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Bernie Sanders lays out an ambitious plan on affordable housing

A few days after reports surfaced that President Trump is considering a crackdown on homelessness, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued an unofficial rebuttal, outlining his national housing plan in an address to a crowd of 100 at the local chapter of the Plumbers and Pipefitters union.

Sanders railed against Trump’s housing policies and explained his own, which calls for federal investment of $2.5 trillion over the next decade and a national rent control standard. He said he will pay for the policy by establishing a wealth tax on the top tenth of one percent — or, according to his estimate, the wealthiest 175,000 families.

“Instead of expanding federal housing programs, Trump is proposing to cut them by $9.6 billion or 18 percent,” Sanders said. “Instead of working to substantially reduce the outrageously high price of housing, Trump is proposing to triple what some of the poorest senior citizens and persons with disabilities in America are paying for rent today.”

The Sanders campaign said a full outline of the plan will “be released in the coming weeks,” but Sanders did provide some details Saturday. He proposed a national rent control standard that would cap rent increases at no more 1½ times the rate of inflation or 3 percent, whichever is higher. He promised to promote legal protections for fair housing and take steps to eliminate racial discrimination in loan practices.

Sanders also said he would expand the National Housing Trust Fund, which allocates money to states to build and maintain affordable housing for low-income Americans. Trump’s budget proposal called for drastic cuts to that fund.

Sanders said he will fully fund Section 8 rental assistance program — or the Housing Choice Voucher Program — which subsidizes private landlords to rent properties to low-income families at fair market value. He told those in attendance Saturday that his plan will eliminate some of the lengthy wait times that plague those seeking those vouchers.< e also proposed $70 billion of investment to repair existing housing units and $50 billion in grants “for states, cities and towns to establish community land trusts that will enable over a million households to purchase affordable homes over the next 25 years.” Land trusts allows local jurisdictions to hold title to land, therefore keeping prices down for housing on that land. “It is unacceptable to me that over 18 million families in America today are paying more than 50 percent of their limited incomes on housing,” Sanders said. “It is unacceptable to me that there is virtually no place in America where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a decent two bedroom apartment, at a time when half of our people are living pay check to pay check.”/blockquote>


Bernie Sanders, in Las Vegas, Previews Plan for Affordable Housing

Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a $2.5 trillion housing policy plan on Saturday that would include ending homelessness and limiting rent increases across the country by imposing a national rent control standard.

Mr. Sanders said that over the next decade, his plan would expand public housing, increase the availability of affordable housing and cap annual rent increases nationally, regardless of income, at no more than one and a half times the rate of inflation or 3 percent, whichever is higher. His campaign said he would be releasing his full plan within the next month.

“We have an affordable housing crisis in Nevada, in Vermont and all over this country that must be addressed,” he told an audience of about 100 people at a union hall in Las Vegas, which was hit hard by the housing crisis a decade ago. “For too long, this is one of those issues that we just don’t talk about.”

This is the second time in the past 15 days that Mr. Sanders’s campaign has teased a policy rollout without releasing an actual proposal. Late last month, the Vermont senator said at a health care-focused event in Florence, S.C., that he planned to introduce legislation that would eliminate all medical debt. His campaign followed his pronouncement with a one-page overview of what the plan would entail, including canceling $81 billion of existing medical debt. The campaign also said at the time that a plan would be released within a month.

The series of soft rollouts underscore just how policy focused the Democratic presidential primary has become. Led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, the field has been introducing policy plans at a pace that at times has been frenetic.

Mr. Sanders has long advocated for affordable housing, even during his days as mayor of Burlington, Vt., in the 1980s.




Teaching Democrats to Talk About Socialism

It doesn’t matter who the Democratic nominee for president is next year, they will be attacked for being “socialist.” It will be relentless and merciless. The problem is that none of the current candidates know how to talk about socialism, so they always seem to be on the defensive. They’re always back on their heels, explaining, evading, apologizing.

Let’s be very clear: if the Democratic candidate for president in 2020—whomever it is—does not know how to discuss socialism effectively, constructively, and offensively, THEY WILL LOSE. It’s that simple. So, they need to start working on their stump speeches, and their debate lines. And they need to do that now, while public consciousness about the issue is still being formed.

Here are some talking points, rendered as a speech, which I humbly offer to all of the candidates.

“First, let’s get over the idea that calling someone a socialist is an argument. It’s just a smear word. It’s like someone on the playground in fifth grade saying to someone they don’t like, “You’re a butt-head!” That’s literally all the substance there is to it. Why?

Well, let’s be clear about what socialism is. Socialism is when people come together in an economy to solve common problems that none of us could solve on our own. Does that sound radical? Let’s test it.

Anybody here ever driven on an Interstate highway? That’s socialism. It was everybody in the economy solving a really important problem—how to move about the country efficiently—that that none of us could have solved on our own. It was the creation of Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican president.

Oh, and by the way, it set off the greatest expansion of the economy in the history of the country. It made possible the staggering panoply of culture we know of as “suburbia.” It was the Golden Age of American Capitalism, catalyzed by a capitalist president enacting a socialist policy.



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