Nov 04, 2022
Entering the final stretch of the midterm campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders warned in a Fox News op-ed Friday that the United States is in the midst of an economic crisis caused by corporate greed--and that a Republican-controlled Congress would "make a bad situation even worse."
"During this campaign, my Republican colleagues talk a lot about inflation, and they are right to do so," Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote. "Over the last year, Americans have become sick and tired of paying outrageously high prices for food, gas, healthcare, prescription drugs, housing, and other necessities."
"While the working class struggles to put food on the table, fill up their gas tanks, and heat their homes, corporate profits are at a 70-year high."
"Unfortunately, most Republicans completely ignore the underlying causes of inflation," the Vermont senator continued, noting that a "major reason for inflation that too few people talk about" is "the unprecedented level of corporate greed that we are now seeing."
"According to a recent study, nearly 54% of the rise in inflation is directly attributable to the astronomical increase in corporate profit margins," the senator added. "In America today, while the working class struggles to put food on the table, fill up their gas tanks, and heat their homes, corporate profits are at a 70-year high."
Sanders' op-ed in the right-wing outlet came as Republicans continue to message aggressively on high inflation--falsely putting all of the blame on the Biden administration--and Democrats scramble to counter GOP attacks with blunt criticism of corporate profiteering, something Sanders and other progressives have been urging them to do for weeks with control of Congress at stake.
President Joe Biden and Democratic candidates have also highlighted Republican plans to attack Social Security and Medicare, as well as their proposal to permanently cut taxes for the rich, which would exacerbate inflation.
"You don't reduce inflation by giving tax breaks to billionaires and cutting benefits for the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor," Sanders wrote Friday. "You combat inflation by taking on corporate greed and passing a windfall profits tax. You combat inflation by taking on the power of the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the giant food companies and lowering the outrageously high costs of healthcare, prescription drugs, gas, and groceries."
Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats, has been vocally sounding the alarm about the party leadership's inadequate economic messaging ahead of the November 8 midterms, warning that a failure to push back on the GOP's inflation attacks, acknowledge the struggles of low-wage workers, and offer bold solutions to voters would be "political malpractice."
In an interview with The Guardian published Friday, Sanders said he is "very much" worried that "Democrats have not done a good enough job of reaching out to young people and working-class people and motivating them to come out and vote in this election."
The senator is currently wrapping up a five-state tour aimed at boosting voter turnout, with his final three stops coming in the battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
"People are hurting. You got 60% of our people living paycheck to paycheck, and for many workers, they are falling further behind as a result of inflation," the senator said. "Oil company profits are soaring, food company profits are soaring, drug company profits are soaring. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. The rich are getting much richer, and Democrats have got to make that message."
"The truth is that about half of inflationary cost increases are a result of corporate greed," Sanders added. "So if people can't afford to fill up their gas tanks, if they can't afford food, if they can't afford their prescription drugs--what Democrats should be explaining to them is why that is so."
Sanders is hardly alone in warning that Democrats have been too slow to adjust their economic messaging on inflation, which has polled as voters' most pressing concern.
In a column on Thursday, The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson lamented that Biden's endorsement of an overwhelmingly popular windfall profits tax if oil companies refuse to bring down prices came "eight days before the election, and well after millions of Americans had already cast their ballots."
"In the closing weeks of the campaign, Democrats are finally recasting their messaging to the price of gas, the price of drugs, the Republicans' threats to Social Security and Medicare, and the like," Meyerson wrote. "Perhaps this will work. My fear, however, is that it may well be TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LATE."
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