Democrat Debate Highlights Liberal Views About Handling Economy, Wall Street

Martin O’Malley, right, speaks alongside Bernie Sanders, left, and Hillary Clinton, center, during a Democratic presidential primary debate Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

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Last night Democrats held their 3rd presidential debate from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire hosted by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and David Muir which competed for attention during this season’s first NFL “Saturday Night Football” game and showcased contrasting views in the Democrat Party over a host of issues including financial reform and confronting economic inequality.

The debate comes just 6 weeks before Iowa hosts a caucus, a nominating contest, and featured 3 Democratic candidates, including frontrunner Secretary Hilary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

Clinton already has a sizeable lead in the latest polls over Sanders with more Wall Street backing while Sanders appeals to left leaning Democrats and some independents with his anti-capitalism views that also strike a chord with more younger Americans, including  millennials.

Sanders explained at the beginning of the debate that he is running for President of the United States because “its too late for establishment politics and establishment economics” and said that nearly all of the new wealth is going to the top one percent.

When asked if corporate American will love a President Sanders, he replied “No, I think they won’t” and then later claimed that Wall Street is a threat to the economy and should be broken up.

ABC Host David Muir cited a statistic that showed in 1995 the median American household income was $52, 600 in today’s money. This year it’s $53, 600. Muir pointed out that its 20 years on the job with just a 2 percent raise and in a similar time-frame, raises for CEOs increased 200 percent.

Sanders replied “we recognize we have a rigged economy” and explained that the middle class is disappearing.

Sanders advocates for raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour over the next several years, pay equity for women workers, rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, taxing Wall St. speculators, and making certain that public colleges and universities in America are tuition free.

Sanders slammed Wall Street and said he supports re-establishing Glass-Steagall that was repealed by Congress in 1999 and  separates investment and commercial banking activities.

“When you have six financial institutions in this country that issue two thirds of the credit cards and one-third of the mortgages, when three out of four of them are larger today than when we bailed them out because they are too big to fail, we’ve got to re-establish Glass-Steagall, we have got to break the large financial institutions up” Sanders said.

Hilary Clinton responded by saying she wants the Buffett Rule to be in effect that taxes millionaires at the 30 percent rate instead of 10 percent to nothing in some cases.

After criticizing Republicans for refusing to raise the minimum wage, Clinton said that at the center of her economic policy is raising incomes.

She pointed out that the cost of everything from college tuition to prescription drugs has gone up and supports raising the minimum wage, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act (women pay equity), supporting “debt free tuition plans, free community college plans, and getting the price of prescription drugs lower.

Martin O’Malley said the more fully people in the economy, the more our workers earn, the more they will spend, the more our economy will grow. “And most heads of business- large, medium, and small- understand that,” he said.

O’Malley admitted that “we are not going to make wages go up for everyone by either trying to replace American capitalism with socialism,” which Sanders is more closely associated with, and pointed out that he demonstrated the “backbone to take on Wall Street” in ways that Secretary Clinton never, ever has.

Clinton countered by explaining that she gets only 3 percent of donations from people in the finance and investment world and doesn’t have a super PAC.

She later criticized Sanders and reminded the audience that the liberal senator from Vermont voted to take away authority from the SEC and the Commodities Future Trading Commission and explained that they could no longer regulate swaps and derivatives, which contributed to the collapse of Lehman Brothers during the global recession.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

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