Ezra Klein: Something that’s in what you
said being a democratic socialist, is a more international view. I think if you take global
poverty that seriously it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political
bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level
of open borders. About sharply increasing …
Bernie Sanders: Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.
Ezra Klein: Really? Bernie Sanders:Of course. That’s a right wing
proposal which says essentially there is no United States …
Ezra Klein: But it would make … Bernie Sanders: Excuse me …
Ezra Klein: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?
Bernie Sanders: It would make everybody in America poorer, you’re doing away with the
concept of a nation state and I don’t think there’s any country in the world which believes
in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or
UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything
we can to help poor people. What right wing people in this country would love is an open
border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for 2 or $3 an hour, that would be great
for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I
think we have to do everything we can to create the millions of jobs.
You know what youth unemployment in the United States of America today? If you’re white high
school graduate, it’s 33%, Hispanic 36%, African American 51%. Do you think we should
open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers or do you think maybe we should try
to get jobs for those kids? I think from a moral responsibility we’ve
got to work with the rest of the industrialized world to address the problems of international
poverty but you don’t do that by making people in this country even poorer.
Ezra Klein: Then what are the responsibilities that we have? Someone who is poor by US standards
is quite well off by say, Malaysian standards, so of the calculation goes so easily to the
benefit of the person in the US, how do we think about that responsibility?
I guess I’m asking for – I agree. You have a nation-state structure. You always are going
to, the politics don’t allow anything else. But I guess philosophically, the question
is how do you weight it? How do you think about what the foreign aid budget should be?
How do you think about poverty abroad? Bernie Sanders: I do weigh it. Well first
of all, again, as a United States senator in Vermont, my first obligation is to make
certain kids in my state and kids all over this country have the ability to go to college,
which is why I am supporting tuition-free public colleges and universities. I believe
we should create millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and ask the wealthiest
people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes. I believe we should raise
the minimum wage to at least 15 bucks an hour so people in this county are not living in
poverty. I think we end the disgrace of some 20% of our kids living in poverty in America.
Now how do you do that? What you do is understand there’s been a huge redistribution of wealth
in the last 30 years from the middle class to the top 1/10 to 1%. The other thing that
you understand globally is a horrendous imbalance in terms of wealth in the world. As I mentioned
earlier, the top 1% will own more than the bottom 99% in a year or so. That’s absurd.
That takes you to programs like the IMF and so forth and so on. I think what we need to
be doing as a global economy is making sure that people in poor countries have decent
paying jobs, have education, have healthcare, have nutrition for their people. That is a
moral responsibility, but you don’t do that as some would suggest, by lowering the standard
of American workers which has already gone down very significantly.