SOURCE: Raw Story
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans a legislative push for the breakup of Wall Street’s largest banks and lifting the cap on contributions to Social Security.
“If Congress cannot regulate Wall Street, there is just one alternative,” said Sanders in a speech Saturday. “It is time to break these too-big-to-fail banks up so that they can never again destroy the jobs, homes, and life savings of the American people.”
Sanders, who has signaled he may run for president in 2016 to offer a true progressive alternative, said he would introduce legislation at the start of next congressional session to break up the largest investment banks.
“If a financial institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist,” he said.
He made the remarks during a debate on a controversial spending bill that contains provisions written by Citigroup lobbyists to weaken Dodd-Frank oversight of banking.
“If Wall Street lobbyists can literally write a provision into law that will allow too-big-to-fail banks to make the same risky bets that nearly destroyed our economy just a few years ago, it should be obvious to all that their incredible economic and political power is a huge danger to our economy and our way of life,” Sanders said.
Sanders also said he would introduce legislation intended to strengthen Social Security to lift a growing number of American seniors above the poverty level.
“The best way to expand Social Security is to ask the wealthiest people in our country to pay more into the system by scrapping the cap on income that is subject to the Social Security payroll tax,” he said.
Sanders said current rules allow a billionaire to pay the same amount into Social Security as a person who earns $117,000 a year.
“This is regressive, this is unfair, this is absurd,” the senator said. “If we lifted this cap and applied the Social Security payroll tax to income above $250,000 — not $117,000, but $250,000 a year, we could not only extend the solvency of Social Security for decades to come, which is what we want to do, but we could also provide the resources necessary to expand Social Security benefits. That is exactly what we should be doing, and that in fact is what the American people want us to do.”
A poll conducted in August found that 90 percent of Democratic voters supported lifting the cap, the senator said, along with 73 percent of independent voters and 73 percent of Republican voters.
“Sadly, despite this overwhelming support for expanding Social Security, the CEOs at the Business Roundtable — the organization representing the largest corporations in America — came out with a plan last year which does exactly what the American people do not want to do,” Sanders said. “The American people want to expand Social Security and the Business Roundtable came out with a plan that would increase the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 70 and severely cut the COLA of senior citizens and disabled veterans.”
Watch his speech before the U.S. Senate posted online by Bernie Sanders:
- Below find the names of top Canadian union leaders who have signed on to the international campaign “Together for the Holidays” for justice and for the release of the three of the Cuban Five still imprisoned.
The following are the names from labour unions who have added their names to a letter to President Obama:
* Paul Moist, President, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
* Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers National Director for Canada (USW)
* Paul R. Meinema, National President, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
* Patrick (Sid) Ryan, President, Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)
* James Clancy, National President, National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
* Marie Clarke Walker, Executive Vice President, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
• Hassan Yussuff, President, Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) (see his letter attached)
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
In the last few weeks, the New York Times published a series of editorials and
opinions asking your administration to change its policy toward Cuba. The
centerpiece of this request involves the case of three Cuban men who have
been in U.S. prisons since 1998.
Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero are part of the
internationally known “Cuban Five” who came to the United States to monitor
the activities of certain groups of Cuban exiles who were responsible for acts of
violence, resulting in the immeasurable suffering of many Cuban families.
Unarmed, the altruistic mission of the Five aimed to save lives and prevent
additional criminal acts against their people, and also against U.S. citizens.
General James Clapper, the current National Director of Intelligence, testified
at their trial that the Five did not damage, nor did they endanger U.S. National
Security. Two of them, René González and González Fernando Llort have
returned to Cuba after serving their entire sentences and the three others
remain in prison to this day.
In the 16 years that have passed since the sentencing, many well-known
personalities, including 10 Nobel Laureates, jurists, intellectuals, artists, trade
union and religious leaders, parliamentarians, governments, human rights
organizations and U.S. elected officials have repeated their calls for the freedom
of these prisoners. Major international bodies such as the UN Working Group
on Arbitrary Detention and Amnesty International have also chimed in with
Former President Jimmy Carter expressed in 2011: “I believe that the detention
of the Cuban Five makes no sense, there have been doubts expressed in U.S.
courts and by human rights organizations around the world. They have now
been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be freed to
return to their homes.”
President Obama, 16 years of this unjust imprisonment is unconscionable.
We have added our voice to those throughout the world who are asking you to
resolve this issue without further delay.
In the spirit of the holiday season, we implore you to use your constitutional
powers to free the three remaining Cuban men and to enable them to join their
loved ones by this New Year; a moving gesture that only a caring President of
the United States can deliver.
Whilst improving the relations between the United States and Cuba, such a
gesture would also enrich the lives of the mothers, wives and children who are
waiting for them.
2841 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1V 8X7 2841, promenade Riverside, Ottawa (Ontario) K1V 8X7
Tel.: 613-521-3400 Fax: 613-521-4655 www.canadianlabour.ca
Tél. : 613-521-3400 Téléc. : 613-521-4655 www.congresdutravail.ca
- Dear Friends,
We are announcing a new campaign, “Together for the Holidays,” on behalf of the three remaining members of the Cuban Five still imprisoned in the United States.
Our aim is to urge the president to release them so that they can be home with their families for the Holiday season and the New Year.
We are asking each committee in support of the Five, in their respective countries, to contact personalities who have joined the cause of the Five during these 16 years and ask them to add their names to the enclosed letter.
The letter will be sent to Obama before the Holidays so there is some urgency. The purpose of the campaign is to bring the issue of the Five at a particular time when there is awareness and discussion about the case. There are many new voices asking Obama for their freedom and a fundamental change of policy towards Cuba.
The holidays provide us with a perfect opportunity to push Obama towards a turning point of the struggle for their freedom. We asking you to gather the names of the personalities as soon as possible and begin to send them to the following addresses:
For Spanish-speaking countries: <firstname.lastname@example.org> ;
For the rest of the world: <email@example.com> ;
We only need the names of the personalities, with a brief description of who they are, and the country where they are from.
Time is vital and we must act quickly. Please send us the names of the personalities no later than December 20. We only have a little more than one month to achieve our common goal. Together we can do it.
Katrien Demuynck, Coordinator of the European Campaign of Solidarity with Cuba
Alicia Jrapko and Graciela Ramírez, International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
Estamos anunciando una nueva campaña por nuestros tres hermanos presos: “Juntos en Navidad”*, Juntos con sus amadas familias, Juntos en Cuba con su heroico pueblo.
Se trata de que cada comité en sus respectivos países, contacte a las personalidades que se han sumado a la causa de los Cinco durante estos años y siguen sumándose día a día y les pidan su firma a la carta que les adjuntamos.
Esta es la carta que recibirá el Presidente Obama con las firmas de dichas personalidades y es la que ustedes deben compartir con las personalidades que contacten para que estén de acuerdo en sumar sus nombres.
El objetivo de la campaña es incidir en una fecha de especial sensibilidad y un momento crucial de nuestra causa, donde muchas más voces le están pidiendo a Obama un cambio de política hacia Cuba y la libertad de los tres Patriotas cubanos.
Les pedimos que a la mayor brevedad posible consigan las adhesiones de las personalidades y comiencen a enviarlas a la siguiente dirección:
Para los países de habla hispana: <firstname.lastname@example.org> ;
Para el resto del mundo: <email@example.com> ;
Sólo necesitamos los nombres de las personalidades con una pequeña descripción y el país Ejemplo: Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Premio Nobel de la Paz, Argentina *
El tiempo es vital, debemos actuar con rapidez. Por favor envíennos las adhesiones antes del 20 de diciembre. Solo tenemos un poco más de un mes para lograr nuestro objetivo común.*
Katrien Demuynck, Coordinadora de la Campaña Europea de Solidaridad con Cuba
Alicia Jrapko y Graciela Ramírez, Comité Internacional por la Libertad de los 5 Cubanos