The time has come.
At a time when the gap between the very rich and the rest is widening, where two people now own more wealth than the poorest 40% and where some of the richest people and the biggest companies in the world pay nothing federal income tax, the billionaire class and large profitable corporations must finally start paying their fair share of taxes.
The time has come.
In an era when real workers’ wages have not increased for nearly 50 years, when more than half of our population lives paycheck after paycheck, where more than 90 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, where working families cannot afford to babysit or graduate school for their children when many Americans no longer believe their government represents their interests, the US Congress must finally have the courage to represent the needs of working families and not just the 1% and their lobbyists.
The time has come.
In a time of unprecedented heat waves, drought, flooding, extreme weather disruption and ocean acidification, now is the time for the U.S. government to ensure that the planet we leave to our children and to future generations is healthy and livable. We must resist the greed of the fossil fuel industry, transform our energy system and lead the world in the fight against climate change.
As chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, I fought hard for a $ 6 billion budget that would meet these and other long overlooked needs. Not everyone in the Democratic caucus agreed with me, and after much discussion and compromise in the Budget Committee, agreement was reached on a smaller number. (Needless to say, no Republican will support legislation that taxes the rich and protects working families.)
Although this budget is less than I wanted, let’s be clear. This proposal, if passed, will be the most important piece of legislation for workers, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor since the FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s. It will also place the United States in a position of world leader in the fight against climate change. Additionally, and importantly, this legislation will create millions of well-paying jobs as we address the long-neglected needs of working families and the planet.
Why is this proposal so important?
We will end the days when billionaires do not pay a cent in federal income tax by ensuring that the rich and big corporations do not use their accountants and lawyers to avoid paying the huge sums of money. ‘they must. This proposal will also increase the personal tax rate on the richest Americans and the corporate tax rate for the most profitable businesses in our country. Under this proposal, no family earning less than $ 400,000 a year will pay a penny more in taxes and in fact benefit from one of the biggest tax cuts in American history.
We will aggressively reduce our child poverty rate by expanding the child tax credit so that families continue to receive monthly direct payments of up to $ 300 per child.
We will fight the childcare crisis by fighting so that no working family pays more than 7% of its income for this basic need. Making child care more accessible and affordable will also strengthen our economy by enabling millions more Americans (mostly women) to join the workforce.
We will provide a universal preschool for all three and four year olds.
We will end the international disgrace that the United States is the only major country in the world that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave as a right.
We will begin to address the crisis in higher education by making community colleges in the United States free.
We will address the shame of rampant homelessness in the United States and the reality that nearly 18 million households pay more than 50% of their income for housing through an unprecedented investment in affordable housing.
We will ensure that people in an aging society can receive the home health care they need and that the workers providing that care do not have to live on poverty wages.
We will save taxpayers hundreds of billions by asking Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and use those savings to cover dental care, hearing aids and glasses that many seniors desperately have. need.
We will rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, sewage treatment plants, broadband, and other aspects of our physical infrastructure.
We will confront the existential threat of climate change by transforming our energy systems from fossil fuels to renewable energies.
This effort will include a nationwide clean energy standard that directs our transportation system, power generation, buildings, and housing and agriculture sector towards clean energy.
Through a Civilian Climate Corps, we will provide hundreds of thousands of young people with well-paying jobs and educational benefits as they will help us fight climate change.
We will fight to bring undocumented migrants out of the shadows and provide them with a path to citizenship, including those who have courageously kept our economy running amid a deadly pandemic.
Amid the many long ignored crises this legislation attempts to address, we will not have a single Republican senator to vote for it. Tragically, many Republican leaders in Congress and across the country are just too busy continuing to lie about the 2020 presidential election, undermining democracy by removing voting rights, denying the reality of climate change, and throwing away doubts about the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
This means that the 50 Democrats in the US Senate, plus the Vice President, will have to pass this most important law on their own. And that’s what we’re going to do. The future of working families is at stake. The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake.
The time has come.
Bernie Sanders is a United States Senator and the most senior member of the Senate Budget Committee. He represents the state of Vermont and is the longest-serving independent in congressional history