Sen. Bernie Sanders

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A new economic stimulus package may be in the works, the car industry is looking for government help, and questions are being asked about why the current bailout package hasn’t steadied the markets. All of these issues pass across the desk of Senator Bernie Sanders – he’s Bob Kinzel’s guest on Vermont Edition. We’ll also learn how he see the Obama administration shaping up with new cabinet appointments being revealed with each passing day. Also on the program, news analysis with VPR’s John Dillon and we’ll listen back to some of the voices in the week’s news.


Listener comments and questions:


Anyone who raises teenagers and has had to say "no" in order to stop improper behavior knows that the only way to handle the auto makers is to gird our fortitude and say "no".  They have pursued dangerous and wasteful policy for too long. Supporting them financially will only continue to support their dangerous and wasteful policy. Yes, this is going to be painful. But if we are going to move to the new industries and systems we need, such as the ones Bernie has mentioned, we have to give up the old ones that simply do not work. Detroit is one that simply doesn’t work. There is no evidence that it will suddenly change
it’s spots if we bail them out.

Anthony in Montreal:

I wanted to thank Senator Bernie Sanders for his undying credibility and keeping the focus above any bipartisanship when dealing in an honest way with this very serious and expanding "global economic disaster". We in Canada are tied at the hip with many of the bailout policies that Congress is currently looking at (ie: auto industry, financial service industry, etc.). I hope that Bernie never stops to raise issues that he feels are unfair to the average American citizen. For the moment I do not see how bailouts to corporations who export jobs could be good to the US, to Vermont and to its close allies.

Brad in Northfield:

Senator Sanders is rightly critical of the management of the American automobile companies.  What does he think of the management of Congress, which approved legislation in 1999 that authorized the loosening of standards that made the current financial crisis possible and also authorized the resolution that allowed the Bush administration to launch a massively destructive war in Iraq?

Management of the automobile companies has failed in its obligation
to manage in the interest of stockholders and the long term interests of
the nation and the world.  The Congress has failed in its direct
responsibility to the people of the United States who elected it.  There
needs to be more recognition that Congress is responsible to the people
and not just for perpetuation of itself in office. 

Ted in Richford:

Missing point: the most "American content" sedan is the Toyota Avalon, second is the Toyota Camry. Who cares if the ‘fat cats’ at the top are Americans or from Japan? Toyota is
employing Americans and using more American content. Let the Big Three learn a lesson! If you want to support your fellow working American, buy a Toyota!

Russ in Sheldon:

I would like Sen. Sanders to comment on his failed initiative to enact a windfall tax on the top one percent.  They currently pay 33 percent of the income tax, yet make 15 percent of the money, according to census data from 2000. Isn’t this enough? And won’t relying on this more force the government’s spending hands into a tight spot as they are being hit by the recession
just as much as the rest of us?

Paul in Sharon:

What about a re-incarnation of the Civilian Conservation Corps focused on energy conservation, alternative energy, and cleaning up the lake environment? Vermont has an outstanding example in the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. Couldn’t we expand this to benefit low income with high energy bills and put young adults (18-25) to work and ready to join the green economy?

Ted in Burlington:

Although this is beginning to get ridiculous and is in no way the classic bottom-up socialism as it is described, I see this as hypocrisy. My question is if the Big Three do get the money why not tell them in exchange they need to axe their C-Class top five executives and any and all that are attached to the SUV-centric model? Also what about putting some blame on those that fueled this SUV/Hummer explosion? That is, the consumer who has for long loved such vehicles?
It isn’t all the Big Three’s fault.

Jeremy in Burlington:

May I make the suggestion that we do bail-out the Big Three but with enough strings attached to make them dance like marionettes? My proposition is that they can only use the money for fossil-free technology. I personally know two inventors (just in Vermont) that have developed combustion engines that run on water, and they both sold their patents to one of the Big Three…. It’s clearly not a question of cost, as automakers so often claim. They’ve spent thousands of times the cash buying great patents from unwitting inventors as they would spend to actually design and produce most of the designs.  Sure, when they talk about "hydrogen fuel-cell technology" they make it sound like some space-aged mind-blow. In reality, however, high school students have been splitting water for much longer than I’ve been alive…. But what better way to ring in a new era of technological consciousness than to have the same hege-mongers that have been suppressing it for so long use their same means of production
to create it?

Hank in Morrisville:

I am wondering if you would consider diversifying the bailout by giving four million
people in foreclosure $10,000 to renegotiate a fixed rate on their mortgages with the banks. What has been done does not seem to work with the trickle down effect. Why not try the trickle up effect? This is only 5.67 percent of the bailout. Face it, it is the banks who provided a bad


Why is it that Bernie always belittles the "little man" as being too ignorant to firgure out the disadvantages of smoking, gas guzzlers, etc.  It is always the burden of more government, which has not done exceptionally well in regulating with what it already has at its fingertips. Government knew the risks of the mortgage fiasco and Congress oversight chose to move forward. Barney Frank & Co. were advised that it was getting unwieldy, now Congress is suggesting more controls.

The facts are that most of Congress is in the sack with special interests and they are, for the most part, millionaires. They have a good pension, healthcare package, salary and many perks. It is no different with state legislators and government.

Maybe we need to be assessing how lengthy tenures in Congress fail everyone by forcing those seeking re-election to join hands with special interests to the disadvantage of the common folk. Silver-haired statesmen should step aside for new hope and change, like Obama, and he should be reminded of the dangers of recruiting leftovers from the Clinton administration. We need new ideas from unfettered representatives willing to stand on principle and [who are] not hamstrung by special interests.

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