Sen. Bernie Sanders has such keen and brilliant insights that where ever he looks and speaks he elevates our perspectives as he does in Who are the Koch brothers and what do they want?"
Senator Sanders reminds us that with the "disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process." That's why we are suddenly hearing so much about the Koch brothers as they are spending billions of dollars to influence elections and sway our political system to the extreme right. As a point of reference Sander reminds us that in the 2012 elections President Obama and G.O.P. challengers Mitt Romney each spent approximately $1 billion each.
So what is their agenda. Sanders informs us that David Koch was the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 1980 because he thought Ronald Reagan was too liberal. The Libertarian ticket seemed so extreme, and out of touch that they only received 1% of the vote. What "amazes" Bernie Sanders is how successful the Koch brothers have been at moving that "extremist a and kooky agenda," into the mainstream of public thinking. He offers these examples:
In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage. Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.
In 1980, the platform of David Koch's Libertarian Party favored "the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs." Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Under the Ryan plan, at least 40 million people -- 1 in 8 Americans -- would lose health insurance or fail to obtain insurance by 2024. Most of them would be people with low or moderate incomes."
In 1980, the platform of David Koch's Libertarian Party called for "the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system." Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that "entitlement reform" is absolutely necessary. For some, this means major cuts in Social Security. For others who believe Social Security is unconstitutional or a Ponzi scheme this means the privatization of Social Security or abolishing this program completely for those who are under 60 years of age.
In 1980, David Koch's Libertarian Party platform stated "We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes ... We support the eventual repeal of all taxation ... As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately." Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said "would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax."
Senator Sanders warned that through an expenditure of billions of dollars, "and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party." And, they are ready to keep doing his without limited after the Citizens United decision.
They want to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, opposed minimum wages, and cut funding for federal funding of education
The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.
Thank you Senator Bernie Sanders for articulating a courageous and bold progressive vision and waving the flag to protect the real traditional American values which are far more progressive than those espoused by these regressive Koch brothers.
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