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Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday on the Senate floor described how the Great Class Sratification is undermining democracy in America:

"Nobody should be talking about cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education, as many of my Republicans colleagues would like to do, while maintaining huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.

Today, the top 1 percent earns over 20 percent of all income in this country which is more than the bottom 50 percent.  In terms of the distribution of wealth, as hard as it may be to believe, the richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans. The richest people and largest corporations are doing phenomenal well, while the middle class is collapsing and poverty increases.  

This is not what democracy looks like.  This is what oligarchy and plutocracy look like."

Senator Bernie Sanders

Senate Republicans on Monday blocked legislation to make millionaires pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class families. "It is absurd that at a time when our country has a $15.6 trillion national debt and enormous unmet needs, the wealthiest people in this country have an effective tax rate that is lower than many middle-class people. It makes no sense that the richest people in America pay an effective tax rate lower than small businessmen, nurses, teachers, police officers and others," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. He cosponsored the measure named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says it is unfair that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.
Senator Bernie Sanders

This really is a minimal step toward fairness and economic growth that makes working people's lives better, but we have to start somewhere.  The good news is that 51 Democratic senators voted for it.  Of course, it now takes 60 votes to pass anything (and the Supreme Court is the backstop to protecting the wealthy).

The Bush tax cuts on the rich must expire at the end of this year.  That will be a tiny step toward bringing democracy to America.  

No more deals; no Grand Bargains.  

Sanders is right:

This is not what democracy looks like.  This is what oligarchy and plutocracy look like.

Originally posted to TomP on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by These Green Mountains.

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