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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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For more, let`s turn to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Senator, great to have you with us tonight. You have the floor, Bernie. What is right and what is wrong about this bill?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: What`s right about the bill, it ends some subsidies that go to big farmers and corporate agriculture who really don`t need it. Clearly, what is wrong about this bill is that at a time when poverty is increasing in America and when half of the people on Food Stamps are either children or the elderly, it cuts four billion over a 10-year period.

But Ed, what I do want to tell you is our Republican friends in the House are planning on cutting not four billion over a 10-year period, but over 130 billion over a 10-year period. They are really going to war against the very poorest children and senior citizens in this country. And that`s something we cannot allow to happen.

SCHULTZ: So the House is saying that the cuts aren`t tough enough here, yet they`re willing to line the pockets of big agribusiness. And I think you can follow the money. You`re going to see people in the Senate and in the House who are advocating for this, who are recipients of big dollars from big agri- business. Or do I have that wrong?

SANDERS: No, you have it right, Ed. But what people have got to understand, this is part and parcel of the Republican vicious attack against middle income and low income people. This is not unrelated, these attacks that we`re going to see from the Republicans in massive cuts in Food Stamps, is directly related to the attacks you`re going to see on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education.

What the Republicans are about are huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in the country, huge corporate loopholes for corporations that make billions in profits. Then you go after working families, the elderly, the sick, the children and the poor. This is where we`re moving as a country if we don`t stop it. We`re moving towards and oligarchy where a few people have incredible wealth and power. And they`re going to war against millions and millions of people who are trying to hang on by their fingernails.

SCHULTZ: Where is the Tea Party on this farm bill? Why aren`t they screaming about this? This is the biggest piece of legislation financially we have seen, when you compare it to the automobile loan, you compare it to the health care bill, you compare it to the stimulus package. I mean, this is the mother load right here. And the Tea Party is silent about big agri-business getting what they want out of the Senate?

SANDERS: Well, I think you`re going to see the Tea Party very silent about tax breaks for people who don`t need it. They`re very silent about all of the subsidies that go to the oil companies and the coal companies. They`ve very silent about corporate loopholes.

Unfortunately, what you have in the Tea Party are folks who end up representing the wealthiest and most powerful people in this cannery. Ed,
I will tell you right now, we have more people living in poverty today than in any time in the modern history of this country. You have many seniors who are facing hunger. We`re seeing an increase in hunger among seniors.
We have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. It`s both immoral, to my mind, not to mention bad economic policy, to go after the weak and vulnerable at the same exact time as you`re standing up, giving huge tax breaks for the richest people in this country.

SCHULTZ: You know, this is where I have to call out some Democrats on
this. How in the world can they support the cut in Food Stamps when we
have got economic conditions for the lower tier income earners in this country, just as the number that you just stated.

I don`t get it, but it`s going to happen. It`s bought and paid for, in many respects. Senator Bernie Sanders, great to have you with us tonight. Thanks so much.

SANDERS: Good to be with you, Ed.

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