It’s OK to Laugh at Bernie Sanders’ book “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism”
Sen. Bernie Sanders recently hopped over from Vermont to New Hampshire. As a U.S. Senator, he’s plugged in to what’s happenin’ now. Has he heard Biden won’t actually be running for re-election next year? Inquiring minds want to know.
To get ready for a third Bernie presidential bid, I checked out his recent campaign book, “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism.” I didn’t want to help “capitalism,” in this case mega-publisher Crown/Penguin Random House. So I checked it out of my socialist public library. Here’s the cover. Doesn’t he look tough? Ready for a brawl with Big Business?
It’s basically a collection of his old speeches interspersed with nostalgia about his 2000 campaign. A big problem for Bernie is he’s the last of the old-school Wobblie-type socialists hoping to improve the plight of industrial workers. But the Democratic Party and the Left in general have left them behind and moved into wokeness. You saw the Old Bernie in 2016, when he was against open immigration and not into the whole gender policy obsession.
Ironically, most of those blue-collar workers moved on to Trump, who talked about protecting their jobs through tariffs and fighting against exploitation by “Chiiina,” as he pronounced it. Trump is doing it again, recently campaigning in Michigan during the UAW strike. CNBC reported earlier this month, “Trump criticizes UAW leadership amid strike, warns autoworkers’ jobs are moving to China.” Biden campaigned there as well. Bernie also headed to my old home state, telling workers the strike is “a fight against corporate greed.” But if a vote were held today Trump would win most UAW workers, as he did in 2016 and 2020.
Bernie started shifting in 2020, and has shifted a lot more by 2023. As a Vermonter by relocation, he started out backing the state’s lack of gun laws; otherwise he would have been ejected by voters. But now he supports stiff gun control.
In his book, he writes about the need for more funding for public schools. Even though in California our schools are among the worst in the world despite spending $20,000 per student. Yeah, it’s that high. And one of his Bernie’s planks is, “enacting protections for LGBTQ students.” He quoted himself, “Our schools must be safe for all students. Period. It is disgusting that our children must face the terrifying reality of being at risk of being killed in their own schools, and that school districts must resort to measures like this to keep kids safe. We must ensure LGBTQ students can attend school without fear of bullying, and work to substantially reduce suicides.”
If he went into a shot-and-beer bar in my hometown of Wayne, Michigan, site of one of the biggest auto plants being struck, he wouldn’t do too well with that message.
Single Payer Socialism
Naturally, Bernie rants for his Single Payer socialized medicine scheme. He rightly excoriates Big Pharma for “greed,” but he backed forcing all students to get the COVID-19 shots that since have been proven harmful, while filling the coffers of Big Pharma. And we knew early on children had a close to zero chance of dying from the disease.
Moreover, in 2022 California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst calculated a proposed Single Payer proposal, called CalCare, would cost up to an additional $193 billion a year. That’s on top of a general-fund budget of $235 billion in 2022. That is, it could nearly double the levy on taxpayers. Of course, Bernie would say the “billionaires” should pay it. But they’re already leaving the state in droves.
Moreover, California also already takes care of everybody’s medical needs, including all immigrants, through existing programs. Either through Obamacare, or Medi-Cal, the state’s cutsy name for Medicaid.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2021 just 27.5 million Americans lacked health insurance, down from 46.5 million in 2010. And according to MoneyGeek, average health premiums vary by age, from $324 for an 18-year-old to $970 for a 60-year-old. The average is about $500 per month. So to cover all those 27.5 million uninsured, the national cost would be $137.5 billion. Not my solution, but there you have it.
Peacenik to Warnik
Yet Bernie has been a big backer of the Ukraine War, which already has cost U.S. taxpayers $113 billion, and counting. With many billions to come. Plus recovery costs after the war. AOC and her Progressive Squad also are backing the war. Which is weird to me because I grew up remembering all Progressives like Bernie in the 1960s were hippy-dippies marching while smokng dope against the Vietnam War. Now they’re backing risking nuclear armageddon.
Back to health care, Bernie actually was in charge of a socialized medicine system, that of the Veterans Administration, as chair of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee from Jan. 3, 2013 to Jan. 3, 2015. That was precisely the time of what’s now called the Veterans Health Administration controversy of 2014. Numerous scandals hit the system. Which is precisely what would happen should we put Bernie – that is, the government – in charge of the much vaster U.S. health care system. Certainly, the system needs reform. But Bernie would prescribe fiscal leeches.
I’ve been going to the VA for 20 years and can report it got much better after the scandal, especially when President Trump took over in 2017 and invested a lot of money in repairing the damage.
In his book, Bernie rails against the “billionaires.” It used to be “millionaires,” but then he became one. He owns three plush homes. How many do you own? It’s just like how the Soviet bosses always had dachas, palaces out in the Moscow suburbs, and vacation homes in Crimea.
In his book, he says, “Billionaires should not exist. Only by ending American oligarchy can we begin to realize America’s promise.” It’s ironic because the oligarchy, except for Elon Musk, all are left-wing Progressives like Bernie. Without Buffett, Gates, Bloomberg and others funding campaigns for Democrats, Bernie would be in the minority in the Senate, and Trump would be president.
As libertarians long have pointed out, the solution to oligarchs manipulating government is to sharply reduce the government. Not that it’s easy. Especially because the oligarchs get subsidies from the government. Even Musk’s Tesla gets tax rebates and SpaceX is hooked into NASA.
And if we ended the billionaires, the capital funding American industry would just escape to other countries, such as China. How did the Soviet Union fare without billionaires? Which Bernie visited and enjoyed a sauna with Soviet officials in 1988. Bernie praised their socialist system, but said it should be more “democratic.” Which basically is his model for America’s future: the government owns everything, there’s socialism instead of capitalism, but we elect the officials who run that.
Finally, Bernie doesn’t say anything about how the Democratic National Committee aced him out of the nominations he was on the path to winning, instead going with Hillary in 2016, as Donna Brazile later admitted, and Biden in 2020. I laughed when Trump chided him for not objecting to having the nomination stolen from him, again.
Finally, in a book largely on economics, he doesn’t even bring up monetary policy, such as interest rates and inflation. Which I’ll skip so as not to bore myself too much.
Bernie is not nothing but a bundle of contradictions. He’s living in the 1930s, but trying to be “hip” with the kids of 2023. He blabs all the time about the “working class,” but undercuts them at every turn, which is why they’re backing Trump. His main allies are the oligarchs he wants to rob.
He says he’s an Independent, but always votes with the Democrats in the Senate, and runs under that label in the primaries. He wants to turn the USA into a “democratic” USSR. He’s a walking, blabbing joke.
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