Vodpod videos no longer available.Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent Senator from Vermont, talks about the impact of the Koch brothers on the protests in Wisconsin.
UYGUR: All right.
Now joining me is Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a guy familiar with fighting back. Of course he led a huge filibuster talking about the same issues I‘ve been talking about here.
Senator Sanders, how do we do this on a national scale? Because to me it seems like this is it. If you lose in Wisconsin, you‘re going to lose in Ohio, you‘re going to lose in Indiana, and the dominos are going to fall. And then the Democrats are going to wake up and go, oh, my God, how did we lose our whole support?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, Cenk, you‘re absolutely right. What we have to understand is this is not just Wisconsin. This is part of the concerted attack on the middle class and working families of this country, by the very wealthiest people in America, the Koch brothers and many others.
And you‘re also right in suggesting that if you look at the end game, what are you talking about? You‘re talking about the end of Social Security, privatization of Social Security, massive cuts or the privatization of Medicare, major cuts in Medicaid. You‘re talking about over a period of time the end of unemployment compensation, the end of the minimum wage or lowering the minimum wage.
What these guys want is to return us to the 1920s when working people had virtually no rights to organize or to earn a decent living. Bottom line today is the top one percent earn more income than the bottom 50 percent. The top one percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.
That gap between the very rich and everything else is growing wider. And what the wealthiest people in the country are doing are using their resources to make the attack against the middle class even stronger. They want the destruction of the middle class and almost all wealth in this country to go to the people on top.
UYGUR: You know, I see you making that argument all the time, Senator Sanders, but I‘m looking for the president, I‘m looking for the national Democrats.
I can‘t see them.
I mean, do they get what this fight is about? I mean, it looks like they‘re playing checkers and the Republicans are playing chess. We‘re walking into a checkmate here and I don‘t hear anything from them. But you‘re in the caucus. Do they understand the weight of this issue?
SANDERS: Well, the answer to the question is some of them do and some of them don‘t. And the reason that I was so upset about this recent tax agreement that the president negotiated with the Republicans giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest people is it‘s part of this whole process by which you give tax breaks to the rich and then you‘re going to cut back on programs desperately needed by working families and the middle class.
The other point that I would make is that there are a lot of folks out there who say, well, you know what? It doesn‘t impact me, I‘m not a union guy, I‘m not a teacher, I‘m not a civil servant. It doesn‘t matter to me. But let me tell you how it does matter to you.
Wages are going down in this country. They‘re going down for everybody. And when you destroy unions, there will be no standard at all. There‘ll be nobody left to negotiate decent jobs for the middle class.
So your wages will go down as well, because right now if there are union workers earning a decent wage, private employers have to compete to some degree. So everybody should stand with the workers, stand for decent wages, decent job benefits, and also the ability to negotiate contracts.
UYGUR: All right. Senator Bernie Sanders, right on the money as usual.
Thank you so much for your time tonight.
SANDERS: Good to be with you, Cenk.
UYGUR: Yes. And look, the rest of the Democrats, wakie-wakie. OK? Snap out of it. It‘s a war on the middle class. When are you going to stand up?