March 26, 2011; Source: Burlington Free Press | The standing room only crowd at South Burlington High School in Vermont got a free dinner out of the “town hall” meeting sponsored by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, but the dinner was only an appetizer. The main course was Sanders’ distinctive, no-holds-barred take on politics in Washington.

The senator is adamantly opposed to budget cuts, explaining that “at a time when millions and millions of working people are struggling to get by, it makes no sense to me to make savage cuts on programs that people depend upon for life-or-death issues.” Speaking to political loyalists, Sanders even got applause for his call for a surtax on people making more than $1 million a year.

His harshest words were directed at Republicans in the Beltway and, like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, in state capitols: “There really is a war being waged against the middle class by some of the wealthiest people in this country and their political operatives,” he said. He charged that Republicans want to “move this country back to the 1920s” by eliminating social safety net programs such as Medicare, Head Start, Social Security, and others. “Their philosophy, their ideology,” he said, “is an oligarchic type of society where the people on top have the money and are able to exert enormous economic and political influence, and working people, if they’re lucky, can get some kind of job which in many cases doesn’t pay a living wage.”

If Sanders is anywhere close to being correct – and his audience certainly thought he was spot on – nonprofits are going to face a hugely altered political and financial environment after the FY2011 and FY2012 federal budget cuts get approved and take effect.—Rick Cohen