Thursday, November 19, 2015

What's the Holdup?

Back in the halcyon days of summer--when he was drawing huge crowds of young people and celebrities were tweeting their support for him every day--Bernie Sanders promised a "major speech" on how he envisioned Democratic Socialism to work in the United States.  That speech was promised in a "couple of weeks" back in July--along with Sanders introducing a single-payer medical system bill he likes to call "Medicare For All".  But here we are in mid-November and there has been no "major speech" and no "Medicare For All" bill.

The folks at noticed the same thing this week and asked the Sanders campaign staff about that.  The staffers claim the speech is "almost ready to go"--but Bernie is still working on it.  In last Saturday's debate, Sanders could provide no specifics as to his tax plan--joking top end rates would be less than those under "Socialist President Eisenhower".  Politico believes that Sanders is getting cold feet about laying bare all that he believes in.  But I think the delay is due to a much simpler--and less emotional--reason: They can't get the numbers to add up.

Remember a couple of months ago when the Wall Street Journal ran an article claiming that Sanders' campaign proposals would cost $18-TRILLION?  All of his supporters immediately dismissed the figures as "scare tactics".  But what if in putting the pen to paper, those in the campaign realized that the Journal was correct--and may have actually been conservative in their cost estimates?

Keep in mind that Bernie Sanders wants the Federal Government to take on the costs of all medical care for 360-MILLION residents ($3.8-TRILLION annually), the entire cost of college tuition for all students ($62.6-BILLION annually), forgive all of the current student loan debt ($1.2-TRILLION), and provide free child care ($18,000 per child annually).  And that is before increasing the payments for Social Security, unemployment insurance and food stamps and committing to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, building high speed rail and increasing local transit.

The non-specific plan calls for all of that spending to be balanced out by hyper-taxing the rich and corporations and ending subsidies for everything from oil drilling and ethanol production to milk pricing.  But what if the 90% tax bracket and the penny-per-financial trade "fee" on Wall Street aren't going to be enough--or even close to enough?  How then do you sell this Socialist plan to people when you already have an $18-TRILLION budget deficit?  I guess you could always have Bernie Sanders' "major speech" followed by a two-hour lecture from Keynsian Economist Paul Krugman about how government debt doesn't matter--because you can always just print more money (although that devalues the currency and defeats the purpose of a $15 an hour minimum wage by reducing buying power and really just keeping the poor, poor).

So until they suspend the laws of mathematics and economics, we will probably be waiting awhile on Bernie Sanders' "vision" for a Democratic Socialist America.  Of course, I'm sure the Brothers Grimm took awhile to write their fairy tales too.

No comments:

Post a Comment