Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78 years old, is back in the saddle again after his recent heart attack, attracting 26,000 enthusiasts at a rally in New York City and once more 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 today 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 to me that people who call our president a hater don’t hear the bitter nastiness in Sanders’ voice almost every time he talks and that they don’t catch on that his stereotypical, degrading generalities about free markets are ignorant, immature, hippy-style prejudice, pure and simple. What was recently dumbfounding was when he attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a debate. He angrily belittled her for saying she was a capitalist down to her bones even though she agrees with him on his most absurd policy proposals.
A great Sanders hope is to wipe out all private health insurance and replace it by having Medicare go from helping just the disabled and elderly to serving 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 on the order of 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 some hospitals getting reduced fees might collapse.
That’s not the end of it, of course, because some of the primary candidates also want, as just a few examples, 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 thereby 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 indeed 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. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.