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'What We Need Is A Political Revolution': Sanders, Warren Face Off With Moderate Democrats In Detroit

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'What We Need Is A Political Revolution': Sanders, Warren Face Off With Moderate Democrats In Detroit

Policy matters with ramifications for the financial markets — including health care, taxes, tariffs and climate change — were front and center during the first of two days of debates between 2020 Democratic presidential candidates hosted by CNN in Detroit.

Progressive senators and front-runners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and eight others took the stage Tuesday at the Fox Theatre.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris are among the candidates debating Wednesday.

While the fissures between progressive and moderate Democrats were clear Tuesday on issues such as health care and student debt relief, several of the candidates reminded the audience of the larger battle ahead for the party’s eventual nominee.

“Let’s get real,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. “Tonight, we debate, but ultimately we must beat Donald Trump.”

Health Care 

Medical bills cause 500,000 bankruptcies annually in the U.S., while in Canada, health care is guaranteed as “a human right,” Sanders said. 

“If you want stability in the health care system,” he said, “the answer is to get rid of the profiteering of the drug companies and the insurance companies with Medicare for all.”

Warren also supports Medicare for all.

“The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and paying out as little as possible in coverage,” she said.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock called the plan “an example of wish list economics.”

It took decades to reach the point of passing the Affordable Care Act, he said: “let’s build on it.”

Author Marianne Williamson said she’s concerned about how Republicans will react to a Medicare expansion.

“I have concerns that it would make it harder to win [and] harder to govern.”

It’s time to stop worrying about what Republicans will say, said South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“It is true that if we embrace a far-left agenda, they’re going to say we’re a bunch of crazy Socialists,” he said.

“If we embrace a conservative agenda, they’re going to say we’re a bunch of crazy Socialists.”

Tariffs 

U.S. Rep Tim Ryan said Trump is “on to something” with his trade policy toward China, adding that “some targeted response” is needed.

“Some of them are effective, but he’s bungled the whole thing, obviously.”

The U.S. should outcompete China and focus on manufacturing the products needed to tackle climate change, such as electric vehicles, batteries, charging stations and solar panels, Ryan said.

“We’re going to make 10 million electric vehicles somewhere in the world in the next 10 years.”

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke called Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods “a huge mistake” that represent a massive tax increase on American consumers.

Trade wars, said former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, “are for losers.”

The tariffs amount to $800 to $1,200 per household, while the wealthy have seen a tax cut at the same time under Trump, he said.

“He’s transferring back tax obligations to the middle class. That’s what’s outrageous.”

Shifting to U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico, Warren said one of the takeaways from the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Act has been overlooked.

“It’s to help pharmaceutical companies get longer periods of exclusivity so they can charge Americans, Canadians and Mexicans more money and make more profits.”

Taxes 

If the top one-tenth of 1% of American wealth were taxed, the U.S. could pay for universal childcare and pre-K, raise the wages of childcare workers and preschool teachers and cancel 95% of student loan debt, Warren said.

Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney said wealthy Americans should pay more taxes, but advocated for a different strategy than Warren’s.

“The real solution is to raise the capital gains rate,” the Maryland politician said, adding that the Trump tax cuts should be rolled back.

“There is no reason people who invest for a living should pay less than people who work for a living. That’s ridiculous. It’s the biggest loophole in our tax code.”

America faces a “massive level” of income and wealth inequality, Sanders said.

“What we need is a political revolution that tells these billionaires in corporate America that they are Americans, they participate in our society, but they have got to start paying their fair share of taxes, period.”

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Presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts debate on Tuesday, July 30 at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. Photo courtesy of CNN. 

 

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