Bernie Sanders on Corporations

Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)


Break up big agriculture corporations

Sanders rolled out a proposal to help revitalize rural farming communities and break up big agriculture corporations. The comprehensive plan would enact "Roosevelt style trust-busting laws," address climate change and propose job training and education for farmers.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 12, 2019

Top 1% income inequity makes no sense

My campaign is about taking on the handful of extraordinarily wealthy and powerful people who have unbelievable power over [our] economic and political life. It makes no sense, when millions are working 2 or 3 jobs to survive, the 3 wealthiest people own more wealth than the bottom half and the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%. It makes no sense that when 100,000s cannot afford college, and millions leave school deep in debt, 46% of all new income goes to the top 1%.
Source: Speech transcript from National Action Network Convention , Apr 5, 2019

Defend farmers & consumers from corporate middlemen

Sanders, for his part, published an op-ed in the Des Moines Register [and] denounced Bayer's Monsanto buyout, adding that "when we are in the White House, we are going to strengthen antitrust laws that defend farmers from the corporate middlemen that stand between the food grower and the consumer, and have now become so big and powerful that they can squeeze farmers for everything they're worth."
Source: Mother Jones magazine on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 30, 2019

Economy is great, for those who get corporate stock buybacks

In America today, we have more wealth & income inequality than almost any major country on earth and it is more unfair now than at any other time since the Gilded Age of the 1920s.
Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech , Feb 5, 2019

Americans in red OR blue states oppose enriching the top 1%

Q: You're in Kansas working to help elect progressive candidates. This is a solidly pro-Trump red state.

SANDERS: Well, I happen to believe passionately that there really is not a blue state/red state division in this country. I think there is a lot of mythology attached to that. People believe that health care is a right. People believe we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage. People do not think, as Trump does, that we should give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent, but in fact we have got to demand that the rich start paying their fair share of taxes. So, whether you are in Kansas or the Bronx or in Vermont, we have common interests and common aspirations. And we have got to fight for an America that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Jul 22, 2018

Middle class needs tax breaks; top 1% does not

Q: Do you think that three-day federal shut down was a good strategy for fiscal responsbility?

SANDERS: Yes, I think from a moral perspective it was the right thing to do. But it's a terrible and inefficient way to run a government.

Q: The President's biggest achievement so far is that tax cuts are gaining in popularity as some of these big companies hand out $1,000 bonuses. Do you think that the public should be pleased that workers are getting another $1,000 in their pockets?

SANDERS: Well, sure, everybody should be pleased when any worker gets a raise. But what we should also understand that that tax proposal will add $1.4 trillion dollars to the deficit and at the end of ten years 84% of the tax benefits will go to the top one percent. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, billionaires and large multi-national corporations do not need tax breaks, it is the middle class and working families of this country who do.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Jan 28, 2018

45% estate tax only for estates over $3.5 million

Strengthening the estate tax is one of the fairest ways to reduce wealth inequality, while at the same time raising significant new revenues that the country needs to rebuild the middle class.

I propose restoring the minimum size of an estate subject to the tax from $5 million to $3.5 million, where it was in 2009. This would only impact the estates of the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. And we should make it graduated to target the biggest estates:

There are all sorts of loopholes that help the wealthiest families avoid paying estate and gift taxes. We must close each and every one of them.
Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 42-3 , Aug 29, 2017

Only the top 2/10 of 1% pay the estate tax

SANDERS: Quoting the "Wall Street Journal", October 29th, 2015: "Ted Cruz's new tax plan delivers its biggest benefits to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, adding about one-third to their after-tax income." Here is the economic reality facing America. In the last 35 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and the working class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent. We are talking about trillions of dollars. Ted's response to that is he's going to support the repeal of the estate tax, correct? You're on record in doing that.

CRUZ: Among many things.

SANDERS: Among many other breaks to billionaires.

CRUZ: I don't want to bankrupt small business owners.

SANDERS: The only people who pay the estate tax are the top two- tenths of 1 percent. It would cost us over $200 billion. And as Ted said, it goes on and on and on.

Source: CNN 2017 Town Hall debates: Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders , Feb 7, 2017

Rigged economy makes America like a Banana Republic

There is something profoundly wrong when one family--the Waltons, who founded and own Wal-mart--has more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans.

But it is not just a grotesque level of WEALTH disparity that we are experiencing. It is also horrendous inequality in terms of INCOME, the amount that we earn every year. Incredibly, in the last several years, 52 percent of all new income being generated in this country is now going to the top 1 percent.

When we were kids, we read about "Banana Republics" in Latin America and other oligarchic societies that existed in countries around the world, where a handful of families held almost all of the wealth & power. Fellow Americans, take a look around you. See what's going on in our country today. This obscene level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is unsustainable. This type of rigged and unfair economy is not what America is supposed to be about. And it's not what America used to be.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.208 , Nov 15, 2016

End corporate tax dodging by shifting profits overseas

Corporate tax reform must start by preventing profitable companies from sheltering profits in tax haven countries like the Cayman Islands. In 2015, I introduced legislation with Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois to do just that.

The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act would end the loophole that allows corporations to defer paying taxes on overseas profits. Instead, it would require corporations to pay U.S. taxes on offshore profits as they are earned. This bill would take away the tax incentives for corporations to shift profits and move jobs and factories offshore, by taxing their profits no matter where they are generated. American corporations would continue to get a credit against their U.S. tax liability for foreign taxes they pay, but they would have to pay the federal government the difference between the foreign rate and the U.S. rate.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 273 , Nov 15, 2016

Too-Big-to-Fail means taxpayers insure megabanks

To create an economy that works for all Americans and not just a handful of billionaires, we have got to address the ever-increasing size of the mega-banks. And we must end, once and for all, the scheme that is nothing more than a free insurance policy for Wall Street: the policy of "too big to fail."

We need a banking system that encourages homeownership by offering affordable mortgage products that are designed to work for both the lender and the borrower. We need a banking system that is transparent and accountable, and that adheres to the highest ethical standards as well as to the spirit and the letter of the law.

Breaking up the big banks would reduce systemic risk in our financial system. It would also mean increased competition. Oligopolies--where the market is dominated by just a few economic actors--are never good for consumers. Smaller banks are more likely to offer affordable financial products that Americans actually want and need.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 307 , Nov 15, 2016

Reform credit-rating agencies by separating from Wall Street

Leading up to the Great Recession, the three major credit agencies--Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch--would routinely give inflated AAA ratings to risky and sometimes worthless mortgage-backed securities and derivatives, even though the agencies knew the ratings were bogus. Without those AAA ratings, it is highly doubtful many investors--again, including pension funds and 401(K) administrators--would have ever bought them.

The reason these risky financial schemes were given such favorable ratings is simple: Wall Street paid for them. Rather than providing useful risk information to investors (which is the reason they exist in the first place), the credit-rating agencies were colluding with Wall Street, because that's where the money was.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 313 , Nov 15, 2016

Corporate Media threatens our democracy

As A.J. Liebling wrote: "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Today, a handful of multinational corporations own much of the media and control what the American people see, hear, and read. This is a direct threat to American democracy. It is an issue we cannot continue to ignore.

Media is not just about what is covered and how it is covered. More importantly, it is about what is NOT covered. And those decisions, of what is and is not covered, are made by human beings who often have major conflicts of interest.

As a general rule of thumb, the more important the issue is to large numbers of working people, the less interesting it is to corporate media. The less significant it is to ordinary people, the more attention the media pays. Further, issues being pushed by the top 1% get a lot of attention. Issues advocated by representatives of working families, not so much. This was, to be honest, not a new revelation to me. I had seen it for years as a congressman.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 420-421 , Nov 15, 2016

A few giant corporations own the media

Most Americans have very little understanding of the degree to which media ownership in America--what we see, hear and read--is concentrated in the hands of a few giant corporations. In fact, I suspect that when people look at the hundreds of channels they receive on their cable system, or the many hundreds of magazines they can choose from in a good bookstore, they assume that there is a wide diversity of ownership. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

In 1983 the largest fifty corporations controlled 90 percent of the media. That's a high level of concentration. Today, as a result of massive mergers and takeovers, six corporations control 90 percent of what we see, hear, and read. This is outrageous, and a real threat to our democracy.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 438 , Nov 15, 2016

Disallow stashing corporate profits overseas to avoid taxes

[At the 2016 convention preparation], we were victorious in including amendments in the platform that made it the policy of the Democratic Party to fight for: