:48 pm

Well said, Dandelion. The idea of personal choice is nice for those who can afford that, for those scraping by there is no room for choices, just survival.

Jason R (68)
Friday June 7, 2013, 7:53 pm
Diane, what happened to a duty to sacrifice for the good of the country as a whole? Are you old enough to remember those days of prosperity? Do you remember when greed was just a very few?
Bernie does. He knows his history. I do. I know it too. Republican President Eisenhower showed us how to prosper. It paid for itself as the taxes on the rich were reinstalled. Do you or your hubby make over a $million a year? Why worry about and favor those people so much?
Stop worrying about "personal choices". Worry about the right wing, MIC making them harder to achieve.

Diane O (194)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 3:59 am
Barack Obama and Michelle had student loans....lots of them. Anyone who wants to be trained to do a job or go to college can do so. A case in point are the illegals pouring into our country and enrolling in universities and trade schools across the US.

It's never good to make excuses for someone because they don't have the money. Money is secondary due to grants and loans. It takes the will to succeed. Without it, you give yourself a lifetime of earning minimum wage.

How about a career in our military? That's a choice for many who then go on to get a college degree or some other form of training.

You do no one any favors by making excuses for their bad choices in life.

paul m (93)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 5:26 am


Kit B (276)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 6:46 am

Diane, you could not have said that better if the right wing had a handbook for you to copy. Empty useless words that do not apply in the real world.

Robert K (31)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 8:05 am
Ah Diane, careers in the military are perfectly suited for those who don't mind sucking the public teat for a lifetime. And who are incapable of making a real living. ;o)

And you can't get into a college if you're here illegally, unless you grew up here and they don't know it. And grants are not easy to get, especially if you grew up needy and don't have connections. Your ignorance seems to be based on having lived a privileged life where you never had any challenges tougher than what color lipstick to wear.

Nearly every post from you is so full of stupidity, hatred and lies that no rational person could possibly feel anything but contempt for you and everything you stand for, and I'm being nice to you, much nicer than you deserve.

Terrie Williams (798)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 8:16 am
I love that man.....still wish he were young enough to run for Prez. He is the diamond buried beneath that pile of manure in the Senate....which is the rest of them that are there for their own avarice.

Not even going to start to opine about 'personal responsibility'....been living that all my life.

Nancy M (197)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 10:32 am

Yeah, Kit- right wing handbook.

I remember when I was a kid, one of my fellow students, at the age of 9, had a choice. He could do his math homework in pen, which was a no-no, or he could not do his homework. That's how poor his family was. After being yelled at the next day, the teacher realized and gave him a pencil. Of course, nowadays, the Republicans would send him to be a janitor.

Nancy M (197)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 10:37 am
Personal Responsibility?

I think that IS the reason we are in such a mess. We have an incredible work ethic and sense of responsibility. We will do anything to keep from asking for help. Families working two and three jobs, etc. Willing to do anything to stay afloat.....Only in America.

Jason R (68)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 10:52 am
You pointed out where Dianes keeps her head well. Up the back side of fox and the nazi fascist right.

"How about a career in our military? That's a choice for many who then go on to get a college degree or some other form of training. "

OMG! We're raising hell about the MIC and its strangle hold on our lives and you're promoting it. Why, to take the scary, unemployed kids off the street? How do you LET your mind go there?

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 11:33 am
I remember when North America used to be the leaders in industry, science and math. I remember lean times too as I grew up not with a silver spoon up my butt let alone a golden one in my mouth. I think the reversal came in the sixties with the death of JFK [I could go back to Wilson but I won't] and the uber spending of LBJ during the Vietnam War. Then in 1973 Nixon took America officially off the gold standard and the US greenback replaced the pound sterling as official world currency. Thank you Tricky Dick and you're still a crook along with the rest of them. Then you had the hard times in the early 70s under Carter followed by Reagan's form of austerity economics [Friedman never forgave him for not going Pinochet on the US]; followed in turn by Desert Storm; then Clinton who signed the bill negating Glass-Steagall followed by the present circus act in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the life of me I can not understand why we are propping up a bisexual pedophilic crook who's bilking the American public out of hundreds of millions of dollars for nothing while bad mouthing us all the time. Pull the troops out and let him defend himself with fellow Afghani soldiers. Then there's Barky who like every politician proceeding him is nothing more than a puppet controlled by the Puppet Masters such as Rockefeller and Rothschild for example. Yes Diane everyone can go to college or university but not everyone can afford it not to mention the crushing individual debt carried for years. After all, why go to college when states such as Maryland and others are requiring a BA just to be a cashier at Mickey Dees? All told the collective American debt is 143+ trillion dollars and the unemployment rate were it truly presented without spin or any other form of doctoring would approach 30%, truth be told. It is time to wake up everyone. Stop drinking the Kool-aid being offered to you by the GOP and the DEMs. Get behind the independents and support them en masse. It's time to deal with the issues such as campaign reform; campaign funding and spending; lobbyist influence and financial reform such as the reintroduction of Glass-Steagal; the closing of Delaware style tax loopholes; the auditing and reorganization of the FED by the US Treasury department; a downsizing of student loans and financing; education reform; health care reform. These are just a few issues. I'm sure that people with open minds from both sides of the two parties can come up with a lot more of them. It's time for a change and a real new world order that benefits everyone.

Nancy M (197)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 11:42 am
And we have seen those student loans turn into nothing but another scam.

And all those students that some seem to think are "illegals" are actually receiving far more student aid to come here and many live a much better lifestyle than Americans while they are students here. Without those extra jobs to pay for college, they actually have time to study and end up with higher grades.

Diane O (194)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 1:02 pm
How many of you here today have degrees and paid back student loans? Probably 90% of you. Many of you have brought children into the world and my guess is that you plan to have all of them go to college or learn a trade.

Look at yourselves first and what you believe in.....getting an education to be able to support yourselves later in life and raise self supporting grown children.

Liberals are nuts. Many of you took out student loans and you have degrees. But, because a republican brings up personal responsibility you attack the very thing that most of you have done...student loans and all.

You are a breathtaking group of people who talk out of two sides of your mouths. YOU KNOW you believe in personal responsibility but you wouldn't dare admit it...not here even though all of you are a product of your own personal choices.

Nancy M (197)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 1:09 pm
I got my student loans when they were at a lower rate than mortgages and not much more than savings (remember when savings was 5.25%?). They were NOT at 3X the rate of a mortgage and 100X MORE than a savings account. Needing student loans today results in students who are taking on more debt just for their education than most of us have taken on for houses and cars. And what good is it doing them? As indicated above, many are working McDOnald's and Starbucks WITH THEIR DEGREES.

SO, why is that so GOOD for America?

Nobody here has attacked an education BTW.

Winn A (178)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 2:33 pm

Pamylle G (461)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 2:34 pm
Diane, your money-oriented thinking about the integrity of human experience & distribution of resources on this planet SEEMS reasonable-sounding in the current cultural climate. And it's so totally CREEPY !

"Taking responsibility" has become a a code word for "the haves" to let others("the have-nots") who make "bad decisions" work several crappy jobs or simply drop dead (but not anywhere that would spoil the view). And this sound-bite is applied with little or no historical context when it comes to many disadvantaged groups.

Maybe you are talking out of only one side of your mouth, but you (like Mr. RawMoney) evoke the otherwise admirable trait of "taking personal responsibility" as a political excuse to abandon decency & compassion...while pretending otherwise.

If I'm a nut to think we should all take care of each other, I'm proud to be one !

Diane O (194)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 3:03 pm
Nancy, I always enjoy your comments even though we disagree but you need to understand the country you live do NOT live in a European country where everything appears to be "free" when it isn't as you deposit your payroll check that has 55% of taxes taken out of it to pay for your neighbors who simply don't want to work and want to milk the "free system." You live in a personal responsibility America where millions of immigrants migrated to have the ability to start their own businesses and raise a family as well as educate their own children. Our country was built on the backs of immigrants who came to the "free world" where they would have the opportunity to chart their own life paths. No, we aren't a nanny state country however if that is what you feel is right then pack up your belongings and go to Switzerland, Norway....take your pick but know this.....half of everything you earn will go to provide "free" services to other people. If you are okay with that then go for it but right now you live in the greatest country in the world simply because we believe in higher education, training, and personal responsibility which INCLUDES our taxpayer dollars funding the largest expenditure we have each month and that is the entitlements that we fund for the poor and those down on their luck.

And to Pamylle, no, you are not a nut. You just have a big bleeding heart...kum bay ya....communal living thoughts where we, as a country, stop our higher education and innovative nature so that we can sit around a camp fire holding each other for the evening and then go to our individual tents "or not" and go to sleep. That's not America. Are you aware that our taxpayers fund over $60 BILLION A YEAR IN FRAUD AND ABUSE IN OUR SOCIAL PROGRAMS? Think about that.

So, to you, based on your comments that we should take care of each other, that you make your way to European countries, find a country that best suits you giving over 50% of your income to the government so that you can work harder and longer so that those who work fewer hours and don't care about others can have the same lifestyle you have. If that is what you believe then I believe there are a few countries abroad that will scratch that itch you have for a socialist society that, by the way, kills innovation and competitiveness in the workplace.

Our country, America, was built by personal responsibility Americans who would've done anything to keep from being on welfare...and this started with our immigrants who had a great sense of pride and a strong work ethic to take care of their own families. Our country, unfortunately, has morphed into three and four generations still on welfare. That tells me the system doesn't work. What does that tell YOU?

Birgit W (160)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 4:43 pm

Nancy M (197)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 7:43 am
"Nancy, I always enjoy your comments even though we disagree but you need to understand the country you live in...."

I do understand Diane. I live it. My family lives it. Do you? Doesn't sounds like it.

"Our country, America, was built by personal responsibility Americans who would've done anything to keep from being on welfare..."

And it still is, they just get food stamps to feed their families because Wal-mart won't pay them enough. And it took a long time getting where we are, and it sucks for most Americans. It is precisely because of our work ethic and our responisiiblity to ourselves that has allowed corporations to get away with this shyte.

Nancy M (197)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 7:46 am
Amen Pamylle!

Debra Van Way (12)
Monday June 10, 2013, 3:55 pm
Wow, Diane O. really doesn't live in the same reality as most Americans now do. Allow me paint you a picture of reality, Diane. In this state-we had lots of businesses owned locally. We had a large variety of places to shop for most any thing a family needed and everything for the most part was made in this country. Our education system was one of the best. We had not only first rate colleges, we also had trade schools and neither put their students so far in debt they would be 40 before they broke even. People were paid liveable wages, had benefits (even part time employees). People were able to afford to go see a movie or out to eat once in a while. Then-suddenly corporations became people and those "people" were so greedy-they started sending jobs done by Americans to China, India, etc., where they could pay the poor folks there tiny little wages and get a much larger profit for themselves. I know this first hand-my job went to India along with that of the 500 or so folks I worked with. The wealthy became more so-they began to believe they deserved more than any one else. Now they look down their noses at the people whose future they destroyed. We lost all of our manufacturing, most of the small locally owned businesses are gone, as are the locally owned restuarants. Those businesses left pay low wages regardless of the employee's education or skills, rarely offer any benefits at all and will avoid giving enough hours to have to pay any overtime or vacation. If an employees gets ill-they either show up to work or get even a smaller paycheck. Food prices, gas prices, utilities-all have increased in cost. With both parents working-they still can't get ahead. Many parents do without meals so their children have more to eat. Then along come the "have too much" people that don't have to look at hungry children's sad faces or hear growling empty tummies and feel like failures because they can't get enough hours to earn a decent paycheck so their children don't go to bed hungry or wearing rags to school. Until you have walked in their shoes-STOP LOOKING DOWN YOUR NOSE AND SHUT THE HECK UP!

Sheryl G (364)
Tuesday June 11, 2013, 7:37 am
Diane, you are living in a world that isn't here for most of us. Even for the many of us that "use" to be middle class that has been taken away. It isn't anything I'm making up, the statistics are all out there that support that the middle class is being destroyed, there are more poor, there is a wider and wider gap between the rich and poor. The game is rigged.

Now if one was lucky enough to be on the side of "I've done pretty good for myself side of life", then you may not have felt this transition, in fact for some in the right places it has been a real bonanza for them, money can't seem to come in fast enough.

The GOP and others can fool themselves if they want, and you can spit out the same GOP words, as Kit said, right from the talking points, for this is a truly propaganda campaign which has worked tremendously as a matter of fact. But people are waking up, they KNOW how hard they work and can't get ahead, too many have student debt and can't find jobs that pay much more than minimum wage if they can even find a job. Too many are going hungry, too many have lost a loved one simply because they couldn't afford medical care or the ever increasing medical premiums.

And every friend I have that comes from the Countries like Norway, Finland, or Switzerland, are very content to live where they do, and wouldn't trade to come here. They like living in a more fair and compassionate society in which all the citizens are treated with value, caring and consideration.

What happens here in the USA as more and more understand that it isn't anything the did not do or failed to do but that a rigged system was placed upon them, they begin to get angry.

So you all can sit smug and think that all someone has to do is snap their fingers and get full time jobs at living wages, loans to college and that job is going to be magically there for them, but the truth lies with the people who have no physical relationship to those words you speak. Those are not excuses but facts for many people that you don't seem to realize or want to realize.

The reality is a whole other thing for them and when the tide begins to turn, which it always does at some point, you best hope that it turns in a calm way. Because people without hope, who are hungry, who feel used and abused, who feel they are not listened to or even spat upon, will turn on those who keep the boot upon them eventually.

This pointing to all the wrong places to keep each other at each others throats will also only work so long.

People are still in shock, it isn't the way that America was "suppose" to be or go for them, and this is a rude awakening for many. Some grieve while others try to understand what is happening, others commit suicide, there is a lot of various stages that many people are going through. But as more do reach the fact that the "Few" screwed them, they will then start to take it into their own hands. Or the people who are now elected can get with the program and start to undo some of what has caused this before the people do get to that point.

And speaking of personal responsibility, why isn't any of the Thieves from Wall Street behind bars? What, all of them too big to jail. Seems like the only ones that have to take personal responsibility is the poor and middle class, what is left of them.

Pamylle G (461)
Wednesday June 12, 2013, 4:27 am
Truthfully, I'm not fond of the song "Kumbaya"...and I don't know if I have a "bleeding heart", but I hope, to act at all times, as if I HAVE ONE !
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