As I travel across the country, I am constantly struck by the level of enthusiasm and engagement there is for the political process. Everywhere I go, from Portland, Maine to Phoenix, Arizona, Americans are ready to discuss the critical issues facing our country. And this Wednesday night, July 29th, over 70,000 individuals have signed up to attend organizing meetings in their communities.
It is clear to me that people are taking this primary very seriously, and as an early supporter of our campaign, you have a unique role to play in our success going forward.
In that light, I wanted to make sure that you saw our new five minute video about the issues driving our campaign.
Watch the video and make a $10 contribution to help us continue to build an organization capable of challenging the billionaire class in this campaign, and after I'm elected president.
In the meantime, let me be very blunt and tell you why I am running.
This country faces more serious problems today than at any time in modern history, and establishment politics will not successfully resolve them.
Corporate greed is rampant, and the very rich keep growing richer while everyone else grows poorer. Despite an explosion in technology and a huge increase in productivity, the middle class continues to disappear, most Americans work longer hours for lower wages, and 45 million live in poverty.
The skyrocketing level of income and wealth inequality is not only grotesque and immoral, it is economically unsustainable. It is unconscionable that 99% of all new income goes to the top 1%. It is absurd that the top one-tenth of 1% own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and that one family (the Waltons of Walmart) has more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans.
As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, the billionaire class is spending huge amounts of money to buy candidates and elections. We are now witnessing the undermining of American democracy and the rapid movement toward oligarchy where a handful of very wealthy families and their Super PACs will control our government.
The scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and is already bringing catastrophic damage to our planet. Yet, the Republican Party is prepared to reject science in order to gain campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, Big Energy companies and others who make billions on fossil fuels. If we do not act boldly on climate change, the planet we leave to our grandchildren may be uninhabitable.
The United States once led the world in terms of the percentage of our young people who had college degrees. Today, in a highly competitive global economy, we are now in 12th place. Hundreds of thousands of bright young people have given up on the dream of higher education, while millions of others leave school with oppressive debt.
Our infrastructure -- roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems, wastewater plants, levees, dams -- is crumbling, and Congress refuses to appropriate anywhere near the necessary funds to rebuild it. If we do not invest substantially in infrastructure, a bad situation will only become much worse.
Despite substantial gains, we still have a long way to go to achieve equality for minorities. Instead of investing in opportunities, we are locking people up at an incredible rate. We now have the highest incarceration rate in the entire world with over 2 million in prison and millions more on probation or parole. We have a broken immigration system that divides families and keeps millions of hard-working people in the shadows.
Most of the major Wall Street financial institutions that we bailed out because they were "too big to fail," are now bigger than they used to be. The six largest financial institutions now have assets equivalent to nearly 60% of our GDP, issue 35% of the mortgages, and oversee 65% of credit cards.
Our tax system is wildly unfair - rigged to benefit the very rich. Major corporations that earn billions in profits stash their money in tax havens and pay nothing in federal income taxes, while billionaire hedge fund managers pay a lower effective tax rate than nurses or teachers.
Despite growing poverty among seniors, almost all Republicans, and some Democrats, want to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans. They want more austerity for the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, and more tax breaks for the rich.
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