Bernie Sanders on Corporations

Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)


Workers should have 45% of board seats, 20% of stock

On corporate governance, there's the same Warren-Sanders two-step. He envisions workers taking 45% of corporate board seats, compared with her 40%. His Corporate Accountability and Democracy Plan would move workers into ownership. Under the proposal, major corporations would have to transfer at least 2% of company stock to their workers every year until employees owned at least 20% of the corporate operation.
Source: The Nation magazine on 2019 Democratic primary , Nov 19, 2019

Corporate America doesn't give one damn about workers

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: For decades, we have had a trade policy that has been written by giant multi-national corporations to help giant multi-national corporations. They have no loyalty to America. They have no patriotism. If they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, they'll do it in a heartbeat. If they can continue a polluting plant by moving it to Vietnam, they'll do it in a heartbeat.

SANDERS: Elizabeth is absolutely right. If anybody here thinks that corporate America gives one damn about the average American worker, you're mistaken. If they can save five cents by going to China, Mexico, or Vietnam, or anyplace else, that's exactly what they will do. As president, let me tell you what I will do. These guys line up at the federal trough. They want military contracts. They want all kinds of contracts. Well, under my administration, you ain't going to get those contracts if you're throwing American workers out on the street.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Nothing will change if we don't have the guts to fight

Nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry. If we don't have the guts to take them on, we'll continue to have plans, we'll continue to have talk, and the rich will get richer, and everybody else will be struggling.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Democratic socialism means working for everyone, not just 1%

Q: You're defining down democratic socialism to make it more palatable to voters. It's actually a dramatic change and a transfer of economic power to the people.

Sanders: We have to break up the large financial institutions on Wall Street, who have unbelievable economic power. We have to stand up to drug companies charging us twice as much for medicine compared to other countries. We have to stand up to the insurance companies and move to Medicare-for-All. We have to stand up to the military-industrial complex where there's enormous fraud and waste. We need an economy and a government that works for all of us, not just the 1%.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2019 interview , Jun 16, 2019

Workers should have more say on what goes on in the economy

Q: Do you believe in public ownership of industries?

Q: Do I believe that workers should have more say and be sitting on the boards of large corporations? Yes, I do. Do I believe that we should break up some of the major banks on Wall Street and support credit unions & community banks? Yes, I do. You've got 6 financial institutions that have assets equivalent to 54% of the GDP. Democracy means not just voting every 2 years, it's giving working people more of a say in what goes on in the economy.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2019 interview series , Jun 16, 2019

Top 1% income inequity makes no sense

My campaign is about taking on the handful of extraordinarily wealthy and powerful people who have unbelievable power over [our] economic and political life. It makes no sense, when millions are working 2 or 3 jobs to survive, the 3 wealthiest people own more wealth than the bottom half and the top 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 92%. It makes no sense that when 100,000s cannot afford college, and millions leave school deep in debt, 46% of all new income goes to the top 1%.
Source: Speech transcript from National Action Network Convention , Apr 5, 2019

Defend farmers & consumers from corporate middlemen

Sanders, for his part, published an op-ed in the Des Moines Register [and] denounced Bayer's Monsanto buyout, adding that "when we are in the White House, we are going to strengthen antitrust laws that defend farmers from the corporate middlemen that stand between the food grower and the consumer, and have now become so big and powerful that they can squeeze farmers for everything they're worth."
Source: Mother Jones magazine on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 30, 2019

1976: Relocating businesses must pay; for public ownership

"We have got to deal with the fact that corporations do not have the right to disrupt the lives of their workers or their towns simply because they wish to move to earn a higher profit," Sanders said in a press release in August 1976. Sanders' plan would 10 years of taxes for the town.

"In the long run, the problem of the fleeing corporations must be dealt with on the national level by legislation which will bring about the public ownership of the major means of production and their conversion into worker-controlled enterprises," he said.

Source: CNN KFile, "Nationalization," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 14, 2019

Economy is great, for those who get corporate stock buybacks

In America today, we have more wealth & income inequality than almost any major country on earth and it is more unfair now than at any other time since the Gilded Age of the 1920s.
Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech , Feb 5, 2019

Americans in red OR blue states oppose enriching the top 1%

Q: You're in Kansas working to help elect progressive candidates. This is a solidly pro-Trump red state.

SANDERS: Well, I happen to believe passionately that there really is not a blue state/red state division in this country. I think there is a lot of mythology attached to that. People believe that health care is a right. People believe we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage. People do not think, as Trump does, that we should give a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent, but in fact we have got to demand that the rich start paying their fair share of taxes. So, whether you are in Kansas or the Bronx or in Vermont, we have common interests and common aspirations. And we have got to fight for an America that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Jul 22, 2018

Middle class needs tax breaks; top 1% does not

Q: Do you think that three-day federal shut down was a good strategy for fiscal responsbility?

SANDERS: Yes, I think from a moral perspective it was the right thing to do. But it's a terrible and inefficient way to run a government.

Q: The President's biggest achievement so far is that tax cuts are gaining in popularity as some of these big companies hand out $1,000 bonuses. Do you think that the public should be pleased that workers are getting another $1,000 in their pockets?

SANDERS: Well, sure, everybody should be pleased when any worker gets a raise. But what we should also understand that that tax proposal will add $1.4 trillion dollars to the deficit and at the end of ten years 84% of the tax benefits will go to the top one percent. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, billionaires and large multi-national corporations do not need tax breaks, it is the middle class and working families of this country who do.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Jan 28, 2018

45% estate tax only for estates over $3.5 million

Strengthening the estate tax is one of the fairest ways to reduce wealth inequality, while at the same time raising significant new revenues that the country needs to rebuild the middle class.

I propose restoring the minimum size of an estate subject to the tax from $5 million to $3.5 million, where it was in 2009. This would only impact the estates of the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. And we should make it graduated to target the biggest estates:

There are all sorts of loopholes that help the wealthiest families avoid paying estate and gift taxes. We must close each and every one of them.
Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 42-3 , Aug 29, 2017

Only the top 2/10 of 1% pay the estate tax

SANDERS: Quoting the "Wall Street Journal", October 29th, 2015: "Ted Cruz's new tax plan delivers its biggest benefits to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, adding about one-third to their after-tax income." Here is the economic reality facing America. In the last 35 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and the working class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent. We are talking about trillions of dollars. Ted's response to that is he's going to support the repeal of the estate tax, correct? You're on record in doing that.

CRUZ: Among many things.

SANDERS: Among many other breaks to billionaires.

CRUZ: I don't want to bankrupt small business owners.

SANDERS: The only people who pay the estate tax are the top two- tenths of 1 percent. It would cost us over $200 billion. And as Ted said, it goes on and on and on.

Source: CNN 2017 Town Hall debates: Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders , Feb 7, 2017

Rigged economy makes America like a Banana Republic

There is something profoundly wrong when one family--the Waltons, who founded and own Wal-mart--has more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans.

But it is not just a grotesque level of WEALTH disparity that we are experiencing. It is also horrendous inequality in terms of INCOME, the amount that we earn every year. Incredibly, in the last several years, 52 percent of all new income being generated in this country is now going to the top 1 percent.

When we were kids, we read about "Banana Republics" in Latin America and other oligarchic societies that existed in countries around the world, where a handful of families held almost all of the wealth & power. Fellow Americans, take a look around you. See what's going on in our country today. This obscene level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is unsustainable. This type of rigged and unfair economy is not what America is supposed to be about. And it's not what America used to be.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.208 , Nov 15, 2016

End corporate tax dodging by shifting profits overseas

Corporate tax reform must start by preventing profitable companies from sheltering profits in tax haven countries like the Cayman Islands. In 2015, I introduced legislation with Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois to do just that.

The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act would end the loophole that allows corporations to defer paying taxes on overseas profits. Instead, it would require corporations to pay U.S. taxes on offshore profits as they are earned. This bill would take away the tax incentives for corporations to shift profits and move jobs and factories offshore, by taxing their profits no matter where they are generated. American corporations would continue to get a credit against their U.S. tax liability for foreign taxes they pay, but they would have to pay the federal government the difference between the foreign rate and the U.S. rate.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 273 , Nov 15, 2016

Reform credit-rating agencies by separating from Wall Street

Leading up to the Great Recession, the three major credit agencies--Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch--would routinely give inflated AAA ratings to risky and sometimes worthless mortgage-backed securities and derivatives, even though the agencies knew the ratings were bogus. Without those AAA ratings, it is highly doubtful many investors--again, including pension funds and 401(K) administrators--would have ever bought them.

The reason these risky financial schemes were given such favorable ratings is simple: Wall Street paid for them. Rather than providing useful risk information to investors (which is the reason they exist in the first place), the credit-rating agencies were colluding with Wall Street, because that's where the money was.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 313 , Nov 15, 2016

Disallow stashing corporate profits overseas to avoid taxes

[At the 2016 convention preparation], we were victorious in including amendments in the platform that made it the policy of the Democratic Party to fight for: