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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Good to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You bet. I have taken a couple of phone calls already from
Democrats telling me that there`s no perfect deal out there. Well, we had
a decision on November 6th and I thought the distinctions between the two
campaigns were very clear.
If there`s no perfect deal out there, Senator, what would you be
willing to give up, or should I say, are you nervous about Democrats caving
in on tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans? We`ll go there first.
SANDERS: Ed, you know, we saw this movie in 2010 and 2011, and what
people don`t understand is that despite the growing income, the wealthiest
people in those agreements did not pay a nickel more in taxes and yet we
cut $900 billion in programs that the middle class and working families of
our country desperately need.
That must not happen again in 2012. As you just indicated, Mitt
Romney and the Republicans ran on a program which says, do not ask the
rich, do not ask large corporations to pay more in taxes. They lost. They
And what the Democrats must demand is that we rescind the bush tax
breaks for the wealthiest people in this country.
Furthermore, poll after poll makes it explicitly clear that the
American people do not believe we should cut Social Security, Medicare and
Medicaid. They believe that the wealthy, large corporations should start
paying their fair share of taxes.
SCHULTZ: McConnell -- OK. Go ahead. Last point?
SANDERS: Last point. Just in terms of fairness, people on top are
doing phenomenally well.
SANDERS: Last study we saw, over 90 percent of all new income went to
the top 1 percent. Median family income for the middle class is going
down. Who is better prepared to help us with deficit reduction --
struggling working people or people on top doing well?
SCHULTZ: And I think that was answered on November 6th.
Now, the proposals are going to be coming in next week. What changes
would you be willing to make to Medicare because the Republicans, you heard
Mitch McConnell, you`ve got to have entitlement reform, is what he calls it
-- entitlement reform to the Republicans is cuts. That`s what their
entitlement reform is.
Would you do anything to Medicare at all?
SANDERS: Sure. Look, Ed, what has to be understood is are we not
only the country in the industrialized world that doesn`t healthcare to all
people, a national healthcare programs. We pay by far much more per capita
for health care than does any other nation. It is a very wasteful system.
For example, in terms of Medicare, Republicans demanded as part of
Medicare part d that the Medicare could not negotiate drug prices with the
pharmaceutical industry. The V.A. does that. Why isn`t Medicare doing
Furthermore, if we can develop efficiencies that save the system
money, let`s do it. But let us not cut benefits for the elderly or for the
poor who are on Medicaid.
Finally, Senator, are you willing -- if the Republicans can`t do a
deal, are you willing to allow all of the tax cuts to go? I mean, what
will that do for the country? I mean, if the Bush tax cuts completely
expire, and you can`t strike a deal -- what`s it going to do?
SANDERS: Well, I think no deal is better than a bad deal. Next
session, we`re going to have more people, more Democrats in the Senate,
including some strong progressives.
And the first piece of legislation I expect that Harry Reid would
bring up in the Senate would be to maintain the tax breaks for the bottom
98 percent and challenge the Republicans to say no to that.
SCHULTZ: All right. Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for your time
tonight. Appreciate it so much.
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