Replay: Live Chat with Senator Bernie Sanders

  • submit to reddit

Senator Bernie Sanders, the longest serving Congressional independent in American history and a self-described democratic socialist, joined us on Tuesday, Sept. 11 for a half-hour live chat here at BillMoyers.com.

Replay the chat by pushing play in the window below. You can also watch Sanders’s conversation with Bill Moyers or shorter clips that include his take on money in politics and his assessment of charges that President Obama is a socialist.

  • submit to reddit

BillMoyers.com encourages conversation and debate around issues, events and ideas related to content on Moyers & Company and the BillMoyers.com website.

  • The editorial staff reserves the right to take down comments it deems inappropriate.
  • Profanity, personal attacks, hate speech, off-topic posts, advertisements and spam will not be tolerated.
  • Do not intentionally make false or misleading statements, impersonate someone else, break the law, or condone or encourage unlawful activity.

If your comments consistently or intentionally make this community a less civil and enjoyable place to be, you and your comments will be excluded from it.

We need your help with this. If you feel a post is not in line with the comment policy, please flag it so that we can take a look. Comments and questions about our policy are welcome. Please send an email to feedback@billmoyers.com

Find out more about BillMoyers.com's privacy policy and terms of service.

  • Joan Mortenson

    Since Bernie spoke so eloquently about the inequality in our country, I would suggest that you have on your program Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett who wrote THE SPIRIT LEVEL about just that subject and the way that countries that are more equal benefit.

  • Jam

    Would like to ask Senator Sanders about American Imperialism and our bloated military – our very militaristic stance. Our over 800 known military bases all over the world. Our drone attacks in different nations killing mostly civilians. Our war mongering with Iran and on and on. How can we change the present mind set and consciousness re: our very violent ways including the lack of real gun regulation in our own country?

  • Anonymous

    Bernie is my hero! Please move to Kentucky. We need you! My question is how do we achieve at least a partial Paradigm Shift of our Economy where we all pay with our time (the great equalizer) for basic benefits; health, education, minimal food, and minimal housing. Someone on welfare would pay by volunteering so many hours per month. A wealthy person would pay by the hour based on their own wages or income. For example, assume it “costs” 40 hours/month to provide for the basic benefits mentioned above. A person earning $10/hour would pay $400/month, while a person earning $250/hour would pay $10,000/month and the person on welfare would do 40 hours of volunteer work as their “cost”. Could perhaps allow a mixture of the two (money and volunteer work) for the employed to satisfy their requirement. Something has got to change in a drastic way here.

    Thanks, Charles A. Bowsher

  • Anonymous

    Dear Bernie,
    Why in opposing Citizens United has no one pointed out the most obvious flaw in the Supreme Courts reasoning. The truly fatal flaw is that corporations are already represented in our electoral process by their owners/shareholders, their employees, and their customers. Each of those stakeholders makes their voting decisions with not only a singular corporation in mind (maybe not foremost), but with all the corps that concern them in mind. If you can’t legally enter a polling booth and vote, you should have no part in funding our elections.

  • Anonymous

    What shape will US politics take, and to what extent will it be party politics, as the nation absorbs the fact of the incipient replacement of the Jewish state by a secular democracy in Palestine? Given, for example, that the Presidential race features two Israel-lobby candidates battling out in “individual combat” the supposed choice between a “Greater Israel” and a “two state solution”, neither of which makes any sense morally or legally–which is to say, practically?

  • Gloria from NJ

    How can we get the PResident to honor his committment to keeping GMO’s from our food supply without labeling the affected foods???

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.caracciolo.98 Tom Caracciolo

    I am 78 years old and from when I was only four years old I remember my father saying “Money talks”! However, now that I am a mature and well educated and much experienced adult, I know the difference between speech and money. Our current Supreme Court Justice Scalia has ruled that “money is speech”. This gross distortion coupled with another of his gross distortions; i.e., “Corporations are people” has encouraged and made legal an infinite amount of money (that could total billions of dollars or more) that U.S. Corporations can contribute to U.S. elected members of our U.S. Congress to assure adoption of their preferred policies and legislation. Our Supreme Court voted that their action is protected by our Constitutional freedom of speech proviso. As a result, the Corporations’ massive amount of money funneled through an inordinately large number of lobbyists to our members of Congress “speaks” so loudly that the voices of ordinary U.S. citizens are not heard or ignored by our elected Representatives and Senators. This is not Democracy (government by the people). It is a form of Plutocracy (government by the wealthy). This is the insidious compelling and all powerful force that is the real problem causing the gridlock we have been experiencing in our U.S. Congress. I respectfully submit that nothing is going to improve in Washington D.C. until this crippling situation is changed. And, the ONLY way it can be changed is to take the money out of American politics. To make this change, because our Supreme Court approved what Justice Scalia maintains, we must amend our U.S. Constitution. The basic Amendment is set forth in http://signon.org/sign/take-money-out-of-politics – so click on this link or paste it into your browser and see if you would like to sign the petition. Enough signatures are needed to get a two thirds vote in both our House of Representatives and Senate. Again – http://signon.org/sign/take-money-out-of-politics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.anderson.370 Bob Anderson

    Although the law requires public employees to pay into Medicare as of March, 1986, there are about 6 million of us who were never allowed to do so and we’re at or approaching 65. Some of us — fire and police — left the job disabled and can’t work to earn quarters, can’t apply for Social Security, won’t get Medicare and then, at 65, have to fork out $15 – $20 thousand dollars annually for health insurance for our families (younger wives). The Affordable Care Act doesn’t cover us. Veteran, Public Safety Employee and next, the shaft.

  • melior

    What are the best things we (who don’t have millions to buy ads) can do to help to find, support and elect more good Independents who will fight for us just like Bernie Sanders?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tdneuman Terry Neumann

    Senator Sanders,

    As a 20 year old college student, I am as confused as anyone about the current state of American politics. I have a unique group of friends: 1/2 politically uninformed and uninterested, and 1/2 the most actively engaged activist group on campus. Neither of them will vote in the upcoming election, for very different reasons. How do I help them understand the rational and clear view of having a pragmatic approach to solving political problems? And if they won’t vote to change leadership in Washington, how can we even hope for a more democratic future?

  • Anil Luthra

    I have always followed Bernie Sanders with great respect. I wish we could clone him many times over. He deserves admiration and support from all of us.

  • Gil

    I am an Ex-patriot American, living in Europe. My taxes US taxes should be very simple, I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination – but the tax forms themselves have become so horribly complex I can not do them myself, nor can I afford to get someone to do them for me.
    All of the talk about taxes sees expatriots as forgotten, with the burocratic assumption that we are skirting laws or are simply criminals: we are unrepresented as well. As for voting in general elections, the domicile laws of some states would then make us liable for state taxes as well.
    What can we do? Why haven’t the exclusions been raised despite inflation? Why has is this process becoming so odious? By the way – increasingly expats are surrendering their US passports for this very reason.

  • sean

    If I send you a bill to stop export of jobs will you read it and respond?

  • Mary M Delaney

    My husband and I watched this program on DVR yesterday afternoon. We have followed Bernie Sanders for years. We came away from the program totally frustrated. Congress is corrupt, the Senate, general knowledge, is owned by the banks, no one in politics pays attention to the polls re: what the American public wants. The national political presence is already owned by the billionaires among us. What is this information from people we follow and admire, Bill Moyers and Bernie Sanders, suggesting is left for us to do about the loss of our democracy, now in name only? Is a true revolution our only choice? The Republican party is lost to big money and flaunts it. The Democratic Party, for election purposes, targets the middle class, youth, minorities and the poor. The Democratic Club, is the other Democratic Party, and is beholden to the interests of the mega wealthy, oligarths. Your program re-enforced what we know and offered no hope against the true end of America as we remember it.

  • Dana

    Senator Sanders, thank you for being a sane voice in the onslaught of hateful rhetoric. Your statement that single-payer insurance might have to begin at the level of state legislatures–and spread among states until the feds get the picture–is intriguing. Here in Nebraska, home of several HUGE insurance CORPORATIONS, I believe it may be next to impossible for single-payer to even make it to the legislative agenda. Too much corporate money rides on keeping the status quo. Do you believe that the will of the people can override basic greed (assuming, of course, that there are enough Nebraskans who are tired of being taken to the cleaners by health insurance poobahs and would support a change. It would certainly be an ugly fight!)? Thanks for keeping on when times are tough.

  • Sandra

    Greed is rampant across both parties, at all levels and all economic classes. I have witnessed it in my small town politics, daycares and non profits where I have worked. Most of the people I have been associated with do not recognize greed in themselves. They take government money but do not spend it as it was intended. They spend it to enchance their salaries or, for instance, buy $100 books when $50 books would do just as well. Spend it on movies instead of food. Spend it for a Lexus instead of a least expensive car for transportation. They do not recognize they are responsible for the trust of frugally spending those dollars given and stretching them as far as possible. Politicians of either party are guility. Greed is not just a disease of the rich but of all who are not responsible with monies given to help sustain life or spent as wisely as possible. I am sure not all those accepting aid are gulity of this mindset but the people I know accepting aid are. The intention is to help you live, not to provide a wonderous lifestyle. I feel the debates coming should focus on the subjects you discussed and be less of a reality TV show for ratings.

  • Fawn

    I am a registered Democrat, after watching this show today, I am considering changing to Independant. Mr. Sanders was fantastic and presented the Social Security dilema better than anyone I have heard before. Raise the ceiling and problem is solved, at least for another 76 years and it gives the young people hope for their future. I also loved loved loved Jill and Sheri and actually may vote green party in November. After all, isn’t that what elections are all about. Voting who you believe best represents your value system. They were both outstanding!

  • do2

    We in Texas have only one U S Senator; Bernie represents our interests.

  • Liz in Fla

    Dear Bernie,
    If the parties are funded by the most wealthy individuals in the country, who I’m sure want their favors addressed in turn for their contributions, how wil President Obama, if elected again, get anything done with a Republican Congress. Will he be blocked again and unable to get anything passed?

  • Joyce Ford

    If you are depressed, it’s because you are living in the past. Try seeing opportunity in the current adversity. Bernie Sanders is working every day to try to make the situation better. He is advocating for the average citizen, like you and me, to do the same thing. We need to look at what is happening right now, today, and decide what is the very best action to take. Yes. We will need to take action in order to make the future brighter. Your question is, “What action do I take?”
    Support election funding reform. Take the big money out of the equation. Isn’t that the crux of the problem? Educate, organize. Talk to your friends and relatives on a personal level. Even small efforts, done at a grass roots level are necessary, valuable, and, in fact, ESSENTIAL. Thank you for watching Bernie and taking his message to heart. I am grateful. Don’t lose hope. Many of us feel just like you do!

  • Joyce Ford

    Dear Bernie,
    I remember the break up of Ma Bell. I didn’t understand it at the time, because I was just an elementary school student. One of my teachers asked me to pick a current topic and cut out newspaper articles about it.
    Can you explain the reasons why we might or might not be able to restructure large banks and financial institutions today?
    Also, I don’t understand what it means to be “too big to fail.” But it sounds like a very bad situation that should be addressed.
    Thank you!
    Joyce Ford

  • http://www.facebook.com/cstovic Chris Stovic

    The apathy by many people is huge. It is a big problem. If there is a successful “political
    revolution” it will be when women are involved and direct the direction of the
    “political revolution”. The “social justice, health care, Social security should be in
    the power of the women. The comments made by Sanders were good.
    As always, good program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shelley-Kessler-Mendias/1535924056 Shelley Kessler-Mendias

    This is why we have vote straight down the line on the ticket. Hopefully the President will have the Congress and the Senate and they will be able to start rebuilding this country after four years were wasted

  • http://www.facebook.com/cstovic Chris Stovic

    The only petition that I would like to see is to “Empower the people to
    directly express their will on ALL issues.” Add this article to
    the Constitution. The government is like the bicycle wheel, the wheel is
    broke, bent, the spokes are broke, missing, the rim is gone. Only when the
    people are enpowered the wheel will e fixed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cstovic Chris Stovic

    Replace the Congrss!

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.marietta Don Marietta

    Do you advise voting for Obama?

  • Tom

    He should run for president….but be is to truthful and straight forward and honest!!!!

  • Georgia P. Gruver

    I would like to reiterate what Mary M Delaney said “Your program
    re-enforced what we know and offered no hope against the true end of
    America as we remember it.” The most frustrating thing about all the
    programs, blogs, emails and other talk I hear is that most people DO GET
    IT. What we don’t get is how do we get past the verbiage and on to some actual ACTION!! All this talk is wonderful, but without some leadership taking us in the right direction all we have is TALK!! What can we do to really make some changes?

  • http://twitter.com/votehemp Vote Hemp

    Senator Sanders, Vermont passed a hemp farming law, a resolution urging Congress to take action, and a law allowing the Department of Agriculture to promulgate industrial hemp farming rules, but not issue licenses. You are a sponsor of S. 3
    501, the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011. In your opinion, what will it take to finally allow hemp farming and processing in the United States once again? – Tom Murphy, National Outreach Coordinator, Vote Hemp.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dawn.tucker.73 Dawn Tucker

    Senator Sanders, I would like to ask how we convince congress to pass a bill to require term limits? Career politicians and the revolving door of lobbyists is a conflict of interest and must be addressed!

  • pseeg

    Question:

    What do you see as the best motivation to get journalists
    back into business of reporting facts and not soft pedaling the lies which each
    side tells? More importantly how can a middle class who are satisfied with
    “reality TV” be taught to question what they are told by the media?

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.wilson.716 William Wilson

    He makes me want to move to Vermont a great place in the making.

  • Earl L. Kerr

    When I was a lad in middle school, a song became our way of expressing what we were hoping would help bring us through the Second World War. It goes like this: ” you gotta’ accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative—–”. We’re just opposite today! A sad commentary on our legislative attitude today.

  • Marc Batko

    A free Internet book “Investing, not Betting,” 67 pp. Brussels is available at http://www.finance-watch.org. The study published in April 2012 focuses on “high frequency trading.” The average bet takes 3 milli-secondes. You can’t build a sustainable society when investments are subordinated or eclipsed by speculation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/edith.a.robbins Edith A. Robbins

    Don’t change yet! We need every Democratic vote to make sure the President gets re-elected first. Obama has already suggested that the social security ceiling should be raised and it is just a question of how high. I think they should just require everyone to pay the S.S. tax on everything they earn. Of course, that still leaves the really wealthy from having to pay on all their dividends and interest income. Imagine how long we could assure Social Security to last if they had to pay on all of that income too!

  • Audrey Steiner

    Is there much reaction in Washington to the increased militarization and abuse of power of police across our country?

  • Allen C. Piening, Psy.D.

    Dear Bernie,
    you are 100% right on. I live in a community that is middle class but is not far from Gary Indiana, a “sacrifice zone”. Like Camden New Jersey, All one has to do is drive through it. Is that where we are all headed? I can see so many regional and local ways in which our politicians are dedicated to providing services to the wealthiest at the sacrifice of the rest of us. There is something that FDR understood that seems to be lost. If ONLY the 1% has wealth, the entire country will fail. If everyone does well, We all buy things and we all prosper. If we all become like Gary, eventually there will be no wealth even for the 1% to grow with. The wealthiest will also eventually loose when no one has money to purchase goods and services. Like so many other Americans I feel frightened for our future.

  • http://twitter.com/ACIMessentials ACIM Essentials

    Bernie Sanders, you are my hero. I love listening to your gruff, wise words. And I wish that every state could have a senator like you.

  • Terry Phillips

    I am an independent candidate running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in California’s new 23rd congressional district. My opponent, Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the House Majority Whip. He is responsible for much of the political gridlock in Washington D.C. My support comes from Democrats, Republicans and other independents who are fed up with the extreme partisanship that has taken over our government. As a first-time candidate, I hope to get some advice from Sen. Sanders.

    My campaign website is http://www.PhillipsForCongress.com

  • J.Bowden

    By the time that Citizens United was handed down the 1% was already insconced. Campain finance reform is what is really needed to get us back on a path to true democracy.

  • Jonakron

    I am a long time Bernie Sanders fan from The Thom Hartmann Show, bravo for Bernie for saying it like it is. I would like to know why we can’t end the awful Filibuster in the Senate that derails so much meaningful legislation…….. Thanks, Bernie.

  • Anonymous

    Please post a link to the government assistance program under which one of your associates has bought or leased a late-model Lexus, as well as a link to the program that funds the purchase of $100 books. If you’d like to provide an example of a $100 book alongside its $50 equivalent, that would be helpful.

    URLs ending in .gov would be most useful for research.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ned-Smith/100000172127034 Ned Smith

    There’s a lot of us “expatriots” out here

  • Trish Elgee

    Well, they gave you a hint. If you do not want to vote democratic, at least vote independent for Congress. The republican party is gone. Now it is a group of fanatics who only want to be in control for personal wealth. We need people in Congress who will use their intelligence to make the country strong, not just take bribes and become enormously wealthy.
    Accepting bribery is illegal, but nobody seems to care. Poor people and the young leaned democratic, so republicans pushed through this ID law to bar some like the old poll tax.
    Perhaps where you are born is not as big a clue to your patriotism as where you keep you money and how you get it, especially if you are in public office.

  • Wheeler

    What if a majority of all registered voters decided NOT to vote as a protest
    In our current system our votes are bought The goal of all the big
    Money is to pursuade you to vote a certain way or for a particular
    Candidate Therefore if money equals votes than No votes equals No
    More money In this scenario nOt voting would be a good patriotic
    Recourse to stop the corruption of money in politics

  • Fred Drumlevitch

    A democratic country can “go bad” via many different paths, and the final steady state can also vary. We seem headed towards a soft totalitarianism — control by a plutocracy/oligarchy effected not so much by jackbooted security forces as by consent of many of the governed, achieved by a combination of popular ignorance of both history and current events, paid political misinformation, economic crises, manipulated fear of terrorism and external enemies, and establishment of a modern interlinked wide-ranging surveillance infrastructure rationalized on the basis of both national security and supposed commercial/social benefits such as connectivity, communication, biometrics, and location tracking.
    My question to Bernie Sanders: When there are so many mutually-reinforcing components working to destroy our democracy, with (I think) no single dominant factor and no obvious weak link, don’t we need to simultaneously address and confront them all, not simply work on reducing the influence of money on politics as you have emphasized?

  • Fred Drumlevitch

    A democratic country can “go bad” via many different paths, and the final steady state can also vary. We seem headed towards a soft totalitarianism — control by a plutocracy/oligarchy effected not so much by jackbooted security forces as by consent of many of the governed, achieved by a combination of popular ignorance of both history and current events, paid political misinformation, economic crises, manipulated fear of terrorism and external enemies, and establishment of a modern interlinked wide-ranging surveillance infrastructure rationalized on the basis of both national security and supposed commercial/social benefits such as connectivity, communication, biometrics, and location tracking.
    My question to Bernie Sanders: When there are so many mutually-reinforcing components working to destroy our democracy, with (I think) no single dominant factor and no obvious weak link, don’t we need to simultaneously address and confront them all, not simply work on reducing the influence of money on politics as you have emphasized?

  • http://twitter.com/bradsura Brad Sura

    It is funny that Senator Sanders wants to raise the SS tax ceiling to others, but he and others Senators DO NOT pay into SS at all: they have a private plan!

  • James Nelson

    Senator Sanders: I was in agreement as I watched (the speech) As I watghed your Bill Moyers interview again I was in total agreement.If public finance of elections was the law could the Supream Court block it on constutional grounds? I have for a long time theet that this was the only way to get big money from desiding what the American people should. Thanks for shering the truth with us….JDN

  • Rosarino

    Senator Sanders says to be a”progressive”. Since when Socialist Marxists have ever been much better than the Capitalist Oligarchy that he criticized?

  • E.T. Lynk

    Question for the live web chat: Congress has the unique Constitutional authority to regulate commerce in this country. Why not use this power to re-define the nature of corporations permitted to operate here? In particular, deny corporations any semblance of human person-hood, or any right of free speech.

  • http://twitter.com/sime0n sime0n

    Sen. Sanders – First off, thank you, thank you thank you. Secondly, IT workers in WA State don’t get paid overtime. The reasoning is that Microsoft would leave Washington state if they had to pay workers overtime. I cannot get a response from my 2 Democratic senators so I was wondering, if you see Maria Cantwell or Patty Murray in the halls over the next few weeks, could you ask them to check out uitw.org and ask them if they support exempting workers from the Fair Labor Standards Act or not, as outlined on this page: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/screen75.asp Seems like I know your answer, you would likely support the American working class over failed trickle down ‘economic’ policies such as the FLSA exemptions. I would be so grateful if you could champion this discussion, no one I speak with about it gives me the time of day. Meanwhile I lose thousands of dollars every year in unpaid overtime wages so corporations like Microsoft can pay their executives just a little bit more to stay put in Washington State (aka bribery). IT workers in Washington State really need help, I would appreciate any and all your efforts to relay this point to Washington States’ two distinguished Senators. Thanks Bernie!

  • justjerry

    I’m thinking about moving to Vermont after watching the Senator. I believe the media plays a big role in the deadlock politically, by only presenting the arguments without any sense of urgency about what is being left undone.
    Our party political leaders have become selfindulgent thinking only of their careers and party while pretending that the only thing at stake is who wins the next election.

  • Grace

    Senator is there a chance we’ll ever get election finance reform? Limitations desperately needed.

  • Gary Way

    Senator, I was wondering why the Green Party has so little presence in Vermont. Have you considered aligning your self with the Green Party? The Green Party platform reflects your beliefs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.prowant Peter F. Prowant

    Senator, How do we expose the uber wealthy as the biggest recipients of welfare at the expense of the middle class?

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.staley.14 Peter Staley

    Sen. Sanders – What would it take for you to run for POTUS? Sure would be great if we could all gain the benefit of your wisdom, leadership, and POV on scores of critical issues.

  • Elizabeth

    What would public funding of campaigns look like exactly? If we got it going next time around how much money would each candidate get do you suppose? Would campaigns also get a specific amount of airtime? A set number of photocopies? Would the taxpayers end up funding campaigns to elect all kinds of goofballs? Simple silly questions maybe but I’m very curious!

  • Guest

    What would public funding of campaigns look like exactly? If we got it going next time around how much money would each candidate get do you suppose? Would campaigns also get a specific amount of airtime? A set number of photocopies? Would the taxpayers end up funding campaigns to elect all kinds of goofballs? Simple silly questions maybe but I’m very curious!

  • Guest

    Senator Sanders, on this now official “Patriot Day”, would you share with us your definition of what it truly means to be a Patriot in modern America. Secondly, as a Democratic Socialist, you surely walk a lonesome road, not just in Congress, but in Western Society in general. Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for the few who share a similar path… What gets you through the night, or truly inspires you?

  • http://twitter.com/UMABird UMA

    DId the Senator vote for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – Obamacare? And if so, why does he think it is ok to give taxpayer money to the insurance companies and make them more powerful than they already are?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=653020644 David George

    If we had proportional representation in this country a third party vote would make sense. A third party vote now would help elect Romney.

  • Darnelle Corbett

    Really worried that people will do the independent/green thing and then Romney will win. That would be certain death to the middle class.

  • Anonymous

    Why are Corporations being allowed to extract the wealth of the workers by paying minimum wages and boasting of their business prowess to exorbitant profits?

  • Anonymous

    What do you think its a better use of progressive resources 1) Working to take over the democratic party (and push out the corporate dems) 2) Supporting a third party (the green strategy)?

  • Ed wode

    Why does no one talk about the tariff deferential between the US and its trading partners? This I believe is the key to getting the corporations to bring the jobs home. If we had parity with our trading partners, it would become profitable to bring a lot of the manufacturing jobs back. It would force them too. The excuse is free trade which is a bad joke perpetrated by the corporations.