Bernie Sanders, like Jefferson Smith, goes to Washington, fights for lost causes.... | AccountingWEB

Bernie Sanders, like Jefferson Smith, goes to Washington, fights for lost causes....

I love the line of Jefferson Smith from "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington":  "I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn't have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too."   Yesterday Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, looked out for the middle class, the other fella, and fought the good fight for a lost cause, a decent income and quality of life for the middle class in America.

In his eight hour filibuster, Bernie argued that (4) banks control the financial capital of our nation.  Because they are so big, they are too big to fail, meaning if they should fail in the future, we will have to bail them out once again.

He spoke out against NAFTA and our free trade agreements, citing CEOs of major corporations intending to transfer their entire operations to China, denigrating the aptitude and capability of the American worker.  He argued that cheap labor of 11.5 cents an hour in India has resulted in the transfer of the textile industry to that country.

He asserted that Obama's tax deal will not create jobs here in our country.  He quoted endless CEOs stating that they will continue to transfer more jobs overseas because of the low wages and the better training, education, and attitudes of workers there.  Finally, he concluded that the rich are loaded with money, and they and the (4) big financial institutions will not invest in businesses here in the US.

Yes, this is drama and high theatre.  This is the stuff of a Frank Capra movie, of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”,  of Jefferson Smith taking on the Taylors and their political machine, including senators like Joseph Paine.

What will become of this filibuster?  Nothing.  The powers of our nation have already determined the fate of the tax bill:  a few add-ons for ethanol and the like to appease the opposing Congressional Democrats so that they can substantiate to their constituents their vote for the tax bill.  Obama brought in his big gun, Bill Clinton, the advocate of NAFTA, to rally the troops today.  A tax bill giving the 2% their tax cuts will pass next week, if not on Monday.  Sanders’ all day filibuster sadly is all for nothing.  Too few are listening; too few care.

The middle class, spawned out of the Roosevelt era, will soon cease to be.  There will just be the 5% owning 95% of the wealth, and then the 95% owning very little, if anything.  Soon the minimum wage of $7.50/hour may be abolished.  Soon people will be searching for jobs for $5/hour.  I have been approached by several graduating students begging to work for me for free.  I was approached by a brilliant young lady, who passed the CPA exam on her first sitting, willing to work part-time for me for free in order to obtain her certification.  And I saw an ad run by a graduate of an MBA program willing to work for free.

I agree with Bernie:  that the tax cuts for the rich will not increase jobs in this country.  Why?  These tax cuts are in place now and have been before and during the rise in our unemployment.  Jobs will continue to go to Asia because of the Malthusian economics at play:  people are willing to work for so much less than our minimum wage.  Investors here, including the rich and the (4) big banks, will continue to invest in Asia and India, since the return on their monies is so much better there.  Once this tax deal is finalized, I, too, feel that you will hear more talk about the minimum wage being lowered or abolished along with social security, medicare, and the like.  I fear that we may be returning to the years of America before FDR, the Taylor and Potter years, when a middle class did not exist, where a majority of Americans rented rather than owned a home, where the vast majority could not afford to go to college, where many desperately sought work, even jobs offering a pittance for wages.  Don't believe me?  Look around:  it has already begun.

And what will happen to our fees?  Will they fall?  They certainly won’t increase.  Look at the P&Ls of your clients this year.  It’s happening already. 

It’s simple economics, fostered by the politics in Washington.

I guess this is just another lost cause, Bernie Sanders.  Do you remember Jefferson Smith's culminating words in the Senate chamber before he collapsed?  "Lost causes" are "the only causes worth fighting for.  And you fight for them once, for the only reason any man ever fights for them; because of just one plain simple rule: 'Love thy neighbor.'... And you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any other. Yes, you even die for them."

Yesterday, you alone in America fought the good fight for a lost cause, Bernie.  I thank you.

William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Accountants CPA Hartford, LLC

This blog

The Barefoot Accountant—is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor,  operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Berlin, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford, Connecticut, LLC.  Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission.  Bill is a crazed animal lover, feeding birds, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, possums, stray cats, and any two-legged or four-legged critter traversing through his yard.  His backyard in Berlin, Connecticut has been certified as a habitat suitable for wildlife by the National Wildlife Federation.

Bill also writes an Accounting, QuickBooks, and Tax blog:  Accounting, QuickBooks, and Taxes by the Barefoot Accountant.  For entertaining articles, please see his listing at The Amazing Brighenti.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (, a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website:
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.