While GOP candidates strut around, making grand declarations and sweeping generalizations about how they plan to “fix America,” Bernie Sanders has outlined a specific, step-by-step plan for actually doing it in a way that will benefit all Americans – not just the top 1%.
It will require some sacrifices from the billionaire class that has had it so good for so very long. Some of them may have to give up a summer mansion or two, or downsize their yachts, or trade in that new Lear Jet for a used turboprop plane, but some of them won’t mind – and those who do will manage to muddle through, somehow. This is because most of Sanders’ 10-step plan involves a massive overhaul of the US tax system, which is currently tilted in favor of rich, powerful people, both natural and corporate.
The first step would stop corporations from setting up domiciles in foreign countries in order to avoid paying US taxes. This alone would recover an estimated $100 billion for the US treasury. Step two would be to institute a “Robin Hood Tax” on Wall Street speculation. Those who make their fortunes gambling on “credit default swaps,” derivatives, stocks and commodities would pay a mere three cents on the dollar on every sale, but this would encourage investments in institutions and industries that actually produce tangible goods and services. This would also reduce the deficit by a whopping $352 billion over the next decade. Another $113 billion would be recovered by ending tax breaks and subsidies for the fossil fuel industries. Instituting a progressive estate tax on estates exceeding $3.5 million would bring in another $300 billion – and would affect very few people in America.
One of the most egregious aspects of the current tax code is its treatment of personal income. If you work for your money, you may pay nearly forty cents out of every dollar on April 15th, if you’re in the top tax bracket. On the other hand, if your money works for you – for example, if you live off of dividend income from investments – you pay a maximum of 23.9%. Under the Sanders Plan, taxing all income the same way would raise over half a trillion dollars over the next ten years. Finally, a Sanders Administration would eliminate the Bush tax cuts and eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes.
Beyond massive reform of the tax code, Sanders’ plan would also penalize foreign countries doing business with the US for engaging in currency manipulation, reduce the massive waste going on at the Department of Defense, and force the Medicare program to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for the lowest prices on prescription medications – which they are currently prohibited from doing under federal statute.
These are common-sense measures that are supported by virtually all of the 99% – and even a growing number of the 1%, who realize that the current system and the inequality it breeds is not in their own best interest. GOP candidates talk a good game – but Sanders is the one who actually has a workable plan based on solid facts and figures.