28 Dec

Support Bernie Sanders

Friends of Bernie Sanders

Dear The McGlynn,

Thank you for your progressive political activism and your strong efforts on behalf of grassroots democracy and the survival of the American middle-class.  As Vermont’s senator and perhaps the most progressive member of the U.S. Senate I look forward to working together with you in the up-and-coming struggles that our country faces.

The very simple and truthful political reality is that those of us in Congress who are prepared to stand up to right-wing extremism will not be successful without the strong support of millions of Americans at the grassroots level.  Equally true is the reality that the average American citizen – disgusted with tax breaks for billionaires, Wall Street greed, a never-ending recession, attacks on Social Security, two wars and minimal efforts against global warming – will not see their views translated into legislation without the support of progressive members of Congress. We have got to work together.  Let’s do it!

I should also mention that as Vermont’s senator I will be up for re-election in 2012.  As the longest serving Independent in congressional history (16 years in the House and 4 in the Senate) there is no question in my mind that the Republicans, Karl Rove and the big-money interests behind them will do everything they can to defeat me.  If you would like to help out in my campaign, please visit my website and consider making a contribution.

With a right-wing Republican Party taking control of the House of Representatives on January 5th, and with the Republicans gaining 6 seats in the Senate, let me briefly outline to you some of the immediate political struggles that I see occurring:

THE ECONOMY: In the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing.  Meanwhile, the people at the top are doing phenomenally well.  The crooks on Wall Street whose greed precipitated this recession are now earning more money than before the American people bailed them out.  The top one percent in our country now earn over 23 percent of all income, more than the bottom 50 percent.  The U.S. today has by far the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on earth and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider.  While “official” unemployment is at 9.8 percent, real unemployment is over 16 percent – being especially high for blue collar workers, the young and people of color.  Despite all of this the Republicans, whose campaigns are funded by some of the richest people and largest corporations in the country, want more tax breaks for the wealthy, more government deregulation, more unfettered free trade, more anti-union legislation and no more funding for unemployment benefits.

DEFICIT REDUCTION: President Bush converted the large budget surplus which President Clinton bequeathed to him into record-breaking deficits because of Bush’s huge tax breaks for the rich, two wars, the Medicare Part D prescription drug program and the Wall Street bailout – all unpaid for.  Now, with the Republicans having successfully won more tax breaks for the rich under President Obama and thus massively driving up the national debt, those same Republicans are hell-bent on moving toward “deficit reduction” by slashing many programs desperately needed by working Americans.  They will go after Medicare, Medicaid, affordable housing, education and childcare, veterans’ needs, infrastructure and environmental protection – among many other areas.  In their eyes, tax breaks for billionaires are good.  Affordable housing and educational opportunities for working families are bad.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Under the guise of fighting for deficit reduction, the Republicans will unleash an unprecedented attack against Social Security.  They will attempt to slash benefits, raise the retirement age and move toward the eventual privatization of a program which has, for 75 years, successfully lifted many tens of millions of elderly Americans, people with disabilities and widows and orphans out of poverty.  Make no mistake about it: the attempt to destroy Social Security has nothing to do with deficit reduction.  Social Security today has a $2.6 trillion dollar surplus, can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 27 years and has not contributed one nickel to the deficit.  This is an ideological struggle on the part of Republicans in Congress and their billionaire backers to undo the most significant government social program in the history of the United States.  They want Wall Street to provide retirement benefits, not Social Security – not because this is a better plan for seniors, but because it ensures massive profits for Wall Street.

ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY: Most of us share the view of the vast majority of scientists who, having examined all existing evidence, have concluded that global warming is real and is almost certainly caused by man-made activities.  Our goal must be to cut greenhouse gas emissions and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.  In the process of moving our country to energy independence we can, over a period of years, create millions of good paying jobs.  Almost all Republicans in Congress disagree.  Supported by the coal and oil companies, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, they believe that global warming is a “hoax,” and that our energy system should continue to be largely reliant on fossil fuels.  The newly empowered Republicans in Congress will do everything they can to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and, in a variety of ways, give support to the oil and coal companies.  This is no small issue.  The future of the planet, in terms of extreme weather disturbances, flooding, drought, disease and large-scale human migration, may be at stake.  We must vigorously fight for environmental sanity and for energy policies that move us away from fossil fuels.

As Vermont’s Senator I look forward to working with you on the issues that I’ve discussed as well as many that I haven’t had time to get into in this letter.

I would also appreciate your political and financial support for my 2012 reelection campaign.  There is no doubt that I will be opposed by every big-money interest in the country: Wall Street and the credit card companies, the insurance and drug corporations, the big banks, the military-industrial complex, the oil and coal companies and every other special interest that I’ve taken on over the past twenty years.  The issue of securing enough money to run a strong campaign becomes especially relevant in light of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allows corporations and billionaires to invest as much money as they want into campaigns in total secrecy.  Please support my campaign by donating today.

Let me conclude by thanking you once again for your activism and by wishing you and your family a healthy, happy and peaceful new year.


Senator Bernie Sanders

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