On September 30th, just two days away, all Senate candidates will file detailed financial reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). These reports are important because they provide public information as to the state of campaigns. They will reveal the amount of funds each candidate raises, spends, and how much "cash-on-hand' is in the bank. A good FEC report will provide a significant boost for our campaign. The positive press it generates helps increase fundraising efforts, builds momentum and lets our opponents know that we will be fully prepared for whatever they throw at us.
The absurd Citizens United Supreme Court decision has rewritten the rules of campaign finance and dramatically altered politics in America. With that decision, corporations and billionaires can spend as much as they want on a political campaign without any disclosure. As perhaps the most progressive member of the Senate, and as the longest serving Independent in American history, a weak report could make me vulnerable to an aggressive effort on the part of the National Republican Party, the Tea Party and numerous out-of-state special interests. The Big Money interests -- - Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the oil and coal companies, the military-industrial complex -- are all chomping at the bit to take me down. My loss would be a huge trophy for the right wing. We must not let that happen. Please support my re-election campaign today.
Right now, as you know, the U.S. House of Representatives is dominated by right-wing extremists who are intent on destroying virtually every program that benefits working families -- a record of social progress we struggled to establish over the last 80 years. While the Republicans give huge tax breaks to the rich and large corporations, they want to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. While they support larger and larger military budgets, they want to eviscerate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and destroy the ability of public sector union workers to negotiate their contracts.
While the rich get richer and the middle class collapses, right-wing Republicans want to continue their efforts to take from those who are in desperate need, and give to those who are already extremely wealthy. Today in America, the top 400 individuals now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans, and the top one percent earns more income than the bottom 50 percent. But for the right-wing extremists and their corporate backers, that is still not enough. They want more, more, and more. Their greed has no end.
I voted against the deficit reduction bill that Congress passed in mid-summer. The reason is simple. In my view, it is grotesquely immoral and bad economic policy to move toward a balanced budget by cutting desperately needed programs for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, while not asking millionaires and billionaires to contribute one nickel toward deficit reduction. It is wrong to put Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block and not end the tax breaks that enable large corporations and the rich to avoid hundreds of billions of dollars a year in taxes through specially crafted loop-holes and tax breaks.
Further, it's time we moved aggressively to address the major crisis of our time -- massive unemployment and the decline of our middle class. Today, real unemployment (counting those who have given up looking for work and those working part-time when they want to work full time) is over 16 percent: 25 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. In my view, the time is now to pass a major jobs bill which will put millions of our fellow Americans back to work.
In order to accomplish that goal we need to invest tens of billions in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; we need to transform our energy system away from foreign oil and fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy; and we need major revisions in our trade policies so that corporate America starts reinvesting in this country, and not low-wage countries abroad.
As Vermont's Senator, I am playing a leading role in fighting for the needs of working families and the middle class. I have stood up to Wall Street and the Fed, the insurance and drug companies, the oil and coal industry and the military-industrial complex.
With your help in the next few days we can get our campaign off to the strongest start possible. Many of you were a big part of my successful campaign for the United States Senate in 2006, and I thank you very much for your help in getting me elected. Some of you are new supporters and I very much look forward to working with you. Together, we will be successful in stopping right-wing extremism and moving this country forward in a way that works for all the people, not just the powerful few.