During the recent Republican Presidential debates Michelle Bachman answered, "What, like on a map?" when she was asked if she would recognize Libya. So goes the intelligence of the current side show known as the Democratic process as candidate after candidate goes on pontificating about nothing, encircling the problem but all failing to hit the nail on the head. I have danced around it too, in my posts, "It's Not the Economy Stupid" and "Squandering the Peace Dividend on War". But Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has hit the nail on the head: "While everyone understands that we have got to reduce the deficit, the number-one challenge America faces right now is a jobs crisis," the independent senator declared, while decrying the fact that more than 16 percent of American workers (25 million) are either unemployed or underemployed. Geez, why didn't anyone else think of that?
And he goes on, "Rebuilding the nation's crumbling infrastructure, transforming our energy system, and rewriting our trade policy so that American products - not jobs - are our number-one export." "Everyone in Vermont and across the country understands that we can put millions of Americans back to work rebuilding the nation's bridges, roads, schools, dams, culverts, rail systems and public transportation, among other vital needs," said Sanders. "We must also transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. A significant number of jobs can be created through weatherization, and the manufacturing of American-made wind turbines, solar panels and heat pumps. Also, we must make fundamental changes in our trade policy so that we rebuild our manufacturing sector. Corporate America must invest in the United States and stop the outsourcing of jobs to China, Vietnam and other low-wage countries."
And how might we do that? Well, not by attacking Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid he says. "Social Security has not contributed a nickel to the deficit, it has a $2.6 trillion surplus, and it can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next twenty-five years. It must not be cut," explained Sanders. Rather, he would balance the budget by eliminating tax loopholes for the wealthy and large corporations and taking a hard look at excessive military spending. Damn, that all makes a wonderful amount of sense. Maybe that's why Senator Sanders is staying as far away as he can from running for President - ideas like those wouldn't make any sense at all in the current race. (Thanks to John Rachel for highlighting the sense of Sen. Sanders.)