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Barack Obama’s Spokesperson Defends $400,000 Wall Street-Sponsored Speech

Barack Obama’s spokesperson Eric Schultz defended the former president’s $400,000 speaking fee for an upcoming speech at a conference sponsored by a Wall Street investment bank.

“With regard to this or any speech involving Wall Street sponsors, I’d just point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history – and still went on to successfully pass and implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since FDR,” Schultz said in a statement.

Reports that Obama would earn $400,000 for the speech drew criticism this week, as people argued that accepting money from Wall Street firms would go against his beliefs. Obama’s post-presidential career will include a number of speeches and a two-book deal with Penguin Random House for $60 million.

“While he’ll continue to give speeches from time to time, he’ll spend most of his time writing his book and, as he said in Chicago this week, focusing his post-presidency work on training and elevating a new generation of political leaders in America,” Schultz said.

See original article on Fortune.com

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US election 2016: Bernie Sanders' and Hillary Clinton's policies compared

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in a pitched battle for the Democratic nomination, fighting for the hearts and minds of left-leaning voters across the US.

But where do they stand on the issues? While the candidates often agree on substance if not style, here’s a look at five areas where they differ - not just from each other, but from their presidential predecessors, as well.

Bernie Sanders promises he will reduce income inequality through changes to US through tax policy. He has called for a 10% tax surcharge on billionaires, raising the top three tax brackets and creating a new top rate, boosting capital gains and estate taxes, extending Social Security taxes, going after income made abroad by US corporations, and creating a new 0.2% tax on all earners to fund a paid family leave programme.

Hillary Clinton’s tax plan is basically Sanders-lite. She wants a 4% surtax on income over $5 million, an increase in capital gains taxes, the closing of “tax loopholes” for the wealthy, taxing hedge fund managers’ “carried interest” income at higher rates and increasing the estate tax rate.

Bernie Sanders has set the bar when it comes to higher education policy in the modern Democratic Party, with his call for free college for all Americans funded by taxing Wall Street financial transactions. He points to the runaway costs of higher education as one of the driving forces behind growing income inequality in the US.

Hillary Clinton supports a plan to make two-year community college free, but her higher education policies are more modest. She has called for lowering student loan interest rates, providing $17.5 billion to improve the quality of higher education and encouraging colleges to set affordable tuition rates that don’t require student loans.

For Bernie Sanders, however, that particular half-loaf is far from enough. He wants to institute a single-payer government-run health insurance system fashioned on Medicare. He has also called for allowing the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies in order to lower prices and permitting Americans to import medication from Canada, where it is less expensive.

Hillary Clinton has said Mr Sanders is advancing an unrealistic proposal that threatens hard-won healthcare reforms made during Mr Obama’s tenure. Instead she wants to expand existing law to improve coverage for prescription drugs and allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers for better prices.

Hillary Clinton is the first prominent Democratic presidential candidate to openly run on a gun-control platform since Al Gore’s losing campaign in 2000. She supports holding gun manufacturers liable for deaths caused by their products, expanding background checks and prohibiting those on no-fly list from purchasing firearms. She has also supported reinstating the ban on semi-automatic “assault” rifles.

Bernie Sanders, a senator from the rural state of Vermont, has a more moderate position on guns - although he has moved to the left over the course of the campaign. He supports expanded background checks on gun purchases and an assault weapons ban, but opposes holding gun manufacturers liable for deaths. He voted against a gun purchase waiting period multiple times in the early 1990s and for allowing guns in national parks.

Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, was one of the more hawkish members of Mr Obama’s cabinet. It’s no surprise then that as a presidential candidate she is well to the right of Mr Sanders and even Mr Obama. She has called for greater US involvement in the Syrian civil war, including enforcing a no-fly zone, and supports a continued US military presence in Afghanistan.

Bernie Sanders generally agrees with Barack Obama’s foreign policies - limited involvement in Syria and an emphasis on working with US allies. He contrasts himself with Mrs Clinton by noting the past US military action that she supported and he opposed - in Libya and Iraq. He supports a full US withdrawal from Afghanistan and no US training of rebels in the Syrian civil war.

My conclusion - I believe in the future with Bernie Sanders. Hillary’s measures I consider not enough. This is when we forget that she’s a liar, racist and was involved in a number of political scandals. And we must remember her sponsors from the Wall Street. I wanna say “I trust you, Mr. President”. And that’s why I’ll #Go Bernie.

#GoBernie! #AFuturetoBelievein #BernieSandersforPresident!