Bernie’s Plans: The Money is There

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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, right,   takes "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley on a tour of his childhood neighborhood on February 10, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. CBS NEWS
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, right, takes “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley on a tour of his childhood neighborhood on February 10, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. CBS NEWS

By David Mark Greaves

Secretary Hillary Clinton did a drive-by of three African-American churches in Brooklyn this past Sunday, where she assured the congregations that she was against gun violence, police shootings and was best buds with President Obama and the smiling pastors.

This was followed up with a town hall that wasn’t a town hall where she was assured the students that she was for a woman’s right to an abortion, equal pay and equality between men and women and the $15 per hour minimum wage.

This is what passes for outreach to the Black community and it’s insulting. Better she had been asked to explain why she keeps saying that Bernie Sanders’ plans are undoable when there is plenty of money available right now. But this is Sanders’ own fault.

When he says free college for all, everybody likes it but they know nothing is free and Sanders has to be clear on where the money will come from.

For example, Instead of free college, he could re-message it as college paid for by the Bermuda/Cayman Fund, pointing to a 2014 report, Offshore Shell Games 2014: The use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies by U.S. PIRG Ed Fund & Citizens for Tax Justice which says that multinational corporations such as Apple, Nike and Citigroup have nearly $2 trillion in “notorious tax havens” like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, avoiding “an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year.” Corporations like Apple and Google smile in your face and pick your pockets at the same time issuing corporate-righteous press releases abhorring discriminatory laws in North Carolina, while at the same time, avoiding paying their share of the cost of running this country.

He could drive home the January 2015 Democratic tax proposal introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), “Our current tax code imposes higher tax rates on income earned through hard work while providing preferential treatment to unearned financial gains and allowing billions of dollars of stock profits and other capital gains to pass tax-free to heirs of multimillion-dollar fortunes”. “Taken together,” he added, “the preferential tax treatment of certain kinds of nonwork, unearned income has contributed to a startling result: 17 percent of the major tax expenditures in the tax code flow to households with the top 1 percent of incomes. That translates into roughly $150 billion in tax breaks for the very wealthy each year.”

And then there’s the Transaction Tax on stock transfers, Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, and Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, have introduced a bill in the past for such a tax, three cents per one hundred dollars, which the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation scored as raising $352 billion over 10 years.

Just those three possible resources equal a minimum of $275 billion not being contributed to the economy each year. And when Clinton gives her go-to answer, a dog-whistle” to all to split their votes between a Democrat for President and a Republican for Congress, Sanders has to talk about the great possibility of electing a Democratic Congress, especially now that the Republican electorate has shown they have contempt for the establishment and would not be adverse to retrieving the tax money owed to the country to invest in its citizens and its infrastructure, the nation’s most important assets.

If you want to do something other than talk about being against poverty and violence, then $275 billion being put into education, health and the infrastructure repair work waiting to be done would go a long way to breaking negative cycles. And when the Secretary tries to wrap the senator in the NRA, he should note that his relationship with that organization is public knowledge, while her relationship with Goldman Sachs is not. “Let’s see the speeches” should be the response. If only because the Clinton Foundation had revenues of nearly $149 million in 2013. Maintaining that revenue requires friends and understandings that make knowing the text of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches so important. How close does the private speech come to matching the public rhetoric? Better that text come out now rather than in October against John Kasich as the Republican candidate.

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