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I Know Where I Came From. Does President Trump?

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From New York Times

My political agenda has been shaped by my family's experiences of struggling to make ends meet.

New York City: 8th Avenue, 5th Avenue, 1940's
New York City: 8th Avenue, 5th Avenue, 1940's
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My father came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 with barely a nickel in his pocket. I spent my first 18 years, before I left home for college, in a three-and-a-half-room, rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn. My mother's dream was to own her own home, but we never came close. My father's salary as a paint salesman paid for basic necessities, but never much more.

As a young man I learned the impact that lack of money had on family life. Every major household purchase was accompanied by arguments between my parents.

I remember being yelled at for going to the wrong store for groceries and paying more than I should have. I've never forgotten the incredible stress of not having much money, a reality that millions of American families experience today.

We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world and, according to President Trump, the economy is "booming." Yet most Americans have little or no savings and live paycheck to paycheck.

Today our rate of childhood poverty is among the highest of any developed country in the world, millions of workers are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, millions more owe outrageous levels of student debt, and half a million people are homeless on any given night. Over 80 million Americans have inadequate health insurance or spent part or all of last year without any insurance, and one out of five cannot afford the prescription drugs they need.

While wages in the United States have been stagnant for over 40 years, we have more income and wealth inequality than at any time since the 1920s.

Today, the wealthiest three families in the country own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people and the top 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Millions of workers earn starvation wages even as nearly half of all new income is going to the top 1 percent.

Gentrification is ravaging working-class neighborhoods, forcing many struggling Americans to spend half or more of their incomes to put a roof over their heads. The rent-controlled apartment I grew up in was small, but at least we could afford it.

I am running for president because we must defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in the modern history of our country. But, if we are to defeat Mr. Trump, we must do more than focus on his personality and reactionary policies.

We must understand that unfettered capitalism and the greed of corporate America are destroying the moral and economic fabric of this country, deepening the very anxieties that Mr. Trump appealed to in 2016. The simple truth is that big money interests are out of control, and we need a president who will stand up to them.

Wall Street, after driving the United States into the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, now makes tens of billions in profits while forcing working-class Americans to pay usurious interest rates on their credit card debt. The top 10 American drug companies, repeatedly investigated for price fixing and other potentially illegal actions, made nearly $70 billion in profits last year, even as Americans paid the most per capita among developed nations for their prescription medicine.

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Bernie Sanders is the independent U.S. Senator from Vermont. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. He is a member of the Senate's Budget, Veterans, Environment, Energy, and H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, (more...)
 

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