By Max Sullivan
Hampton Union, December 16, 2015
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON — Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders reiterated his stance on raising taxes on the nation’s top 1 percent to pay for public health care, education and a federal jobs program as he spoke to a crowd at Winnacunnet High School Tuesday night.
“When Wall Street crashed, they went begging to the middle class of this country to bail them out,” Sanders said to a packed WHS auditorium. “Now it is their turn to bail out the middle class of this country.”
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont and former mayor of Burlington, Vt., is currently leading in New Hampshire by 10 percent, according to a Dec. 9 poll from CNN and WMUR-TV. In Iowa, he’s trailing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by 9 percent, according to a poll released Monday by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg.
Sanders compared the United States to other countries, saying it was a “disgrace” that the U.S. is yet to provide universally subsidized health care, college tuition and medical and maternal leave from work. He also said he intends to not only preserve social security but expand it. He said those goals can be achieved by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
“Expanding social security, that’s expensive,” Sanders said. “We can pay for that by lifting the cap on taxable income so someone who makes a million dollars now pays the same percentage as someone who makes $50,000. You do that, you can extend social security for 50 years and increase benefits.”
Sanders also said the federal government should spend more money on improving roads, highways and other infrastructure problems across the nation. He said that would create 13 million decent wage jobs.
The senator also talked about his stances on foreign policy and national defense. He said it’s imperative the terrorist group ISIS is eliminated, but he said the U.S. can’t fight a war in the Middle East against ISIS on its own.
“In all likelihood, what ISIS wants is the United States to go to war in that region, then tell the entire Muslim world, ‘See, we are taking on the West, and you come join us,’” Sanders said. “And I think we should not fall for that.”
Sanders said the task of defeating ISIS belongs to other nations as much as it does to the U.S. He said the ISIS attack in Paris, as well as their suspected connection with a downed Russian airplane this year, shows the conflict with ISIS is a global one. He said the U.S. should lead the world in forming an international coalition consisting of countries like France, Germany, the United Kingdom and even Russia.
Sanders added that the Middle Eastern countries need to be included in the coalition to fight ISIS and work together, including those like Iran and Saudi Arabia, who are rivals in the region.
Sanders said Saudi Arabia, which has one of the largest military budget in the world, needs to send more of its troops to fight ISIS in Syria than it currently has in Yemen. He also pointed out that Qatar, a small but wealthy nation, should contribute to the fight considering they’re spending over $200 billion to bring the FIFA World Cup to their country in 2022.
“If they can spend $200 billion preparing for a World Cup, I think they should contribute heavily to destroying ISIS,” Sanders said.
Sanders’ visit to Hampton closed out a two-day swing through New Hampshire this week. He met with the Portsmouth Herald editorial board Tuesday morning before stopping at Portsmouth Book & Bar in downtown Portsmouth. He also made an appearance in Rochester at 5:30 p.m. immediately before the event at WHS.
Monday afternoon, he met with Nashua Community College students before holding a town hall in Hollis that night.