“It always seems impossible until it is done,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a rally Friday night at Iowa Western Community College, quoting Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa.
“The greatest obstacle we face is not just Wall Street and drug companies and insurance companies and fossil fuel companies and the prison complex and the military-industrial complex,” Sanders said. “The greatest obstacle is the (limitations) of our imaginations.
“Now is the time to tell the corrupt wealthy and elite that enough is enough.”
Sanders took the stage around 6:35 p.m. Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who publicly endorsed Sanders three weeks ago, joined Sanders on his campaign stop in Council Bluffs, introducing him to the crowd Friday night. Several thousand people attended the rally.
Sanders talked about his trademark issues, including perhaps the best known, Medicare for All.
“Health care should be a right, not a privilege,” he said.
He added that he would expand Medicare to include dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids and home health care.
Health care should be a right, not a privilege, Sanders said. Right now, 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured.
“That’s why half a million people go bankrupt each year because of medical bills,” he said.
The government should pay all past-due medical bills, which would cost an estimated $81 billion, Sanders said.
The senator also wants to take on homelessness in America.
“We will build up to 10 million livable, affordable houses,” he said.
Sanders wants to make public colleges and universities tuition free.
“We believe education is a human right, from preschool to graduate school,” he said.
And it’s time to cancel all student debt, Sanders said. People have asked how the federal government could afford to cancel an estimated $1.6 trillion in debt.
“Apparently 11 years ago, we could afford to loan trillions at no interest to crooks on Wall Street, give tax breaks to fossil fuel companies and give tax breaks to the wealthy and the big corporations,” he said. “If we can do all that, I think we can cancel all student debt in this country.”
Sanders also talked about his wealth tax plan, which would apply to single adults with a net worth of more than $16 million and couples with wealth of more than $32 million.
On climate change, Sanders said, “We have proposed the most comprehensive climate change plan ever introduced by any candidate for office. We have a moral responsibility to make sure this planet is inhabitable by our kids and for future generations. That is why we are going to take on the greed and corruption of the fossil fuel industry and, whether they like it or not, we are going to transform our economy to renewable and sustainable energy and create 20 million jobs in the process.”
Sanders’ campaign is about thinking big, he said.
“The only way real change can take place – has ever taken place – is for it to happen from the bottom up, not the top down.”