Do we want a democracy or an oligarchy?
Yes, that’s right! Do we want a democratic government voted in by its citizens, or do we want a government dominated by the political donations of a few, the wealthy: an oligarchy? Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders addressed this question at a packed auditorium last weekend at the NH Institute of Politics at St. Anselm’s College, Manchester. While his speech was recorded by c-span, it went unreported in local media, who spent their time across town listening to the likes of US Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz seek the endorsement of wealthy donors.
Sen. Sanders addressed the greatest challenge facing American voters since the Great Depression, the disappearance of the American Middle Class. He noted a number of statistics beginning with the real unemployment figure, which is nearer 12%, not the 6.5% currently cited, as many workers have dropped out of the labor market. For youth and black, the unemployment figure is far higher. People have to work longer hours for less in wages. The USA is the only major industrialized nation that does not have guaranteed health care. An average worker today earns $5,000 less than in 1999, even when adjusted for inflation. Half of all Americans have less than $10,000 in savings. About 5.5 million young people have either dropped out of high school or have graduated and have no jobs. We have gone from a strong economy producing a variety of products with decent wages and good benefits, to what he called the Walmart economy…anti-union, low wages, minimal benefits and the disappearance of jobs into overseas factories. As for the cost of college…we now rank 15th as an educated workforce. The basic question is “Will the younger generation have a lower standard of living than their parents and grandparents?