Grover Norquist and Bernie Sanders Get Into Fiery Exchange on CNN (VIDEO)

In a rare showdown between such extreme polar political opposites on live television, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, got into a heated argument on Thursday based on their mutual opposition to President Obama’s budget proposal — a mutual opposition but for entirely different reasons.

Starting off the CNN segment, Sanders was quick to point out that corporations and America’s super rich continue to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. He slammed Obama’s proposal for cutting a variety of government programs as a means to reduce the nation’s deficit.

Dismissing Sander’s argument, Norquist posited that the government is receiving little in revenues due to high unemployment or not making enough in taxable income, to which Sanders replied that the debt and deficit has grown because of financial scandals on Wall Street enabled by deregulation.

“I’m talking to the senator who opposed the effort to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which gave us the recession that we had,” Norquist shot back. “That was government policy — it was big government policy. It sure wasn’t deregulation.”

“Our good friends on Wall Street just are so honest, so conservative in their fiscal investments,” Sanders said sarcastically. “They had nothing to do with the deficit, and it’s the big, bad government that forced them into derivatives, that forced them to merge, that forced them to become too big to fail. It’s always the government.”

“Are you unable to say Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Are you incapable of saying those two words,” Norquist asked.

“Are you unable to talk about the illegal behavior on Wall Street,” Sanders countered.

Watch the exchange in the video below.



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    April 16, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I wish people understood just how detrimental freddie and fannie have been to our society.

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    April 22, 2013 at 1:11 am

    F & F only 20% responsible for housing crisis.

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    April 22, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Correction: Sanders is an Independent, not a Democrat. And Norquist is a sociopathic corporatist troll, not a president.

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    April 22, 2013 at 1:21 am

    ecomonie. what part of Credit Default Swap
    Is not clear??

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    April 22, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Bernie is an Independent. Not a Democrat.

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    April 22, 2013 at 2:32 am

    I wish people understood just how detrimental Voodoo Economics have been to our society.

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    Gina de Miranda

    April 22, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Oh, please. Greed is why anything bad happened. The slime bags on Wall Street bundled mortgages and gave them to people that would not have qualified under Freddie or Fannie when they were being run properly. Does anybody read besides me? No, you all watch Faux News.

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    Gina de Miranda

    April 22, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Grover is soooooooooooo Over.

  9. Avatar

    Gerald C.

    April 22, 2013 at 3:01 am

    This DEAD STATE website is PATHETICALLY slow! 15-30 second load times…c’mon. My 10 yr old can do better work that this… Start with removing all of the BS plugins! And then dump WP next. After that, get a real server. Ugh…I love the content…but its not worth the struggle. Oh, and mobile friendly would also help…

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    Reda StCyr

    April 22, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Oh hell no The American people do not agree with Grover Norquest We have said then an now over an over The rich needs to pay a fair share of taxes in this country an I wish networks like CNN & Fox News, would stop aiding in this false notion of what that clown is saying

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    April 22, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Ever since Organizesd Crime took control of the US House of Nonrepreaentatives and de-regulated every rule put into place to prevent the distruction of the economy by these criminals that pay $0 taxes and stash the stolen loot over seas. Vote out the Tea Klux Klan and get our Country back!

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  13. Avatar


    April 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I wish people understood just how detrimental the recraplicans have been to our society…..and thats a fact!

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    April 23, 2013 at 1:35 am

    You seem to be suggesting that the entirety of the 08 financial crisis was contingent on the use of a hedging instrument created in the mid-90s. You can make that argument, you’d be wrong, but you can make that argument. Whatever you believe about the causes (or I guess in the case of your argument, “the cause”) of the financial crisis it does not exonerate FNMA & FHLMC of the damage they have wrought upon our society.

    To do that you would have to demonstrate how FNMA’s adherence to the FHA policy of redlining was a good thing and didn’t exacerbate the financial woes of minorities. You’d also have to show that the explicit government guarantee associated with MBS from FNMA and FHLMC, which earned even the riskiest derivatives a AAA rating just by its inclusion, was sound reasoning. Of course, you must have already thought about why having government sponsored (yet privately operated) enterprises who purchase more than half of all available mortgages, repackage them and sell them (only to be bought by the institutions which originated them, repackaged now with a government guarantee and resold), is a good idea. Maybe you weren’t aware of the fact, that these entities did not have to report to SEC until they voluntarily registered under section 12(g) of SEC act 1934…. which they did as a result of regulators pressure and only in early 2003. They were later sued by the SEC for their abhorrent and fraudulent practices, but only after the governmental took full control of them after the financial crisis. Since the government now owns them, they had to pay no damages even though they admitted they had lied, since that would be tantamount to yet another tax on the American people. Of course, the estimated cost of fixing FNMA & FHLMC is only 5 trillion dollars (close to a 3rd of our entire national debt), and that’s after receiving the largest portion of the stimulus.

    You knew all of that of course. That’s why you chose to ignore the damage caused by these GSEs and their role in the financial crisis, and instead, implied that the use credit default swaps was the real source of our current economic despair. Glad it wasn’t CDOs, RBMSs, IO-SBMSs, CMOs or any other childishly simplistic causal relationship between derivatives and economic doom. I can only handle one of those at a time.

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    April 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    In your haste to impress me with your vast knowledge of the cause of the house of cards you failed.
    Had any/ all financial institutions followed the law none of this
    would have happened.
    The law plainly states that any financial institution should not make any transaction that has a negative impact on their bottom line.
    I challenge you to provide in writing ie: source ,that states otherwise. Any financial institution

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    April 24, 2013 at 4:07 am

    I’m sorry you weren’t impressed, but it seems you’ve misjudged my meaning. I’m not trying to impress. I’m trying to educate, and clearly, by the ridiculous rebuttal you just posted, I failed. I’m attempting to demonstrate how detrimental the GSEs have been for our society, but you seem to not be interested in what I have to say. The fact that I have been talking about the aggregate affect of these organizations has escaped you, and you seem content to harp about our recent crisis, all the while missing my point entirely.


    In regard to your claims about the law, I’m afraid I’m at a loss. I’ve never heard of a law that outlaws, “any transaction that has a negative effect” on an institutions bottom line. I’m quite sure there is no such law, as the way you wrote it here would render illegal myriad derivatives and speculative products that I know for a fact aren’t illegal. Credit default swaps are still traded legally on the market, for instance. Not too mention any risk taking (and therefore anything more than the risk free rate of return) could potentially be a crime, and since it isn’t, I’m confident that you have no idea what you’re talking about. I’d like to see this law, if you can furnish it.

    What a novel idea! Maybe they should outlaw heart attacks so we could build a legal precedence against the obese.

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