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Sen. Bernie Sanders: Why He Opposes the Nussle Appointment as OMB Director

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Mr. President, let me begin by saying what could come as a surprise to some of my colleagues. Personally, I like Jim Nussle. We came to Washington together and I worked with him for 16 years in the House of Representatives. He's smart. He is passionate.

Now, some of my colleagues may say ask, well if you like Mr. Nussle, and you believe that he is smart and passionate, why are you so opposed to his nomination?

That is a very fair question. Let me give you an answer.

Mr. President, my strong opposition to Jim Nussle becoming Director of the Office of Management and Budget has much less to do with Mr. Nussle and much more to do with the current failed trickle-down economic policies of the Bush Administration. The problem is that the president and his advisors have become increasingly isolated and out of touch with the economic realities facing ordinary Americans. While the middle class continues to shrink, poverty is increasing, the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider, and millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, President Bush continues to tell the American people how great the economy is doing.

Year after year after year, the President, Members of his Administration and his advisors, have sounded like a broken record on the economy. They have told the American people over and over again that the economy is "strong and getting stronger,"- the economy is "thriving,"- the economy is "robust,"- the economy is "vibrant."- The economy is "solid,"- the economy is "booming,"- the economy is "powerful,"- the economy is "fantastic,"- the economy is "amazing,"- and the economy is just "marvelous,"-

Mr. President, how can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "robust"- when nearly five million Americans have slipped into poverty since 2000, including over one million children?

How can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "vibrant"- when median income for working-age families has declined by about $2,400 since 2000?

How can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "strong and getting stronger"- when the personal savings rate has been below zero for eight consecutive quarters, something that hasn't happened since the Great Depression?

How can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "healthy"- when 8.6 million Americans have lost their health insurance since 2000, and a record-breaking 47 million Americans are uninsured with millions more under-insured?

How can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "thriving"- when 35 million Americans in our country, the richest country in the history of the world, struggled to put food on the table last year and the number of the hungriest Americans keeps going up?

How can the President and his advisors claim that our economy is "booming"- when college students are graduating, on average, with about $20,000 in debt and some 400,000 qualified high school students don't go to college in the first place because they can't afford it?

How can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "fantastic"- when home foreclosures are now the highest on record, turning the American dream of home-ownership into the American nightmare for millions of Americans?

How can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "powerful"- when the number of working families paying more than half of their limited incomes on housing has increased by 72% since 1997?

How can the President and his economic advisors claim that our economy is "the envy of the world"- when the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty, the highest infant mortality rate, the highest overall poverty rate, the largest gap between the rich and the poor, and the only country not to have a national health insurance program of any major industrialized nation on earth?

How can the President and his advisors claim that the economy is "amazing"- when we have lost over three million decent-paying manufacturing jobs since 2000, mainly due to our record-breaking $765 billion trade deficit?

How can the President and his economic advisors claim that our economy is just "marvelous"- when 3 million American workers have lost their pensions since 2000, and about half of private sector American workers have no pension coverage whatsoever?

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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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