Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont and a self-declared, unashamed socialist, has emerged as one of the key leaders of a movement breathing new life into the American far-left. He is joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) as the new champions of the middle class and taking a stand against the power of the mega-rich oligarchs who have purchased the Republican Party to act as their own personal legislators. His latest offensive takes the form of a bill to end corporate tax havens, income shelters, and end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs and companies overseas.
It’s an especially poignant message on April 15th, the deadline Americans across the country have to file their taxes, carefully outlining deductions and expenses to ensure the IRS gets their nickels and dimes. Today, the Republican Congress is voting to repeal the estate tax, saving some $297 billion for the richest 0.01% while corporations somehow get out of paying billions in income taxes; some don’t pay any at all, and some even get refunds. Standing in front of a photo of the Ugland House in the Cayman Islands, where some 18,000 companies have an address, Sanders had this to say:
“At a time when we have a $18.2 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit; at a time when many of the largest corporations in America are paying no federal income taxes; and at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high, it is past time for corporate America to pay their fair share in taxes so that we can create the millions of jobs this country needs.”
It would appear that 83 out of the top Fortune 100 companies use offshore tax havens to get around taxes. Sanders’ bill would recoup some $590 billion dollars over ten years, money that could be put to much better use than filling pockets of CEOs and shareholders. It’s just another piece of a twisted web of lies that the Republicans and their backers have woven to extract more money out of the American worker and keep the profits for themselves. The Congressional Budget Office in 2011 announced that the deregulation of businesses does not lead to job growth any more than low corporate tax rates do, and a more recent study indicated that food stamp and welfare assistance are essentially just another subsidy for corporations to avoid paying their workers a fair wage, which is then paid for by their own taxes.
It all adds up to a monstrous scam perpetrated by the rich at the expense of the American middle classes, and one can rattle off as many shocking statistics as we please, but it won’t solve anything without political action from Washington. This upcoming election is a critical juncture for the American nation; extreme conservatism got us into this mess; now it’s up to socialists like Sanders to drive us out of it, to make these issues part of the Democratic identity, to show the American people which party really cares for their well-being and livelihood. God knows the Republicans don’t.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.