Bernie Sanders: Well you're absolutely right; it's not just younger people, that's what a lot of people say. When people say, "Look. I am not a terrorist, and if the government wants to listen in or file my phone calls, that's not a problem," that makes me very sad. It really makes me very sad, because it's not what Freedom is about, it's not what liberty is about. You have the right to live your life, get on the phone and talk to anybody you want to, say anything you want to, without fearing that the United Sates government is listening or filing your phone call. Furthermore, you have the right to have the confidence that when you go to a website, any website, you can do that without knowing that where you have gone is in somebody's file.
And by the way, Rob: this is not just a government issue. We're focusing appropriately enough right now on government action. This is very much an issue that corporate America is involved in as well. The reality is that we are moving toward the day (and we are there to some degree already) where every doctor visit that you make, every prescription drug you get, every time a talk to lawyer - whatever it may be, virtually every kind of activity that you engage in is being filed someplace. That saddens me very, very much; that's not what this country should be about. And the Congress has been way, way, way behind in terms of legislation - not only to protect the American people from government snooping and government over-action, but the private sector as well.
Rob Kall: Now, you talk a lot about Too Big To Fail companies (TBTF). I call my show the Bottom Up Radio Show because I believe that we're in a transition from a top down to a bottom up culture and world, and I really -- I've given talks on how we need to have bottom up economics, which means you don't give any big money to any big organizations anymore - and we've got to start looking at ways of getting money from the government to the people, not to the big corporations. Do you have any thoughts about that?
Bernie Sanders: Yeah, I do. First of all, I think one of the outrages that is currently going on in the Congress is the degree that we are not focusing on the economic needs of working families. You know, the papers tell you every day, "The economy is getting better." Well yeah, it is better than it was in the midst of the financial collapse, but real unemployment today, Rob, is not 7.6%; it's over 14%, counting those people who have given up looking for work, and are working part time when they want to work full time; immediate family income has gone down by some $5,000 dollars since 1999, millions of people working longer hours for lower wages, kids leaving school deeply, deeply in debt, youth unemployment off the charts. So we've got to start focusing on how we create an economy that works well for all of the people, not just for the top 1% at a time when we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth. Those are what we've got to focus on.
Getting back to your point: what I see just in my own State of Vermont is there is a lot of focus and attention to issues like buying local. How do we support local agriculture rather than agribusiness? Supporting worker-ownership or employee stock option concepts. So in Vermont you have a number of companies which are owned [by workers], or at least workers have a significant say in what the company does and the profits being made from the company.
You're talking about more community health centers (which are Democratically controlled, by the way) where local people sit on the boards of primary healthcare centers, thoroughly qualified community health care centers. You're seeing a lot of effort to keep money locally. You're seeing a lot of effort to have people getting involved in the Democratic process, and making decisions which impact their lives not only politically, but economically as well. So I agree with you. I think Vermont may be a leader in trying to decentralize the economy, and give people power over their economic and political life.
Rob Kall: Have you looked at public banking? That's a growing movement advocating for what North Dakota has already done, and what about 40% of the nations in the world have. What do you think about that?
Bernie Sanders: I'm strongly supportive of it. North Dakota did it I think in the 1920s, not quite a new concept there.