Transcript: Sen. Bernie Sanders’s speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on April 12, 2014 – Part 5

Part 5 – Partial transcript of remarks by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on April 12, 2014:

Now, I think maybe the most important point that I want to make this morning is not just to talk about what’s happening to the working people of our country and to our middle class but to point out to you as strongly as I possibly can that this economic collapse is not happening to all society.

Yes, unemployment is high for working people. Yes, the middle-class is shrinking. Yes, over 40 million Americans today despite the modest successes of the Affordable Care Act continue to have no health insurance.

But there is another economic reality out there that everybody in this room and everybody in this country should also understand, and that is that today the wealthiest people in this country are doing phenomenally well and corporate America is enjoying record-breaking profits. And in fact, we are becoming a nation in which some people on the top have more money than they could ever dream time while at the same exact moment, you have working people in New Hampshire – people with jobs – flocking into food shelves trying to get some food to take them over the week for their families.

Today, the United States has by far – not even close – the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major countries on Earth. And that gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is growing wider and wider and wider.

Today, the top 1% owns over 38% of the financial wealth of America. Okay? Top 1% owns over 38% of the financial wealth of this country.

Who knows – before you ask me questions, let me ask you a question – who here knows roughly what the bottom 60% of the American people own? What’s the guess?

11%? What do I hear? 5%? What do I hear? 7%? What do I hear?

The answer is 2.3%. Okay? Let me repeat it – now, wealth is what we accumulate our entire lives. It’s not what we earned last year.

So if you took the wealth of America and you convert it into a large pizza with 100 pieces, what you’ve got is one guy getting 38 slices of pizza, and the bottom 60% sharing in 2.3 pieces of pizza.

And that gap in wealth is worse than at any time since before the Great Depression.

Today, one family – the Walton family of Wal-Mart – is worth about $148 billion. That one family owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American people.

Over the past decade, the net worth of the top 400 millionaires in this country has doubled. Got that? We’re seeing more and more millionaires and more and more billionaires and their wealth and income is exploding.

Charles and David Koch – ah, the Koch brothers. Shhh, they will hear you at the other side of town. [Laughter]

…And I’m going to talk a little bit about them later but I just wanted to mention this about – to give you an idea of what’s going on in America.

Now, the Koch brothers, they’re struggling. [Laughter] They want to be the wealthiest family in America. They haven’t made it yet. But they are doing okay.

Under that terrible Obama administration, which is destroying all initiatives and all wealth and which they hate with a passion, their wealth went up last year from $68 billion to $80 billion – $12 billion increase in wealth in 1 year.

Our other good friend, Sheldon Adelson, who owns the largest casinos in the world, mostly off the coasts of China right now – he is the eighth wealthiest person in the world. He’s a poor cousin to the other guys. He’s only worth $38 billion. But the point is his wealth just last year went up by $11.5 billion.

Now, talked a little bit about wealth. What about income? Income’s what you made last year.

In terms of income, the last information we have covers the years 2009 through 2012, and during those years, 95% of all new income went to top 1%. 95% of all new income went to the top 1%.

So you’ve got people in New Hampshire, people in Vermont, people all over this country working hard. What do they find? Well, got a 2% reduction in their pay. Or maybe their health care costs went up. All over this country, including many federal employees by the way. Today, [they] are earning less at a time when 95% of all new income went to the top 1%.

The top 25 hedge fund managers made more than $24 billion last year. Now, that $24 billion just to put it into the real world is enough money to pay the full salaries of more than 425,000 public school teachers. 24 hedge fund guys made the equivalent of 425,000 public school teachers.

Today, corporate profits are at an all-time high. CEOs of large corporations earn close to 300 times what their employees make.

Each and every year, the wealthy and large corporations avoid paying their fair share of taxes. One out of four corporations in this country pays nothing in taxes. And the wealthy and large corporations avoid paying about $100 billion because they stashed their money in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and other tax havens.

You have major corporations over the last five years – companies like General Electric, Boeing, Verizon, and others – who make billions and billions of dollars in profits managed at the end of the year to pay nothing.

So that’s the economic reality of America today. Rich doing unbelievably well. They’re able to manipulate a rigged system, tax breaks for them, sending American jobs all over the world, getting golden parachutes of tens of tens of millions of dollars when they retire.

But for the working families of this country, this is a very, very difficult moment.

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