5-4-14 – On the Wealth Re-Distribution Road – With Bernie Sanders

by Chris Campion

One of Vermont’s aging but still marginally feisty Senators, Bernie Sanders, recently took his Progressive dog-and-pony show “on the road” to points other than ones in Vermont to sell his agenda.  For Bernie, the rich don’t pay their fair share (despite all the evidence to the contrary that Bernie happily ignores), so his job is to fight for ever more re-distribution in order to fix the horror that exists in that some people make more money than others.

Not pictured:  An aspiring Senator from Brooklyn.

Let’s take Bernie point-by-point, to better digest the insanity.

Sanders last weekend took his fight for progressive politics to stops in South Carolina, North Carolina and Minnesota. In Charleston, S.C., on Friday, he spoke to a packed meeting at the College of Charleston about the high cost of college education and student indebtedness, the need for a national health care system guaranteeing health care for all and how income and wealth inequality are moving our country toward an oligarchic form of government.

College education:  College costs are high because of federal subsidization and the availability of student loans.  Why do college tuition rates go up at 2-3 times the rate of inflation annually?  Because they can.  The reason is that student loans are a huge part of the average financial aid package and the government is guaranteeing them, so what incentive is there for a school not to build a new cafeteria with huge TV screens and water slides and laser tag if part of their mission is to recruit the largest possible number of qualified candidates, and there are thousands of schools to choose from?  Sanders complaining about high costs of education is like someone complaining about the heat after they turned the thermostat up to 85 degrees.  Sanders is part of the problem, not the fix for it.

As this Pell Grant analysis shows, the more dollars that are available for higher education, whether it’s in the form of a grant or a loan, the price for education goes up:

Since 1982, the cost of attending college has increased 439 percent, more than four times the rate of inflation. Increases in college costs exceed increases in health care costs, which have risen more than 250 percent over the same time period.

Costs have risen because of the expansion of available federal assistance in Pell Grants and student loans.  If you have a business that attracts more customers than it can handle, and those customers are willing to take out loans to buy the product you sell, what incentive is there to reduce the price of your product?  In case Bernie skipped his econ classes (and all the evidence shows that he did), there is every incentive to increase the cost of the product.  Every time you raise the price, you don’t see a decline in enrollment.  So why would a college slow its spending?

Health care for all:  Well, there was health care for all before ACA, there’s just less of it now after ACA, an act that Sanders voted for.  The thermostat analogy applies here, too.  As does a useful idiot analogy.

Bernie's health care for all mantra in full bloom.

Income inequality:  Continuing to bang the inequality drum as a warning about oligarchic government is hilarious in the extreme.  The same government that regulates industries to death can’t complain about regulatory capture, but Sanders here is actually making that argument.  If the SEIU is about fixing income inequality, why are they such a huge contributor to political campaigns,including Bernie’s?  Talk about oligarchical tendencies.  The same pro-labor movements that Bernie has been a big part of are huge participants in the aggrandizement of government, and influence election outcomes.

But the indefatigable Bernie plows ahead:

That evening, he spoke to another large crowd in Charleston at the Longshoreman’s union hall about the need for a massive federal jobs program to address the unemployment crisis. 

Ah, more economic fixes by spending more money taken from the half of the country that actually pays income taxes.  So let me get this straight:  You grow the economy by taking more earnings from people who have jobs, route it through a federal bureaucracy, then pay people to work on dubious federal programs with the dollars other people earned?  All this does is transfer wealth around, it does not grow an economy.  Which means it is a net zero gain in employment, since the dollars taxed to pay for this jobs program aren’t being used somewhere else in

the economy.

He also called for a significant increase in the minimum wage. In Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Sanders met with more than 50 young workers from throughout the South who work at fast-food restaurants.  Organized by the SEIU, the workers are fighting for increased wages and better working conditions.

Yet again, let’s increase the cost of businesses that operate on already-thin margins and wonder why unemployment doesn’t magically go down.  If you raise the cost of something, demand for that product goes down – which negates the reason for hiring someone at any wage level, since fewer people want the product that business is offering.  Did Bernie take any notes in his Econ classes?

Later on Saturday, Sanders addressed a large gathering of students and faculty at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.  In Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sanders joined Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, for a well-attended meeting at the SEIU Hall.  Among other issues, Sanders spoke about the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the need for a constitutional amendment to overturn that decision and for the public funding of elections.

Re-distribute your wealth to me NOW!

Well, the coup de gras:  The same Senator that decries oligarchical government attends a meeting of the largest public-sector union in the country, the same SEIU that gave $28 million to President Obama’s campaign in 2008.  Sanders complains about Citizens United, but attends a meeting of united citizens who spend tens of millions to influence elections and are themselves

the recipients of federal, state, and local paychecks, so their interest in politics is all about expanding government.  I guess the irony is lost here on Sanders, or he just doesn’t care, as long as the size of government increases, he gets re-elected, and he still gets his $174,000 per year salary, with lifetime benefits.

If there’s to be a poster boy for everything that’s wrong with Congress, Bernie should be knocking people out of his way to pose for the camera.

Reprinted with author’s permission from dangerwaffles.wordpress.com.

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