Bernie Sanders was born in Brooklyn in 1941, his father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland who fled after World War II, his mother a New York City resident. He was raised in New York and later graduated from the University of Chicago. At the University of Chicago Bernie studied political science and was an active in many protests against segregation. His political career began in 1981 when he ran for Mayor of Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. He was elected to a total of four terms and received national awards for his work. In 1990 Sanders ran for the Vermont House of Representatives and won, becoming was the first independent in the House in 40 years. He served as representative for 16 years before becoming Senator in 2006. He is currently serving his second term as senator and is running for president.
- 1 Tax Reform
- 2 Jobs and Business Policy
- 3 Health Policy
- 4 Drug Policy
- 5 Middle East
- 6 Trade
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Environmental
- 9 Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- 10 Religion
- 11 Quotes
- 12 Sources
Prevent large corporations from shifting profits overseas to avoid paying US taxes. Increase taxes on capital gains and dividends. Close loopholes on corporate taxes. (BSWII)
- 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers
- 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.
- Progressive income tax rates.
Under this plan the marginal income tax rate would be:
37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000. 43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million. 48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million. (0.08% of population) 52 percent on income above $10 million. (.01% of the population)
- Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work
- Limit tax deductions for rich
- The Responsible Estate Tax
Creation of progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million.
"I want Wall Street now to help kids in this country go to college, public colleges and universities, free with a Wall Street speculation tax." (DD1)
"I am proud that, along with Senator Barbara Boxer, a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation which called for a tax on carbon." (DD1)
Jobs and Business Policy
- Increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2020. (BSWII)
- Favors the Employee Free Choice Act, a reform that would protect workers' rights to unionize and make it harder for management to threaten unionizing workers. (BSWLW)
- Clean Energy workforce would create 10 million jobs. (BSWCC)
- Claims that the separation of health insurance and employment allows entrepreneurs and businesses to move forward without health insurance being an issue and at lower costs. (BSWHC)
- Provide more loans for small businesses to grow (FTBBE)
- Proposes patent system reform that would ensure less stifling of innovation across industries (FTBBE)
- Visa reform to allow highly-skilled foreign workers to stay and work in the United States (FTBBE)
- "And in my view what we need to do is create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; pay equity for women workers; and our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs." (DD1)
- Too big to fail, Too big to Exist Act which would break up big banks and prohibit organizations that are too large from accessing using uninsured deposits for risky activities (BSWWS)
- Supports reinstating legislation similar to the Glass-Steagall Act. (BI)
- Tax on Wall Street Speculation that would fund tuition-free college. (BI)
- Wants to end subsidies to big business and end offshore tax havens (FTBCR)
- End subsidies to large corporations and make sure they pay the full corporate tax (FTBCR)
- "Check the record. In the 1990s — and all due respect — in the 1990s, when I had the Republican leadership and Wall Street spending billions of dollars in lobbying, when the Clinton administration, when Alan Greenspan said, "what a great idea it would be to allow these huge banks to merge," Bernie Sanders fought them, and helped lead the opposition to deregulation." (DD1)
"I want to end the international embarrassment of the United States of America being the only major country on earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right and not a privilege." - Bernie Sanders (HP)
Bernie believes in guaranteeing healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a medicare for all single-payer healthcare system. He also favors enacting universal childcare and prekindergarten policy. (BSWII)
In Bernie's system the rich pay more in order to ensure that health care is a right not a privilege. He claims we must join the rest of the modern world with universal healthcare. Statistically America spends more per person on Healthcare than any other advanced nation in the world, but ends up with less. He argues that providing universal health care is a morally principled and financially responsible decision. He will also fight to lower prescription drug policies. (BSWHC)
Sanders is also in favor of expanding the VA so that every veteran can receive the care they need, both mental and physical. (BSWV)
"We should not be the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all of our people as a right of citizenship and we should not be the only major country that does not provide medical and — and parental leave — family and parental leave to all of our families." (DD1)
"It means that we have to rethink the so-called war on drugs which has destroyed the lives of millions of people, which is why I have taken marijuana out of the Controlled Substance Act. So that it will not be a federal crime." - Bernie Sanders (DD3)
"I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the law, not one of their executives is prosecuted, while kids who smoke marijuana get a jail sentence." - Bernie Sanders (DD4)
"There is a responsibility on the part of the pharmaceutical industry and the drug companies who are producing all of these drugs and not looking at the consequence of it." -Bernie Sanders (DD4)
Bernie believes that the war on drugs has failed and instead of pursuing a path of punishment America should try to treat drug addiction. He supports medical marijuana and decriminalization of recreational marijuana. He believes that states should have the right to vote on full legalization. For hard drugs Bernie supports increased education and rehabilitation. (OTIBSD)
He also wants drug companies to take responsibility for the outcomes and uses of the drugs they bring to market, specifically opioids. (DD4)
- "I'm the former chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, and in that capacity I learned a very powerful lesson about the cost of war, and I will do everything that I can to make sure that the United States does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country. We should be putting together a coalition of Arab countries who should be leading the effort. We should be supportive, but I do not support American ground troops in Syria." (DD1)
- "I support air strikes in Syria and what the president is trying to do." (DD1)
- "I believe that the United States has the moral responsibility with Europe, with Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia to make sure that when people leave countries like Afghanistan and Syria with nothing more than the clothing on their back that, of course, we reach out." (DD2)
- "I'm running for president because I want a new foreign policy; one that takes on Isis, one that destroys ISIS, but one that does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East but rather works around a major coalition of wealthy and powerful nations supporting Muslim troops on the ground. That's the kind of coalition we need and that's the kind of coalition I will put together" (DD3)
- Bernie Sanders supports the Iran Nuclear Deal as a way to give peace a chance prevent war in the Middle East which would endanger American lives. (WPI)
- “Israel has a right to exist in security, and at the same time the Palestinians have a state of their own.” (FTBI)
- "Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs." (DD1)
- "...for forty years, the great middle class of this country has been disappearing. And in my view, what we need to create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; [enact] pay equity for women workers; [rethink] our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and university in this country tuition-free." (DD1)
- "I voted against NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China. I think they have been a disaster for the American worker. A lot of corporations that shut down here move abroad. Working people understand that after NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China we have lost millions of decent paying jobs. Since 2001, 60,000 factories in America have been shut down. We're in a race to the bottom, where our wages are going down. Is all of that attributable to trade? No. Is a lot of it? Yes. TPP was written by corporate America and the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street. That's what this trade agreement is about. I do not want American workers to competing against people in Vietnam who make 56 cents an hour for a minimum wage." (OTIBST)
- "In the House and Senate, I voted against all of these terrible trade agreements, NAFTA, CAFTA, permanent normal trades relations with China. Republicans and Democrats, they say, "oh, we'll create all these jobs by having a trade agreement with China." Well, the answer is, they were wrong, wrong, wrong. Over the years, we have lost millions of decent paying jobs. These trade agreements have forced wages down in America so the average worker in America today is working longer hours for lower wages." (OTIBST)
Reverse trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs. (BSWII)
Trade policy would focus on restoring jobs for Americans. Stop exports of oil abroad to focus on clean energy solutions at home. Against all Free-Trade agreements on the grounds that it hurts the American people and represents only the interests of corporate America.
Bernie Sanders Immigration Goals:
- Dismantle deportation programs and detention centers
- Create a way for a swift and fair legislative roadmap to citizenship for eleven million undocumented immigrants
- Broad eligibility for citizenship to all non-criminals in the US
- Establish a reasonable wait for citizenship of 5 years
- Regulate the flow of immigrants by modernizing the visa system and rewriting trade agreements
- End for profit prisons that lead to detention of immigrants
- Demilitarize the border in order to reduce costs and border deaths
- Expand support for refugees.
"The injustice in the lives of the workers was overwhelming. In fact, the situation was so bad that on the day I visited two men were indicted for human slavery. Slavery in the 21st century in the United States of America." (latintimes)
“In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism," (PF)
Bernie seeks to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels by promoting wind and solar energy and placing a tax on carbon pollution. Bernie believes in a 100% clean energy future. He wants to pursue a nuclear free clean energy policy that will decrease dependence on foreign oil, including the following:
- Ban fossil fuel lobbyists from working in the White House.
- Ban Arctic oil drilling and offshore oil drilling.
- Reduce carbon emissions in order to reduce the harmful effects of global warming on the environment.
- Ban fracking, mountaintop coal mining, and all oil or natural gas extraction from American public land.
- Increase fuel economy standards to 65 mpg by 2025.
- Clean-Energy Workforce of 10 million jobs and 100% clean energy system for electricity, heating, and transportation.
"Right now, we have an energy policy that is rigged to boost the profits of big oil companies like Exxon, BP, and Shell at the expense of average Americans. CEO’s are raking in record profits while climate change ravages our planet and our people — all because the wealthiest industry in the history of our planet has bribed politicians into complacency in the face of climate change. Enough is enough. It’s time for a political revolution that takes on the fossil fuel billionaires, accelerates our transition to clean energy, and finally puts people before the profits of polluters." - Senator Bernie Sanders (BSWCC)
"I am proud that, along with Senator Barbara Boxer, a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation which called for a tax on carbon." (DD1)
"Bottom line is, we need to be bold and decisive, we can create millions of jobs. We must, for the sake of our kids and grandchildren, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy." (DD4)
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Supporting Small Businesses: The backbone of a healthy economy is made up of small businesses on the “Main Streets” of America, not giant corporations on Wall Street. Bernie wants to make sure that small businesses have access to low-interest loans and other forms of support, so that they can thrive. He has a record of supporting legislation to help small businesses succeed. 
Entrepreneurship & Innovation: The United States has long been a world leader in entrepreneurship and innovation, which in turn are the engines that drive our economy. To continue this tradition of leadership and growth, Bernie has supported increasing access to education and training, and opposing intellectual property regimes 
Bernie also has some fascinating material on patents here: http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-small-business-and-entrepreneurship/#entrepreneurship-and-innovation
Supporting Small Businesses
- Opposes tax breaks for corporations (BSWII)
- Supports low-interest loans and other forms of support for small businesses (BSWII)
- Supports net neutrality (YT)
Patent System Reform
- The way the patent system is currently structured has the effect of stifling innovation (BSWEI)
- For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, much of research spending by private companies goes toward attempting to make drugs similar to those already patented rather than discovering new medicines and treatments
- Introduced the Medical Innovation Act in 2005 and 2007 to allow generic versions of new medications to be manufactured immediately in order to affordably satisfy demand, while introducing a prize fund to reward pharmaceutical innovations (Congress)
Quotes from the Democratic Debates
- "I think everybody is in agreement that we are a great entrepreneurial nation. We have got to encourage that. Of course, we have to support small and medium-sized businesses. But you can have all of the growth that you want and it doesn’t mean anything if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent." (DD1)
- “You would all be amazed… about the amount of information private companies and the government has in terms of the Web sites that you access, the products that you buy, where you are this very moment. And it is very clear to me that public policy has not caught up with the explosion of technology. So yes, we have to work with Silicon Valley to make sure that we do not allow ISIS to transmit information...” (DD4)
Separation of Church and State
Bernie Sanders has been a proponent of a clearly defined separation between church and state, keeping with constitutionally-grounded American political stances.
The most tangible display of this allegiance came in 2001, when Sanders voted against the Community Solutions Act. This proposal, which ultimately died in Congress, would have given the federal government the ability to provide funds to private organizations that would exercise operational practices openly influenced by religion. The most salient example of such practices lied in the hiring process, where any company receiving funding under the CSA would have, theoretically, been able to discriminate against certain candidates on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender, or religious affiliations.
More consistently, Sanders has held a firm stance against the government's expression of support for "traditional", Judeo-Christian values. In other words, Sanders is committed to keeping religion, and the moral beliefs that accompany the faith, out of public policy. This is evidenced by his voting record against the funding of schools whose curricula allow the teaching creationism (among other religiously inclined/based teachings), against government subsidies of religiously inclined organizations, against tax exemptions for churches/ other communities of worship, and against religious interest groups interference with campaigns or or legislative proceedings.
Sanders' voting record has earned him a score of 0% on the Americans United voting scale, which measures how politicians votes either maintain or butt the separation between church and state. This score indicates that he has an effectively spotless voting record in support of maintaining the separation.
A New York Jew by upbringing and culture, Sanders embraces his heritage, but keeps his personal religious beliefs relatively obscured. His views on the Israeli-Palestinian seem to be unaffected by his heritage, as he believes the United States should mediate a two-state solution, ensuring that both Palestine and Israel are given deals that would create and uphold a homeland for both parties.
Despite being a member of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), Sanders has never been exorbitantly pro-Israel. In fact, he currently has a +2 voting record from the AAI (American Arab Institute). Sanders' most notable acknowledgements of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been few and far between, and do not definitively suggest that he takes a side. After endorsing Jesse Jackson's, who is notoriously pro-Palestine, 1988 Presidential campaign, Sanders shed some light on his stance in the matter. This address, which was delivered on the heels of the first intifada's beginning, criticized Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians inhabiting Israeli-controlled settlements. Later in this address, Sanders remarked, “If the United States goes into the Middle East and demands a reasonable, a responsible, and a peaceful solution to the conflict that has gone there because of its clout because of the tremendous amounts of money that it is pouring into that region I think we can do it.” This idea has, to date, been the thesis under which Sanders directs all of his votes, policies, and rhetoric as they relate to Israel-Palestine.
More recently, Sanders voted in favor the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran Deal. This Deal, which was crafted with the idea of inhibiting Iran's access to nuclear weaponry while lifting or ameliorating the sanctions against Iran. On his campaign website, Sanders cites the Iran Deal as a necessary means of ensuring Israel's safety while concurrently avoiding another military campaign in the Middle East.
In a nutshell, Sanders' stance is neither pro-Israel nor pro-Palestine. Sanders is, for lack of a better term, pro-negotiation. Bernie firmly believes that the United States (and the rest of the world) should be more interested in having suits at a table, rather than boots on the ground.
Persecution of Christians in other Countries
Criminal Justice Reform
- "Whenever anybody in this country is killed while in police custody, it should automatically trigger a U.S. attorney general's investigation." DD4
- "People should be able to get the treatment that they need when they need it, not two months from now" DD4
- "Why it is that we pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and your medicine can be doubled tomorrow, and there’s nothing that the government can do to stop it." DD5
- "We have to make Congress respond to the needs of the people, not big money" DD4
- "I pay for it through a tax on Wall Street speculation. This country, and the middle class, bailed out Wall Street. Now, it is Wall Street's time to help the middle class." DD4
Jobs and Business Policy
- "You've got to bring back the 21st century Glass-Steagall legislation and you've got to break up these huge financial institutions." DD4
- "I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the law, not one of their executives is prosecuted, while kids who smoke marijuana get a jail sentence." DD4