Bernie Indiana Victory Speech
Bernie Sanders Rally in Indianapolis
A Message from Indiana
Today, we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.
Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government. Oil companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, Wall Street bankers and other powerful special interests have poured money into our political system for years. In 2010, a bad situation turned worse. In a 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for corporations and the wealthy to spend unlimited and undisclosed money to buy our elected officials. The Supreme Court essentially declared that corporations have the same rights as natural-born human beings. Our democracy is under fierce attack. Billionaire families are now able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the candidates of their choice. These people own most of the economy. Now they want to own our government as well. The Koch brothers, the second wealthiest family in America, plan to spend some 0 million in the coming 2016 election, more money than either of our major parties spent in the last election. That is not democracy. That is oligarchy. To restore our one person-one vote democracy, Congress must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and move toward public funding of elections.
The real unemployment rate is much higher than the "official" figure typically reported in the newspapers. When you include workers who have given up looking for jobs, or those who are working part time when they want to work full time, the real number is much higher than official figures would suggest. It's even worse for young people. A recent study found that over 50 percent of young African-Americans and more than one-third of white and Hispanic youth are looking for full-time work. We are in the midst of an ongoing unemployment crisis, and we must take bold action to address it.
Despite major advances in civil and political rights, our country still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. Many of the achievements that have been made for women's rights in the 20th century have been under attack by the Republican party, denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work.
Despite the central role immigrants play in our economy and in our daily lives, undocumented workers are reviled by some for political gain and shunted into the shadows. It is time for this disgraceful situation to end. This country faces enormous problems and they will not be solved unless we are united. It is time to end the politics of division in this country. We cannot and we should not be talking about sweeping up millions of men, women, and children; many of whom have been here for years - and throwing them out of the country. That's wrong and that type of discussion has got to end.
I support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement that the U.S. negotiated with China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom and Iran. I support the agreement, and opposed the Republican's resolution of disapproval, as I believe this approach is the best way forward if we are to accomplish what we all want to accomplish - that is making certain that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon - an occurrence which would destabilize the region, lead to a nuclear arms race in the area, and would endanger the existence of Israel. It is my firm belief that the test of a great nation, with the most powerful military on earth, is not how many wars we can engage in, but how we can use our strength and our capabilities to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way.
When my Republican colleagues mention "family values," they're usually talking about opposition to contraception, denying a woman's right to choose, or opposition to gay rights. Real family values strengthen the bonds of family and improve the lives of our families. When it comes to these values, our country deserves better. We are the only major nation in the world that doesn't guarantee paid time off for new parents. Of 182 nations that do provide paid leave for this purpose, more than half guarantee at least 14 weeks off. We are the only one of 22 wealthy nations that does not guarantee some type of paid sick leave, and the only one that does not provide paid sick leave for a worker undergoing a 50-day cancer treatment. We are the only advanced economy, and one of only 13 nations in the entire world, that doesn't guarantee workers a paid vacation.
The United States must lead the world in tackling climate change, if we are to make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from polluting fossil fuels, and towards energy efficiency and sustainability. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, and we need to greatly accelerate technological progress in wind and solar power generation. Unless we take bold action to address climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: Where were they? Why didn't the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth, lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community told us would surely come?
Wall Street cannot continue to be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments while expecting the public to bail it out. It is time to break up the largest financial institutions in the country. The six largest financial institutions in this country today hold assets equal to about 60% of the nation?s gross domestic product. These six banks issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and over 35 percent of all mortgages. They control 95 percent of all derivatives and hold more than 40 percent of all bank deposits in the United States. We must break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Those institutions received a 0 billion bailout from the US taxpayer, and more than trillion in virtually zero interest loans from the Federal Reserve. Despite that, financial institutions made over 2 billion in profit in 2014 - the most profitable year on record, and three of the four largest financial institutions are 80 percent bigger today than they were before we bailed them out. - Our banking system must be part of the productive, job-creating productive economy. The Federal Reserve, a government entity which serves as the engine of the banking industry, must eliminate its internal conflicts of interest, provide stricter oversight, and insist that the banks its supports serve the economy in a way that works for everyone, not just a few.