Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont has an interesting essay posted on the Hill’s Congress blog today. It outlines some of the failures of the past eight years and what will be waiting for Barack Obama when he takes office on January 20th.
The decisions that are made early on will send an important signal as to whether Obama’s campaign of “hope” and “change” will be seriously pursued and realized, or whether the power of the Big Money interests will persist — regardless of which president is in office or which party has the majority. Will a new president and a new and more Democratic Congress finally respond to the needs of the middle class and working families of our country, or will Wall Street, insurance and drug companies, the military-industrial-complex, the oil and coal companies, big media, and the other powerful special interests continue to hold sway?
Here are just a few of the issues that President Obama, the Congress and all Americans must confront:
The middle class is continuing its steep decline with unemployment soaring, and millions of people in danger of losing their homes, savings, and health insurance. The dream of a college education is fading away for many working families as college costs go up while incomes go down. This year, as a result of the economic downturn, the bailout of Wall Street, ongoing tax breaks for the very rich and the war in Iraq, our nation will have a record-breaking deficit and a huge $10.4 trillion national debt. The United States continues to have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country, and the most unequal distribution of wealth and income.
As a result of Wall Street greed, recklessness, and dishonesty, our entire financial system is in danger of collapsing. The taxpayers of this country have seen trillions of their dollars placed at risk in the largest bailout in world history.
Our incredibly inefficient health care system is disintegrating. Despite spending far more per capita than any other country, 47 million Americans have no health insurance. Even more are underinsured. And we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.