In this clip, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders shuts down a Republican for attempting to pass off budget cuts on to working families and the poor while protecting tax cuts for the rich and subsidies for the Pentagon. Former Republican National Committee Communications Director Doug Heyes complains that “we can debate these programs and whether or not they’re necessary. But is there no waste in these programs? Isn’t there a nickel per dollar that can’t better spent somewhere else? When we have fourteen trillion dollars in debt?”
First of all, the the clear implication that the programs he’s referring to – Pell grants for students, Head Start early childhood education for low-income children, nutrition programs for pregnant women – aren’t “necessary” for the American people shows just where the priorities of the Republican Party lies. Apparently because the George W. Bush administration put two wars on the national credit card, the United States can’t afford to shell out a couple billion to take care of our most vulnerable and those in need.
Bill Maher and Bernie Sanders take turns disassembling this ridiculous proposition. With a barely concealed roll of his eyes, Maher picks up a newspaper and demands “What about defense? Let me put this in perspective. Here, in the New York Times, in B4, like buried, ‘Audit of Pentagon Finds $70 Billion In Waste.”
Sanders then steps in to deliver a classic Bern: “At a time when the middle class is disappearing and poverty is increasing, you know one thing they haven’t thought of yet? Maybe after giving hundreds of millions in dollars in tax breaks to the top 2%, maybe, maybe, start asking the richest people in this country to start paying a nickel more in their taxes so that we don’t have to cut Head Start!”
Watch it here:
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Opinion columnist and former 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.