FOX 17 sits down with Democratic contender Bernie Sanders

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- FOX 17 sat down with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders just ahead of Michigan's primary on March 8.

Overall, Sanders said he is disappointed with the country in general, saying that America - despite being the wealthiest country in the world - is rife with income inequality. He returned to his chief talking point that most wealth floats to the top one percent richest people. Part of his plan for Michigan, he says, is to raise taxes and invest in struggling cities such as Detroit and Flint.

Sanders placed blame primarily in international trade policies such as NAFTA and CAFTA, which he calls disastrous for Michigan workers because corporations move their production to other countries like China and Mexico.

"We're going to end disastrous trade agreements," Sanders said. "We're going to demand that corporate America invest in this country, not in China."

He also called Michigan's minimum wage, currently $8.50 an hour, a "starvation wage" and said that he'll work to raise the minimum to $15 over the next couple years.

On the Flint water crisis, the senator says he's shocked that children were poisoned by lead-contaminated water. He drew comparisons to third world countries. He calls the situation a "disgrace beyond disgraces" and has called for the resignation of Gov. Rick Snyder.

A recent poll commissioned by FOX 2 in Detroit shows Hillary Clinton as the clear front-runner, leading Sen. Sanders by 28 points. However, Sanders says he's still confident he will take Michigan and that his campaign has often been behind in other states' primaries but eventually closes the gap.

"I think the momentum is with us and that people understand what our message is."

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6 comments

  • R. Rawls

    “Sanders is disappointed with the country in general, saying that America – despite being the wealthiest country in the world – is rife with income inequality, returning to his chief talking point that most wealth floats to the top one percent richest people.”

    It somehow escapes him and his followers that Socialism invariably ends that way as well. So his chief talking point is complete bollocks. Income inequality is what capitalism uses for a starting point, taking it for granted. It then gives everyone an equal opportunity, not a guarantee of economic equality but an equal opportunity, to acquire financial wealth. Not everyone can make it, and nobody is guaranteed anything except the opportunity to try. Income equality is a myth, pointed to by people who want to use you for something. It can never actually exist. It is impossible. As it happens, this is a good thing because it gives everyone something to strive for, to work toward. The problem is that as societies grow, as populations increase, the number of people in poverty grows. The resources, which are finite, become spread too thinly. Invariably overpopulation results in the collapse of the society.

    This is where Donald Trump comes in. His voice echoes that of the American people that having an extra 12 million people in this country (illegally) is an unecessary and crippling drain on an already overtaxed economy. Getting rid of these illegal freeloaders is not so much an immigration issue as it is an economic necessity. As is securing our borders and strengthening limitations on immigration. As is promotion of smaller families. As is rural development. All these are domestic issues which we as a country have an immediate need to deal with for the sake of our own preservation as a civilization. We must, for the first time since WW2, put domestic issues ahead of foreign policies and interests. We must pull back on our support for others where and when it comes at the expense of our own citizens. And we must allow those countries who are well able to defend themselves responsibly to do so, and to allow them to collapse if they bite off more than they can chew. It is like trying to save someone who is drowning. If they are panicking and struggling, the attempted rescuer is likely to get pulled down by the drowning person, dooming them both. We can not allow this to continue to happen to us. We must take care of ourselves first, insure our safety first, and only when it does not come at the expense of our safety and security, only when it does not come at the expense of our Constitution, should we extend help to others.

    This is what the American people want, and what is directly achievable in the next decade. But not with Sanders as president. Not with Clinton as president. And certainly not with Cruz or Rubio. With them you just get more of the same see-saw politics that we have been getting for the last 50 years. America must come first. Or America won’t last.

  • R. Rawls

    “Sanders is disappointed with the country in general, saying that America – despite being the wealthiest country in the world – is rife with income inequality, returning to his chief talking point that most wealth floats to the top one percent richest people.

    It somehow escapes him and his followers that Socialism invariably ends that way as well. So his chief talking point is complete bollocks. Income inequality is what capitalism uses for a starting point, taking it for granted. It then gives everyone an equal opportunity, not a guarantee of economic equality but an equal opportunity, to acquire financial wealth. Not everyone can make it, and nobody is guaranteed anything except the opportunity to try. Income equality is a myth, pointed to by people who want to use you for something. It can never actually exist. It is impossible. As it happens, this is a good thing because it gives everyone something to strive for, to work toward. The problem is that as societies grow, as populations increase, the number of people in poverty grows. The resources, which are finite, become spread too thinly. Invariably overpopulation results in the collapse of the society.

    This is where Donald Trump comes in. His voice echoes that of the American people that having an extra 12 million people in this country (illegally) is an unecessary and crippling drain on an already overtaxed economy. Getting rid of these illegal freeloaders is not so much an immigration issue as it is an economic necessity. As is securing our borders and strengthening limitations on immigration. As is promotion of smaller families. As is rural development. All these are domestic issues which we as a country have an immediate need to deal with for the sake of our own preservation as a civilization. We must, for the first time since WW2, put domestic issues ahead of foreign policies and interests. We must pull back on our support for others where and when it comes at the expense of our own citizens. And we must allow those countries who are well able to defend themselves responsibly to do so, and to allow them to collapse if they bite off more than they can chew. It is like trying to save someone who is drowning. If they are panicking and struggling, the attempted rescuer is likely to get pulled down by the drowning person, dooming them both. We can not allow this to continue to happen to us. We must take care of ourselves first, insure our safety first, and only when it does not come at the expense of our safety and security, only when it does not come at the expense of our Constitution, should we extend help to others.

    This is what the American people want, and what is directly achievable in the next decade. But not with Sanders as president. Not with Clinton as president. And certainly not with Cruz or Rubio. With them you just get more of the same see-saw politics that we have been getting for the last 50 years. America must come first. Or America won’t last.

  • R. Rawls

    “Sanders is disappointed with the country in general, saying that America – despite being the wealthiest country in the world – is rife with income inequality, returning to his chief talking point that most wealth floats to the top one percent richest people.

    It somehow escapes him and his followers that Socialism invariably ends that way as well. So his chief talking point is complete bollocks.

  • Tracy McBride

    Michigan!!!! PLEASE PLEASE help yourselves AND the rest of us!! Thousands of jobs are on the line because of the horrible rich get richer “trade” agreements that Clinton pushed for!! Thousands of water systems are in jeopardy of a Flint atrocity due to corrosion in politics and pipes!!!! Please please!! Lead the call to action and VOTE FOR SANDERS!!!!!

    • Andrew

      Tracy, Socialism does not change the “rich get richer” income inequality problem that Sanders is on about. In fact, it both enables and accelerates it. All you need to do to verify this is look at the former Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, and China. Even looking at the individual socialist programs adopted by European countries, you can see the same corruption within those programs as you would see at the national level.

      I agree that the problems you mention are real, and I share your concern about them. But Sanders does not have a legitimate solution to them. An experienced global businessman like Trump does understand that these trade agreements are crippling the American economy, and he has said that he will work to have them repealed or reformed. His other platform elements are much more in line with the wishes of the American people, rather than to some political ideology as well. I am voting for someone who will represent the American people, not someone who will try to force an unwanted ideology onto the American people because he thinks it would be good. That is not the role of a representative at any level, and certainly not the POTUS.

      • DaveK

        As much as you believe that, Vermont (Senator Sanders’ home state) has one of the most progressive tax system in the US – if not the most. Socialism is doesn’t mean more (or less) corruption. It’s hard to root that out of the system. Our current Republicans and Democrats in power have seen to that. The state of the DNC is a good example. After years of excluding lobbyist funds, in the past several months that moratorium has been lifted. When someone is lobbying you (e.g. think of Hillary Clinton taking millions from Wall Street, Big Pharma, the NRA, etc.), it’s crazy (certainly isn’t logical) to think they are throwing money at you and expect *nothing* in return. If you believe that, then nothing I can say would change your mind. But Bernie Sanders isn’t taking money from any large organizations or industries. In fact his entire campaign is funded of small dollar donations. It’s hard to point and say that’s corruption! My $30 isn’t going to buy me any favors, but all of us together means that Bernie Sanders doesn’t have to ask for campaign contributions from large donors nor does he have to answer to them.

        He is the most honest man in politics I can see. Looks at his net worth and compare to many others in congress. He’s not getting rich, but people follow him because he’s honest and stands on principals.