Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78, is back in the saddle after his heart attack, attracting 26,000 enthusiasts at a rally in New York and venting his hateful bigotry, renewing his war on liberty and planning to spend us into poverty.
Economically speaking, he is utterly confused, but voters like promises of free stuff and many share his anti-corporate fervor. Some people understand socialism so poorly that they think it is a good idea and they are with him when he snarls about corrupt, greedy rich people dictating governmental policies and capitalism destroying our lives.
It’s amazing that people who call our president a hater don’t hear the bitter nastiness in Sanders’ voice and that they don’t catch on that his stereotypical, degrading generalities about free markets are ignorant, immature, hippy-style prejudice, pure and simple.
He angrily belittled Sen. Elizabeth Warren ifor saying she was a capitalist down to her bones even though she agrees with him on his most absurd policy proposals.
Neither of the two is quite yet socialist in the worst meaning of the word, government ownership of just about everything. But both are for putting their omniscience to work as a substitute for free choice by millions who best understand their particular circumstances even in the absence of hoity-toity credentials.
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The duo doesn’t get it that capitalism came from European aristocrats finally granting freedom to middle class merchants and producers who innovated us into modernity. It has helped confer dignity and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of misery while outright socialism has never worked. One form of it, communism, has killed 100 million people on the way to saving them.
A great Sanders hope is to wipe out all private health insurance and replace it by having Medicare serve everyone for free. Medicare is already running out of money and ready to help generate a crisis. Its Sanders-era costs could kaboom to something like $34 trillion a decade. That’s two-thirds of total federal government revenue. Taxpayers would have to go into hiding, debt would leap off a cliff, other programs might have to be ditched and hospitals might collapse.
Some of the primary candidates also want free college, $1.53 trillion in student debt paid off by the innocent, $1,000 a month for every adult out there and raises for all teachers eligible to vote, or so I guess. Of course, they also favor the Green New Deal that would get rid of all fossil fuels, millions of jobs and sanity to be replaced by totalitarianism and ruin accomplishing nothing much.
The strange thing is President Donald Trump, seen as a golden-haired fool next to all these intellectual wonders, has helped give us the lowest unemployment and highest wages in decades and the best economic benefits for African-Americans in history. Instead of submerging capitalism, he helped buoy it and our living conditions by reducing regulations and taxes.
Here are some principles leftists should learn: That government is not God and will often make problems worse instead of solving them. That overwhelming, hurried change will inevitably produce unintended consequences, that incrementalism allows for the repair of mistakes as they happen and that citizens have rights and brains.
They should also listen to the president of Denmark who tried to convey to Sanders that prosperous Scandinavian countries are not socialist and to the president of Venezuela who says his country is an example of democratic socialism that will sooner or later defeat the starvation he won’t admit the socialism caused.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service; firstname.lastname@example.org.