Bernie Sanders – The Joe Rogan Experience

Key Takeaways (what Bernie plans to do as President)

  • Expand the U.S. Medicare offering to people as young as 35 over a 4-year period (today it’s only available to those >65)
    • On mental health: “Mental health is healthcare… we’ve got to make mental health counseling available to all people in this country when they need it at a a price they can afford. Under Medicare for all, it’d be free.”
  • Raise the minimum wage ($7.25/hour) to a living wage ($15/hour)
  • Deal with climate change
    • “The truth is Donald Trump is dead wrong. Climate change is not a hoax. It’s a very, very dangerous reality for our country and the rest of the world.”
  • Cancel all student debt and make public colleges and universities free (this would cost $2.2 trillion over a 10-year period)
    • How would he plan to get the money? – “Through a tax [less than 1/2 of 1%] on Wall Street speculation which would bring in $2.4 trillion”
      • Expanded: A tax on Wall Street speculation = a tax on every stock/bond sale (this would have an impact on speculation by causing people to cut back on high-frequency trading)
  • Implement a ban on assault weapons
  • Make marijuana federally legal

Intro

  • Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) is a 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate for the Democratic Party

Is Bernie frustrated by the time constraints of the Democratic debates?

  • “Absolutely. You shouldn’t even call it a debate. What they are is a reality TV show.”
  • “You can’t explain the complexity of American healthcare in 45 seconds. Nobody can.”
  • The short nature of the debate encourages candidates to come up with sound bites that take off with the media
  • “As a nation, we do a pretty bad job of analyzing and discussing the serious issues facing our country”
    • Other countries allot candidates a certain number of hours to utilize on TV, to be used however they wish

Healthcare Reform

  • “The truth is, if you look at the issues I campaign on, they’re not terribly radical. They exist in many countries all over the world.”
    • For example – The idea that healthcare is a human right, not a privilege, isn’t a radical idea
      • “We’re the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare as a right to all people”
        • “The function of the current healthcare system is not to provide quality care to all, it’s to make tens of billions of dollars in profit for the drug and insurance companies”
        • In Canada – healthcare is free
          • They guarantee healthcare for all and spend half what the U.S. does per capita
  • Bernie hopes to expand the U.S. Medicare offering to people as young as 35 over a 4-year period (today it’s only available to those >65)
  • The hurdle to these healthcare revolutions?
    • Over the last 20 years, the drug companies have spent $4.5 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions
      • Bernie says this doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world
    • Last year, the top 10 drug companies profited $69 billion
    • On the drug companies – “Drug companies are engaged in collusion and price fixing. The result is many can’t afford the medicine they need… We are the only country in the world that doesn’t negotiate with the drug companies. They can charge you anything they want.”
      • The cost of insulin is 10x in the U.S. compared to Canada
  • Is all this doable within 4 years?
    • Sure – Medicare was implemented within 4 years with lesser technology

Why is it possible for drug companies to lobby like this?

  • In America today, 3 people own more wealth that the bottom half
    • Over the last 20 years, the top 1% has seen a $21 trillion increase in their wealth
    • The bottom half has seen a $900 billion decline
  • “These guys have wealth, these guys have power, and they could care less about the needs of working people in this country.”
  • The bulk of the money from drug companies is being spent on “me-too drugs” (AKA modest changes in current drugs which don’t improve people’s well-being, all done to make profit)

Change Requires a Community

  • “The only way change takes place is when ordinary people come together and stand up and fight and say the status quo isn’t working. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
    • “I can’t do it alone… I can’t do it unless millions of people are working with me to tell the corporate elite that they can’t get it all.”

What would Bernie do as President?

  • Expand Medicare
    • 500k Americans every year go bankrupt because of medical bills they can’t pay
  • Raise the minimum wage ($7.25/hour) to a living wage ($15/hour)
    • The minimum wage hasn’t been raised in 10 years
    • The majority of workers at places like McDonald’s aren’t kids – they’re adults with children to feed
  • Deal with education (see below)
  • Deal with climate change
    • “The truth is Donald Trump is dead wrong. Climate change is not a hoax. It’s a very, very dangerous reality for our country and the rest of the world.”
  • How will Bernie pay for the above?
    • “By understanding that we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality. In many cases, we have the wealthy and large corporations paying nothing or very little in taxes.”

Reforming Education

  • “I worry about education today”
  • “Everybody knows the ages of 0-4 are the most important for human intellectual and emotional development… and yet we have a totally dysfunctional early childhood system”
    • Working class families can’t find affordable childcare
  • Public school teachers are underpaid
  • The student debt problem is enormous (45 million+ Americans currently have college debt)
    • There are people who are getting their social security checks garnished because they can’t afford to pay their loans
    • Even if you go bankrupt, you still owe your student loans
    • It’s not unusual for med school students to come out $300-400k in debt
    • “It’s clear now, that most people, in order to make it into the middle class, are going to need a higher education, whether college or technical training, in order to become a skilled worker. It’s insane to me to deny working class people and lower income people the opportunity to get that education because the cost of college has soared”
      • “The world has changed. A high school degree isn’t good enough anymore.”
  • Bernie’s plan: Cancel all student debt and make public colleges and universities free (this would cost $2.2 trillion over a 10-year period)
    • How would he plan to get the money? – “Through a tax [less than 1/2 of 1%] on Wall Street speculation which would bring in $2.4 trillion”
      • Expanded: A tax on Wall Street speculation = a tax on every stock/bond sale (this would have an impact on speculation by causing people to cut back on high-frequency trading)

Mass Shootings | What can be done to stop them from happening?

  • “The fact that we’ve almost come to accept this as a normal part of American life is incredible, just totally demoralizing”
  • The state of affairs:
    • There are ~400 million guns in America
      • 5-10 million of these guns are assault weapons (a military-style weapon designed to kill people)
    • On top of that, we have tons of mentally unstable people walking the streets
      • “It goes without saying we have a mental health crisis in this country”
  • Bernie’s plan:
    • “If you want to own a gun in America, we have to know you’re a stable person”
      • We HAVE to expand the background checks
    • Right, now it’s possible to buy guns in various states at gun shows without a background check – no more of this
    • “We should not be selling and distributing assault weapons in this country”
      • Bernie would implement a ban on assault weapons (which was done previously in 1994, but was reversed 10 years later)
    • To solve the mental health crisis, this goes back to Bernie’s plan for Medicare for all
      • “Mental health is healthcare… we’ve got to make mental health counseling available to all people in this country when they need it at a price they can afford. Under Medicare for all, it’d be free.”
  • What would Bernie say to the people who don’t want to give up their guns/those who argue guns can be used for protection?
    • “At the moment we’re living in, we’re all going to have to make some concessions to the reality of what’s going on”

Marijuana and Drug Laws

  • Joe has an upcoming podcast guest who wrote a book exploring how the cartels are growing marijuana illegally all over the U.S. and selling it with all sorts of horrible pesticides, all because it’s not federally legal
  • The U.S. has a broken criminal justice system – we have more people in jail than any other country
  • Bernie planes to make marijuana federally legal
    • “I’ve smoked marijuana a couple times… it didn’t do much for me”
  • Would Bernie ever decriminalize all drugs?
    • Not at this point
  • The life expectancy of Americans is dropping, largely due to the opioid crisis
  • “There are a lot of people out there who have basically given up hope and for those people, drugs are the alternative”
    • Bernie hopes that if despair is mitigated (by improving and lowering the cost of education, raising the minimum wage, etc.) the demand for illegal drugs will drop

A Focus on Distressed Communities

  • “We have to redefine what being a great nation is about. We’re not a great nation when we have 40 million people living in poverty and despair. We’re not a great nation when we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality and 87 million people can’t afford to go to a doctor.”
  • Bernie plans to focus heavily on the distressed communities around the U.S. – often they’re Latino, African American, or rural white communities
    • How? – By making sure the kids there get a quality education and that we’re creating well-paying jobs within these communities
      • “We’ve got to bring high-tech jobs, not just to Silicon Valley, but to rural America”
    • “The goal is, under a Sanders administration, not to turn our backs on distressed communities”

Is being President an impossible job?

  • “It’s not a one person job, and any person that thinks it is, is dead wrong”
  • “One person doesn’t do the job alone, and you certainly don’t do it by tweeting every other day”
  • You HAVE to be working with men and women across all walks of life who understand these issues
    • “Unlike Trump, we’ll bring together the best and most knowledgeable people in this country to address the housing crisis, to address the issue of these disease of despair…”
    • “My administration, unlike Trumps, won’t be filled with billionaires who are very often greedy”

Solving Climate Change

  • “We have to have a president who, unlike Trump, believes in science… and I do”
    • Scientists are saying we have ~12 years to transform our energy system or else there will be irreparable damage done to not only our country, but to the rest of the world”
  • Bernie’s plan:
    • Tell the fossil fuel industry their short-term profits aren’t more important than the future of the planet
    • Consciously move away from utilizing fossil fuels to using more more wind/solar energy
  • “If you ask the defense department, the C.I.A., and people all over the world what the greatest national security threat is… they’d say climate change”
  • “The president of the United States is either too stupid to understand what the scientists are telling us or he’s lying”
    • “The debate is LONG OVER… CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL… It will only get worse if we don’t act quickly to cut carbon emissions”
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