As the United States prepared to celebrate Independence Day, Bernie was scheduled to appear at a Fourth of July parade in Iowa after addressing that state’s largest campaign crowd yet. He also had a word of support for the people of Greece on the eve of that nation’s referendum on a new package of proposed spending cuts from international lenders.
In Council Bluffs, Iowa, 2,600 people or more attended a rally in the 2,300-seat Mid-America Convention Center. They cheered when Bernie called for a $15 per hour minimum wage, breaking up the big banks, and bold action against climate change.
The record turnout in Council Bluffs followed Bernie’s appearance before 10,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin, the largest campaign crowd yet.
Meanwhile, Bernie criticized the harsh package of additional spending cuts which the International Monetary Fund and European leaders are attempting to impose on Greece.
“It is unacceptable that the International Monetary Fund and European policymakers have refused to work with the Greek government on a sensible plan to improve its economy and pay back its debt,” Bernie said in a statement to the Huffington Post.
“At a time of grotesque wealth inequality, the pensions of the people in Greece should not be cut even further to pay back some of the largest banks and wealthiest financiers in the world,” Bernie added.
Many major economists agree that the draconian cuts imposed on Greek spending have damaged the economy and weakened Greece’s ability to repay its loans. Lenders have nevertheless demanded additional cuts, and are even seeking to dictate the nature of those cuts to Greece’s leaders.
“Instead of trying to force the Greek government and its people into even more economic pain and suffering,” Bernie sad,” “international leaders throughout the world, including the United States, should enable Greece to enact pro-growth policies that improve the lives of all of its people, not just the wealthy few.
“If Greece’s economy is going to succeed, these austerity policies must end. The IMF must give the Greek government the flexibility and time that it needs to grow its economy in a fair way.”
The theme of the weekend, both internationally and at home, might be summed up in a single word: Independence.