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September 14, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Sen. Sanders on raising corporate and wealth taxes to address income inequality

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Some students may find it easier to read along with the transcript or turn on closed captions/CC.

Summary: Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee released a proposal Monday that helps pay for most of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending bill. In addition to raising the corporate tax rate on businesses making $5 million in income, the plan also includes taxes for wealthy individuals. Judy Woodruff discusses with the Chairman of the Budget Committee, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is Bernie Sanders, and what is his background?
  • What are some of the goals of the bill in transforming the economy?
  • When is Congress likely to vote on spending, and how many years will the spending cover?
  • Why is this spending necessary, according to Sanders?
  • How have some critics of the spending bill challenged it, according to this piece?

Focus questions:

  1. Does this plan seem fair or unfair to you? Explain.
  2. If you had to prioritize, what do you think is the single most important thing that the federal government should be spending more on right now?
  3. What are some ways the priority you chose could be addressed on top of additional federal spending? Is there anything you can do in your own community to help address the problem/priority?
  4. Were you surprised to hear about America’s massive income inequality and child poverty problems? Why or why not?

Media literacy: Why do you think the producers chose to interview Sen. Bernie Sanders on what should be in the proposed spending bill?

Additional resources:

  • Are you looking to better understand the federal government’s budgeting process, and how decisions get made about taxes and spending priorities? Check out this lesson plan from iCivics. (Note: You’ll need to register for a free iCivics account to use the lesson plan).
  • To learn more about Congressional spending plans and the politics behind them, check out this conversation between Tamara Keith and Amy Walter.

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