NewsNation | November 20, 2012
>> to bring in senator bernie sanders of vermont, an independent who caucuses with the democrats and he serves on the senate budget committee in congress, joint economic committee . you wrote an op-ed piece in politico saying that we must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. but you say sadly enough that's the approach virtually all republicans and certain democrats will be advocating. how is that?
>> and you just heard your media pundit tell you the same thing. look, in america today you have the most uneven distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth. you have the top 1% owning 42% of the wealth. the bottom 60% own 2.3% of the wealth. so first question is who should bear the burden? of austerity. do you really go after medicare, medicaid, social security , nutrition programs? do you really want to throw kids off of medicaid, force elderly people who are struggling to stay alive to pay more for medicare or do you ask millionaires and billionaires who have done phenomenally well, whose effective tax rate as warren buffett reminds us is quite low. second of all, i think washington and the beltway is way out of touch with the american people on this issue. thomas, every single poll that i have seen says that we should ask the wealthy to start paying their fair share . one out of four major corporations pay zero in taxes. we're losing $100 billion every year because the wealthy and large corporations stash their money in the cayman islands . do you think we should go after ordinary people who are hurting in the recession or ask the wealthiest people and around large corporations to pay their fair share ? the american people have been clear about this. this election told us something about this.
>> senator, you say in your op-ed piece that congress must address the deficit situation and the fiscal cliff in a way that is fair. what proposal do you have moving forward knowing the way that the hill works right now? what do you think could work best to do something with that front?
>> well, you see when you say knowing the way the hill works, what you're really saying knowing that the hill is dominated by campaign contributors, lobbyists and wealthy individuals. what can we accomplish? well, that's one way of looking at it, thomas. the other way of looking at it is very radical. do what the american people want. have the president go out to every -- to the red states . if you go to oklahoma or mississippi and you ask people in those states, should we continue to give tax breaks to billionaires and cut social security , medicare and medicaid , you know what will they say in the reddest of red states ? that's crazy, we shouldn't do it. in the last two budget negotiations in 2010 and 2011 democrats made huge concessions. extended bush's tax breaks for the rich, lowered the estate tax for the wealthiest people . what the democratic leadership has to make clear, this time we'll represent ordinary people , the vast majority of the people and we are going to ask for some austerity and sacrifice from our wall street friends and corporate america .
>> senator sanders , thank you.
>> good to be with you.