Bernie Sanders: Who is he and what does he stand for?

The former mayor of Burlington says the American people are fed up with 'politics as normal'

Andrew Buncombe
Haverhill
Wednesday 10 February 2016 15:52
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Bernie Sanders railed against inequality in Daveport
Bernie Sanders railed against inequality in Daveport

Bernie Sanders talks of a revolution.

The 74-year-old Vermont senator talks of a new a new politics and a new society. People are sick and tired of the status quo, he insists, and have given notice that they will not tolerate “things as normal”.

The vision that lies at the heart of his campaign - and which secured him a huge win over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire - is of a more just, equitable and inclusive society.

So what, precisely, are his policies?

Bernie Sanders railed against inequality in Daveport

Jobs and economy

Mr Sanders says he would invest $1 trillion to modernise America’s infrastructure over the next five years. It would be paid for by closing loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying taxes by, among other things, shifting their profits to the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens. He says the plan would create more than 13m jobs. He proposes a clean energy workforce and an investment of $5.5bn to create one million jobs for young Americans and provide job training for hundreds of thousands of others.

One study found average family income would jump by $22,000 per year and unemployment would fall to 3.8 per cent, if his policies were followed. The report, carried out by Gerald Friedman, an economics professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, found that 26m jobs would be created and poverty would drop to 6 per cent,

Taxation

“My policies will demand that the top one percent and the largest corporations in this country start paying their fair share of taxes,” he said last year. He said as president he would tax Wall St speculators.

Foreign policy

Mr Sanders says he would move America away from unilateral military action. He wants the US to build a coalition to confront Isis and insists the US must do more to help refugees from places like Syria. “We cannot be the policeman of the world,’ he said in one debate.

Immigration

Mr Sanders would dismantle “inhumane deportation programmes“ and detention centres, pave the way for a legislative roadmap to citizenship for the 11m undocumented immigrants, ensure borders remains secure while respecting local communities.

Gun control

His policy is to enforce background checks on buyers, close a loopholes that allows undocumented sales of weapons at gun shows and ban semi-automatic weapons. He also says reform of the mental health system is an essential element of improving gun safety.

Environment

Mr Sanders proposes cutting carbon pollution by 80 per cent by enforcing high taxes for polluters, removing subsidies for fossil fuels and investing heavily in clean, renewable energy.

Education

Mr Sanders proposes making tuition free at pubic colleges and universities He wants to lower student loan interest rates and ensure educational equality by proving equal access to resources.

Healtcare

The senator wants to introduce a European-style universal healthcare system. He claims that the US spends more on healthcare than any other nation and yet 29m Americans remain uninsured.

“I believe that health care in this country should be a right of all people, not a privilege,” he has told voters

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