Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Wins Everything—by Promising Everything

Points to countries moving away from socialism as a reason to get closer to it.

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truthout

Last night, CNN and Facebook hosted the first of six scheduled Democratic primary presidential debates, featuring Hillary Clinton, the long-time frontrunner, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who's emerged as her main challenger, Martin O'Malley, who hopes the debate will give him a Carly Fiorinia style bump, and two other candidates, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, who like O'Malley are also polling in the low single digits.

Unfortunately for O'Malley and the other also-rans, Bernie Sanders appears to have won the debate. He won the post-debate Facebook poll and did best in a number of post-debate focus groups. Professional political observers say Hillary Clinton won the debate, but they seem to be alone in that assertion. Bernie Sanders was also the most Googled candidate for most of the debate. His campaign says he raised $1.3 million in the four hours after the debate ended.

What did Sanders say at the debate? Most of the same stuff he's been saying for years, if not decades. Asked early on whether being a "democratic socialist" might hurt, Sanders said it wouldn't once Americans learn what "democratic socialism" is. He didn't quite define it, so much as he pointed to places like Sweden and Denmark as examples ("We're not Denmark," Clinton said after being asked if anyone else, like Sanders, rejects capitalism).

Sanders' invocation of Scandinavian countries to defend his "democratic socialist" label is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst. Regardless, it's not based on reality. Sweden hasn't been a socialist standard-bearer anywhere but in the uninformed minds of American leftists for some time, while Denmark's also tried deregulation to boost their economy. The welfare states in Scandinavian countries, such as they are, have helped keep birthright citizenship off the table. None of the Scandinavian countries have it. And while Sanders says he wants to bring America's undocumented immigrants "out of the shadows," he has not expressed support for any reforms that would make it easier for immigrants to come to the country legally moving forward.

Does it matter that Sweden and Denmark aren't as socialist as they once were, and as American leftists imagine? Probably not. It hardly even matters to Sanders that the failure of socialism in Sweden and Denmark helped bring on neoliberal reforms. Sanders, in his incredible and largely unprecedented rise in the polls, has found the missing element that's kept previous potential self-identified "democratic socialist" candidates from doing well in the polls—he offers free things not just for America's poorest and neediest, a social safety net not just for those who need it, but for every American, no matter how firmly they're entrenched in the middle class, or even if they're rich.

Asked at the CNN debate why Sanders wants to pay for Trump's children's college education, the candidate responded that people like Trump would pay higher taxes. Yet richer people are, generally, better at accessing services and resources, private and government, than poorer people. That's why they tend to be richer. So if income inequality is a problem for Sanders, offering free stuff across class lines is likely only to exacerbate it. But it also translates well in polling.

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  1. Asked early on whether being a “democratic socialist” might hurt, Sanders said it wouldn’t once Americans learn what “democratic socialism” is.

    Unfortunately, that’s likely true.

    1. Since it is whatever Sanders needs it to be in the moment as he is unable to define it when asked, it is whatever is acceptable to the audience he is speaking toward.

      1. He has to be elected befor we can see what he means to do?

    2. “Democratic socialism” is putting the government in charge of everything, which has always resulted in the country going belly-up, but putting the right Right People in charge so this time it will work.

      And yeah, with enough promises of Free Stuff, it’ll sell. It always does.

  2. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

  3. Yet Danes and Swedes doing about as well in the US, if not better, than they do in their homelands is conveniently ignored. Seeing Clinton destroyed would be delicious, but this guy is more than just a self serving power luster like Hillary. He literally would destroy the US. Sorry Nick.

    1. Bernie Sanders is the libertarian moment.

      1. It’s true, just as AMSOC. He’ll explain that socialism and libertarianism are *basically* the same thing.

    2. Sorry Nick???

      He is a dangerous idiot. It is scary and upsetting that so many people think that Sanders would be anything but a disaster as president. How can people actually believe that you can simply make the things he proposes happen without turning the US into a third world country?

      1. He’d need help from Congress.

        1. That’s true. Much of his agenda would be very unlikely to pass if he did somehow manage to get elected. Still troubling to see so many people getting all excited about him, though.

          1. He’s going to make things fair. Who doesn’t want life to be fair?

            1. Anti-communists?

            2. Who doesn’t want life to be fair?

              Just us big meanie Koch sucking glibertarians. /tard

          2. I bet he would get 25% of the total national vote. He’s completely unelectable nationally, most people who I’ve talked to who “like” him have zero idea what his positions actually are and those positions will be exposed in a national campaign. The only redeeming quality about Bernie is he is an unabashed nomask wearing socialist, imho his popularity is due to his lack of media exposure.

            1. He actually talks about the nuts and bolts of specific policy points and gleefully talks about burdensome tax hikes on the “rich” he’s not nearly as vague as someone like Hillary or Barack would be.

              1. He actually talks about the nuts and bolts of specific policy points and gleefully talks about burdensome tax hikes on the “rich” …

                The last thing I read about his specifics, he wanted to raise Fed spending by about 50% over Obama’s last budget, and taxes by about a third.

                I can’t fathom the electorate that looks at the last eight years, and decides the problem is that the Gov’t needed to be spending 50% more money, and screw worrying about the Debt. Then again, I can’t understand an electorate that looks at this generation’s version of Teapot Dome—selling the influence of her office for charitable donations (bribes) to her foundation—and says, “Yes! We need more of this!”

            2. “I bet he would get 25% of the total national vote”

              Probably, but I’m afraid that in 50 years his views will be “mainstream.”

          3. He’s good on pot and defense spending. And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

          4. It’s mostly progtards and college kids, though. If Bernie gets the nomination, he’ll look enviously at Mondale’s electoral showing.

          5. Much of his agenda would be very unlikely to pass

            Post-Obama, how much of his agenda would actually need to pass Congress, and how much could he do unilaterally via regulation and executive order?

        2. He’ll use EOs. The precedent has been set and he’ll justify it by saying that lobbyists paid for by big corporations and the super rich are stopping Congress from enacting the will of the people.

        3. Why? Will he not have a pen and a phone?

      2. I agree. My wish is for the Ds to go back to nominating bs artists that at least give nod to the superiority of free markets. Maybe it’s time for a full out battle over central planning vs freedom.

        1. Maybe it’s time for a full out battle over central planning vs freedom.

          We already had that. It was called the Cold War.

          1. Yeah? Who won?

            1. Well, finally those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes, am I right, comrades?

    3. Yet Danes and Swedes doing about as well in the US, if not better, than they do in their homelands is conveniently ignored.

      ^ This

      Please don’t turn this into what I and many others finally escaped.

      It’s so tiresome to see American socialists waffle on about the wonders of Scandinavia when they have no clue at all why Scandinavia isn’t a smoking ruin filled with starving people and coal smoke.

      Here is the truth one last time: In order to get their government run eugenics and welfare programs, the socialists in Scandinavia had to sell out and allow corporations free reign with little regulation or taxation. This happened in the 1930’s.

      Those relatively free private corporations then employed the majority of Scandinavians, who were then in turn fleeced via taxes to pay for the programs the socialists wanted.

      This is the only thing that has slowed down the descent into ruin and starvation so typical of socialist states, but it’s still progressing in that direction.

      The cure has been to increase taxation on workers, and later on corporations, and privatize the already few non-privatized public services. Most recently the Danish Socialist Party (the straight up socialists, not the “democratic” socialists) privatized government owned energy plants by selling out to Goldman Sachs.

      Yet more and more Scandinavians are getting paid by the state, either to manage behemoth social programs, or because they simply can’t or won’t work.

      Continued..

      1. Continued from above..

        The situation is unbalanced and the scales are tipping in the wrong direction because of the welfare programs (most eugenics programs were finally ended in the 1960’s) still cost more and produce worse results than private enterprise.

        However, because this trainwreck is unfolding in slow-motion, unlike somewhere like Venezuela, socialists all over the world can point to Denmark and Sweden and claim it’s a success. Because it hasn’t led to the demise of the citizens yet.

        What an incredibly low and bizarre bar for success these people have.

        It doesn’t work well, in another few decades it won’t work at all. Please don’t emulate it.

        1. Thank you.

          I try to explain this to people all the time about these democratic socialist states and they just don’t get it or don’t care.

          And since you mentioned eugenics, what a lot of american libs or socialists also don’t realize is that Scandinavian countries (no offense to you) are some of the MOST racist countries in the world. Since racism is such a huge issue in the US, even though we are one of the least racist nations on the planet, you would think someone would mention this, but no its constant praise and upholding them as some kind of paragon among nation states

          1. You’re absolutely right about the racism, no offense taken.

            The eugenics programs resulted in very racially and culturally homogenous populations. Ever wonder why every single Swede you’ve ever met is blonde with blue eyes? Their government set up incentives for people with certain physical and mental characteristics to breed more than others for generations.

            It’s not surprising the same policies also created insular and intrinsically racist people.

          2. I was watching Homo Sapiens 1900 and it basically stated that a lot of these Swedish welfare programs started out as eugenics programs to encourage The Right Sort of People to have more children to outbred The Wrong Sort of People.

  4. Bernie Sanders Wins Everything?by Promising Everything

    Bernie Sanders appears to have won the debate. He won the post-debate Facebook poll and did best in a number of post-debate focus groups.

    The “We Want Free Shit” crowd is won over by the “I’ll Give You Free Shit!” candidate.

    The shocking video and the news, at 11:00

  5. Bernie has a new campaign tour bus: “The Free Shit Express”

    1. Sounds like a parody of an over-the-counter laxative.

  6. He looks like Santa Claus’ demented brother

    1. I see movie potential: The Extortion Clause.

    2. Well he does love traveling the land giving free shit to all the kiddies.

      The only difference is I don’t think Bernie cares whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

      1. Do you have money? Naughty!

        Do you want free shit? Nice!

  7. I’ve always been pretty skeptical of the explanatory power of the “free shit brigade” argument when it comes to actual votes. Sanders and his supporters are trying to prove me wrong.

    1. Be skeptical of the size of the FSB as a percentage of the population, but don’t be skeptical that it exists. From my view, voters on the left will flip flop on everything else they claim to care about, like civil liberties, as long as the candidate/pol is still offering free stuff

      1. Right, I’m skeptical that it explains people’s votes. People still care about ‘honor,’ integrity, likability of the candidate, etc. I disagree that the FSB applies to much of the left; there’s a good reason we always say that many of them are motivated by “feels.”

        1. People still care about ‘honor,’ integrity, likability of the candidate, etc.

          There are two parts to the Free Stuff crowd. One part is the poorfolks who get the free stuff. The other part, the people with honor, etc., are convinced that the poorfolks wouldn’t be poor if they got their fair share of stuff.

    2. Then you haven’t been paying attention for the last 80 years.

  8. Does anyone have a cite that shows what US federal tax revenue would likely be if we went back to those magical “Eisenhower” rates? I have co-worker that lurvs Bernie and when I asked how we could pay for Sanders’ wishlist, his response was, in addition to Sanders’ position on taxing billionaires, to revert to Eisenhower rates and that would “take care of everything”.

    1. Look at tax collections at the time. 17.2% of GDP in 1957, i.e. lower than today.

      1. Tax collections have hovered around 18% since WWII?

    2. I have read many times (including here) that “taxing the rich” is not going to pay for today’s free shit, let alone the trillions more than Bern wants.

    3. There was little difference in average effective tax rates back then as there were way more loopholes and deductions, and the highest rates applied at far higher levels of income (adjusted for inflation) than the top rates today do. Income tax collection as % of GDP is essentially the same today.

      Also, going back to that tax code would differ in many ways from what Sanders advocates. He’s spoken positively of those marginal rates, but also blasts deductions and loopholes, and has called for cutting taxes on lower and (some) middle class workers – the income tax rates paid by those groups were a lot higher in the 50s than they are today. I wish someone would bring this up to Sanders.

      1. Thanks all. That was helpful! Good point that the lower quintiles actually paid federal income taxes in the 1950s.

    4. What people who call for a return of these rates fail to understand (or admit) is that those “Eisenhower” rates – the highest being around 90% – are marginal rates, just like today’s personal tax rates. Not all of the income was taxed at the highest rate. That 90% rate only applied to a very high level of income, plus there were many loopholes. I seem to remember that that highest marginal rate only potentially impacted around 1,000 tax filers but most were able to get around ever paying that rate. We could have a marginal personal income tax rate of 90% that was only applied to taxable income above $1 trillion dollars and it would not bring in one penny.

      Also, I find it interesting that liberals/progs are always saying conservatives and libertarians want to go back to the 50’s (and if they think they are being clever they will say ‘yeah, the 1850’s’) and make it out as a bad thing, yet most of these liberals and progs have no problem with going back to 1950 era tax rates or wanting society to revert back to the way things were back then in other ways. Which side really is for nostalgia?

    5. There used to be investment clubs where the middle class could buy investments in real estate for paper loses that they would use to reduce or eliminate their income taxes.

      The poor paid a higher percentage of taxes then than now.

  9. Sanders’ invocation of Scandinavian countries to defend his “democratic socialist” label is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst.

    No!

    Regardless, it’s not based on reality. Sweden hasn’t been a socialist standard-bearer anywhere but in the uninformed minds of American leftists for some time, while Denmark’s also tried deregulation to boost their economy.

    You misunderstand completely. Sanders is talking about the socialist Scandinavia of lore. You can’t simply point out to a different Scandinavia ?the real one? because that would be misinterpreting what he means.

    1. When even the Swedes have realized the damage 3rd wave socialism did to their country, you’d expect others to accept their rationale. Bernie is looking at an Pinto and saying “Damn, what a fine car. Let’s bring it back.”

      1. A Pinto? Shit, he’s looking at this

        1. A Trabant. I yield.

        2. Here’s a promo video for the ultimate Democrat approved car:

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rAqPMJFaEdY

    2. White People Socialism is the Best Socialism!

  10. Progressives always want to put themselves on welfare. It’s why they talk so much more about “Medicare for all” rather than “better Medicaid for poor people.” They just lump poor people in for the pretense of being the only compassionate ones in the room, when the primary target of their obsessive compassion is themselves.

    Progressives just use the poor and the sick as human shields to protect their own self-interest.

    1. I am sooo borrowing that.

    2. To be fair, their policies usually end up making everyone poor. So it’s at least possible that when they talk about “everyone” and “the poor”, they’re really talking about the same group of people.

      1. That’s because the only equality that collectivism can guarantee, as the last 100 plus years of socialist experiments that have run their course have clearly shown, is that of misery for all….

        1. “Well, that’s true, but it only illustrates the difference between old-timey socialism and shiny-new democratic socialism.”

          1. In shiny-new democratic socialism, you vote yourself into poverty.

  11. ” Professional political observers say Hillary Clinton won the debate, but they seem to be alone in that assertion. ”

    Pfft, Vox writers are professional Hillary Clinton cheerleaders and have been since before she announced her candidacy.

    You are talking about the outlet that published Matt Yglesias’ “you should vote for Hillary because she is the most comfortable breaking the law” article.

    1. Yeah, I read that article. Matthew Yglesias is a self-important fucktard who is wrong about pretty much everything ever. What’s terrifying to me is that he is what passes for “intellectual” in leftist circles.

  12. Free shit for everyone!!!!

    Pay no attention to the giant debt behind the curtain!!!! Pay no attention to your enormous tax bill!!

    1. Libertarian moment.

    2. He told me someone else would pick up the tab.

  13. In a debate before school children, a confectioner will always win over a nutritionist.
    (I wish I could remember who is due the credit)

  14. Has Sanders admitted yet that he will need to massively increase taxes on the middle class to pay for his wishlist, as the Scandinavian countries have done?

    1. yes but he calls it taxing the “rich” ie: everyone not on the dole.

      1. Actually, I just saw an article linked on Facebook where some quack economist was claiming that Sanders’ policies would actually SAVE money.

        Yeah, no fucking shit.

        (To save you some time, the biggest point was that single-payer healthcare is cheaper in other countries than in the US, therefore, overall healthcare costs will go down).

        1. And yet the larger government’s share of national health spending the more health costs go up. It’s hardly a coincidence that health care inflation spiked after 1965.

          1. The New York Fed found that for every dollar in increased Federal subsidized student loans colleges raised tuition 65 cents, for every dollar in increased Federal Pell Grants, colleges raised tuition 55 cents, and for ever dollar in increased Federal unsubsidized loans colleges raised tuition 30 cents.

        2. Lol.

          Like the VA and vermont who scrapped their single payer due to cost

          1. We’re just not single-payering on a large enough scale! MOAR HARDER!!!!11!!!!

            1. Oh my god. I have heard this exact argument made. Single payer doesn’t work with only 700k people. We just need 330 million more people, then it’ll work great.
              WTF?

        3. That economist might want to see the OECD projections on health care spending as European countries age.

        4. (To save you some time, the biggest point was that single-payer healthcare is cheaper in other countries than in the US, therefore, overall healthcare costs will go down).

          The cost is of course everything, the quality doesn’t matter at all..

          1. Access to care as well. And what insurance will cover

            1. Yeah, the healthcare I receive in the US is cheaper, delivered much faster, and is technologically much more advanced than the healthcare I received in Denmark.

              There is no contest. Anyone claiming that socialized healthcare is better, is uninformed or hate sick people.

              1. Anyone claiming that socialized healthcare is better, is uninformed or hate sick people.

                Like Matt Welch.

        5. ‘single-payer healthcare is cheaper in other countries than in the US, therefore, overall healthcare costs will go down’

          Is it really cheaper or is that just the way it looks, as the costs are spread around and hidden?

          Also, look at Japan, a patient now has to pay around 30% of medical costs. Supplemental health insurance is a very lucrative business there. In the end is it really cheaper?

        6. The astronomical drug and medical equipment prices in the US subsidize them for the rest of the world. If the US goes single-payer that party’s over.

  15. Free everything, for everyone, forever!

  16. His campaign says he raised $1.3 million in the four hours after the debate ended.

    And Sanders says capitalism doesn’t work…

    1. Why does he need all that campaign cash when children are starving in america?

      1. Nobody needs 5 choices in Democrat candidate.

  17. The welfare states in Scandinavian countries, such as they are, have helped keep birthright citizenship off the table.

    How in hades have I overlooked this geopolitical development?

    It appears that the U.S. and Canada are the only two [developed] nations in the world that offer birthright citizenship.

    1. To be fair, that’s more of a geographic thing than anything to do with economic development. Almost all countries in the “Old World” do not have birthright citizenship, rich or poor, and almost all the countries in the Americas do.

      1. Yeah, I kind of noticed that. I’m not sure socialism has anything to do with it. It has more to do with bloodline.

        1. It has more to do with Europe always being a potful of little countries with their own cultures, rather than two big diverse countries like North America.

          1. Nitpick: three, not two. Mexico is North America too.

            1. So are Antigua, Barbados, Belize, El Salvador?

        2. And the fact that many European countries have had their borders change multiple times in the past century, which would make birthright citizenship a headache.

    2. NumbersUSA should be glad they don’t have comments enabled or it would be filled with comments from Brazilians on how Brazil is an advanced developed country.

  18. but for every American, no matter how firmly they’re entrenched in the middle class, or even if they’re rich.

    Sanders isn’t that much of a standout on this. I say again, it was mentioned back in the 90s by a Clinton hack (and I apologize, I can’t find the quote) that the Democrats as a party needed to become “the party of government” with the goal of getting EVERYONE some kind of government subsidy. The idea was that restricting government handouts to the poor only stoked class warfare, where giving EVERYONE a handout would marry Americans to the idea of big government, which was the ultimate goal.

    1. This has been an unfortunately effective strategy. You don’t even have to get people comfortable with big government; you just have to get them comfortable with whatever big government program benefits them. See, for example, the “keep government hands off my welfare” refrain at tea party rallies.

  19. BOATS AND HOS!

  20. “We Love Bernie” Social Network Launched for Progressives!

    WeLoveBernie.net is a new, Facebook-like social network devoted to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and progressive causes and it can support multiple languages. Inspired by Bernie Sanders and his message about taking back America for the 99%, the social network offers the bells and whistles of Facebook where users can post profiles and photos, promote their organizations, books, music, artwork, films and other items of interest to this community.

    Join the Progressive Revolution here: http://welovebernie.net/

    1. Your ideology requires violence to implement.

      Bernie Sanders and all of his supporters have failed to study, or just blatantly ignore history. Socialism has a horrible history. It punishes success, and rewards failure.

      Freedom and liberty has done more to lift people out of poverty, while socialism/progressivism has done the opposite. You live this great fiction of socialism and gov’t, which is forced upon individuals, and is at the expense of future generations. You leave them worse off.

      Your wants of currency debauchery, debt, and confiscation of an individual’s property and labor, are just a way to force others to work for the benefit of another. You might advocate progress, but the result is far different.

      Your ideas would fail the basic household test, and would result in financial ruin. Yet no matter the evidence, you continue on, promoting top men as saviors and god like.

      The reason you promote these policies is because you face no consequences. You don’t need to sacrifice your home, or property in order to implement programs, or run government projects. You don’t have to rob your neighbors, but hide behind gov’t as it does your bidding for you.

  21. wow i really can’t stand bernie sanders. he’s totally the democratic donald trump. They both have insane ideas about immigration, they both want people to just trust them that they’ll do everything they’re promising (even though no president has actually done that EVER, these guys are for real this time!), and, of course, they both have terrible hair. i want to not mention that, but it’s soooooo obvious they’re cultivating it to look eccentric or non mainstream, and irritating hipsteresque irony aside, it’s really just objectively ugly.

  22. Asked at the CNN debate why Sanders wants to pay for Trump’s children’s college education, the candidate responded that people like Trump would pay higher taxes.

    So why bother making more money if it doesn’t change my ability to afford the expenses of life, and all that changes is that I pay higher taxes?

    This is beyond the fact that Sanders’ math doesn’t add up.

  23. Anarchy for 2016! Cause fuck these folks who are hell bent on destroying freedom and liberty.

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