National Press Club

Sanders outlines seven-step plan for ending federal deficits at NPC newsmaker

December 5, 2012 | By Audrey Hoffer | audrey@ahoffer.net

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) discusses ongoing budget negotiations, the so-called fiscal cliff and the need to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from potential cuts at a National Press Club Newsmaker, December 5, 2012.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) discusses ongoing budget negotiations, the so-called fiscal cliff and the need to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from potential cuts at a National Press Club Newsmaker, December 5, 2012.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

With the gap between rich and poor growing, Congress must adopt a seven-step plan for fixing federal deficits that won't hurt the middle class, Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, said at a National Press Club Newsmaker.

“The question is whether the President and the Democrats will finally stand firm and do what the American people want them to do,” Sanders told a group of print, wire and broadcast reporters Dec. 5.

Congress must recognize President Obama has already signed into law more than $1.1 trillion in spending cuts, pass the President’s plan to increase taxes on the top two percent of the rich by $1.6 trillion, and eliminate corporate tax loopholes to raise another $580 billion, Sanders said.

Lawmakers should also ends tax breaks and subsidies to corporate oil, gas and coal companies to raise $113 billion, reduce defense spending by an additional $500 billion, improve Medicare efficiency and cut prescription drug costs for savings of $200 billion, and end the Afghanistan war and Iraq military operations to save $800 billion.

“Taking these steps will reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion and provide an additional $700 billion to invest in the jobs we need for the 21st century,” Sanders said.

Congress is not engaged in constructive financial analysis, Sanders said, but rather in an endless political debate. Sixty percent of Americans support raising taxes on income over $250,000 according to an ABC News/Washington Post survey cited by Sanders.

Seventy-seven percent do not want to cut Social Security; 79 percent do not want to reduce Medicare; and 63 percent do not want to cut Medicaid, according to a National Journal and United Technologies poll.

“The US has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider,” Sanders said.

“I take great offense that Lloyd Blankfein, head of Goldman Sachs, comes to Washington to lecture us about deficit reduction,” said Sanders, “to tell us that we need cuts in Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.”