Donald Trump

Trump and Sanders Offer Illusions of Solutions

They promise a world they cannot possibly provide.


Donald Trump
Credit: Gage Skidmore / photo on flickr

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the antithesis of the conventional politician. They are not programmed, their lines are not focus-group tested, and they take positions far outside the mainstream. But the victory speeches they gave in New Hampshire Tuesday night showed they have mastered the oldest political trick of all: promising things they can't deliver. 

Trump showed the most chutzpah, conjuring gaudy images of the wonders he will bestow. You name the problem, and he will banish it. "We're going to take care of our vets," he said. "We're going to have strong, incredible borders," he said. Building a wall, he said, is "not even a difficult thing to do."

This 2,000-mile long barrier will stop not only illegal immigration but drug smuggling: "We're going to end it at the southern border. It's going to be over." Noting the prevalence of heroin use in New Hampshire, he said, "We're going to work with you people to help you solve that very big problem and we'll get it done."

The Islamic State? "We're going to knock the hell out of them. And it's going to be done the right way." In every realm, Trump pledged, "we're going to win so much, you are going to be so happy, we are going to make America so great again, maybe greater than ever before." 

You may note that the absence of specifics in this shriek of ecstasy. Trump is like a car salesman trying to sell a car that not only hasn't been built but hasn't even been designed, by a company that has never built a car. The buyer isn't even told what kind of vehicle it will be or how much it will cost. Or maybe it's not a car but just some means of transport. 

Anyone who tried to get Trump the businessman to approve a project based on such vapor would be promptly evicted. This is not the art of the deal. It's the art of the con. 

His website goes into slightly more detail but fails to make his promises look plausible. The Tax Policy Center in Washington says his tax plan, which he bills as revenue-neutral, would cut receipts by 22 percent.

Trump told The New York Times editorial board he would slap a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods. Many of his supporters would love that, but he later denied saying any such thing, despite recorded proof: "They were wrong. It's The New York Times. They are always wrong." So it's anyone's guess what he would do about China. 

Sanders was not to be outdone in promising the moon. He vowed to "make public colleges and universities free," slash student loan debt, "rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, increase Social Security benefits, and "guarantee health care for all" through a single-payer system. 

Unlike Trump, he does not shrink from specifics. But, like the poet T.S. Eliot, he evidently thinks that "humankind cannot bear very much reality." So his proposals include a giant heaping of pixie dust. 

The tax increases that are supposed to fund "Medicare for all" would not suffice. The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget figures that over 10 years, the revenue would fall $3 trillion short of covering the cost. That's the optimistic view. A more pessimistic estimate comes from economist Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University, who favors a single-payer model. He calculates the gap at $14 trillion over a decade. 

Fattening retirement checks would also be expensive, and Sanders wants additional tax increases to pay for them. The resulting rates would be so high as to be not only punitive but economically harmful. 

A household whose income exceeds $250,000 would face marginal rates ranging from 62 percent to 77 percent, according to website The maximum rate on capital gains would nearly triple. 

Sanders doesn't burden his audiences with the negative effect these enormous tax increases are bound to have on the economy. Even liberal economists acknowledge that high rates discourage work, saving and investment, while fostering wasteful tax dodges. 

Nor does he admit that getting them through Congress—even a Democratic Congress, which is unlikely—would be impossible. Everything is supposed to happen through the "political revolution" he sees shimmering on the horizon. 

A lot of voters are drawn to these candidates because they are sick of being let down by elected leaders. But if they think Trump or Sanders will redeem their faith, they are in for a big surprise.

© Copyright 2016 by Creators Syndicate Inc. 

NEXT: Antonin Scalia vs. Donald Trump

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  1. Chapman has made the remarkable discovery that campaign promises are generally not kept. Next, he’s planning on learning to count to ten.

    1. It gets tricky after five. You’ve got both hands out, but you might suffer a lapse in concentration at just the wrong moment, and BAM: Your seven has just become a two.

      1. I promise if I become President of the USA that as part of my math policy to have each citizen have ten fingers on each hand

      2. My hands go to 11, for when you really need that extra bit.

        1. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

          1. That’s half of the allusion.

        2. If I count with my hands in my pockets, I also get a total of 11…

    2. According to Politifact, Obama has kept 45% of his promises.

      1. They’re being generous, aren’t they?

          1. I especially love the Sanders / Trump unemployment statements, which are based on the same numbers.

            1. How about Hilary getting “half-true” for a statement with no data?

              1. my favorite was carly getting the only “pants on fire” on the page for saying obamacare hasnt helped anyone. I think that’s probably a little too subjective to be a politi *fact*, but their rejoinder was “oh just tens of millions”. im thinking this may not be an entirely nonpartisan group.

      2. For an example of PolitiFact’s “fact-checking” skills, check out this one. Romney said that the CBO said that up to 20 million people will lose health insurance due to Obamacare. Politifact investigates, discovers that indeed that was the top CBO estimate, and while Romney did say “up to,” they say “it’s the most extreme outcome of the five presented, and it’s not the primary estimate,” so they rate it as “false”!

        In other words, you can quote a high estimate from the CBO prefaced by “up to,” which is undeniably true, and still be called a liar by Politifact. Amazing.

  2. OT: Warty’s underwater spectacular has been canceled…

    1. I read that as ‘Warty’s underwear spectacular’

      1. *speculum.

  3. I’m not sure Trump believes what he says.I’m very sure he doesn’t It’s hard to tell what you would do if elected he’s so slimy.Sanders ,does. He deeply believes he can raise taxes by massive amounts and provide all the free shit he promises. Then there’s the huge numbers of new government workers needed to over see every one’s lives.Lenin would be proud.

    1. He’s preferable to Hillary.

      1. “He’s preferable to Hillary.”

        The faintest of faint praises.

        Given our system of distributed power, I believe Castro or Mao would be preferable to Hillary.

        1. While few despise the Hildebeast more than I do, I think that she could be better for the sole reason of her personal greed. Sanders would burn down the country, but she would only burn down those parts that didn’t pay the Hildegeld.

          1. Hillary will continue and amplify the damage that Obama has done to our reputation abroad and our relationship with world leaders. They must know how corrupt and calculating she is. She’s not trustworthy and, as such, could never come to any significant agreement that was not merely based on mutual graft. Hillary is a sly backstabber that no informed statesman would trust. She would continue to use her greatly increased influence and power to enrich herself and be an embarrassment to us all. The Clintons would be enormously worse than Bernie Sanders–and that’s saying something significant.

            1. They must know how corrupt and calculating she is.

              Justin Trudeau
              David Cameron
              Francois Hollande
              Jean-Claude Junker
              Vladimir Putin
              Xi Jinping

              She’d fit in just fine. They’d probably welcome her as ‘someone reasonable they can do business with’.

              1. shes most definitely not an idiologue

        2. Given our system of distributed power

          The 19th century is thataway, bub.

  4. Of course Trump is making fantastical promises. It’s called an “opening ask”. He’s staking out a negotiating position and then he will move towards the center when the time comes to deliver. He is a businessman and a deal maker, compromising is what deal makers do. Anyone who confuses Trump’s real-estate-shark cynicism with Bernie’s pie in the sky idealism is not paying attention.

    1. So you know from all Trump’s previous political experience that he’s just staking out a negotiating position but since Bernie has no previous political experience he doesn’t know how the system works and doesn’t know the President has to compromise with Congress? Trump knows the coin of the realm in Washington isn’t the coin of the realm, but Bernie doesn’t? If you think the fact that what Bernie’s offering isn’t economically feasible or even mathematically possible has a damn thing to do with whether or not it’s politically doable you’re either 7 years old or you haven’t been paying attention. Running a profitable business ain’t got shit to do with how things get done in Washington and Trump can’t even scratch together enough political capital to ante up at the big boys table. Like I’ve said before, they’re going to laugh in his face, stick a “Kick Me” sign on his back and pull his underwear up over his head.

      1. Trump would likely use the Reagan strategy of going ‘over the heads’ of Congress to the people. Not sure Trump would be very successful.

      2. I am not claiming that Trump will be succesful. You may even be right that Bernie understands the Washington game better than Trump. My point is simply that pointing out that Trump is making promises he can’t keep is completely irrelevant.

        I also don’t think Bernie ever really thought he could win the nomination, I think he just wanted to gain visibility and move Hilary to the left. In that position playing the idealist makes a lot of sense. Even now I am not sure he really thinks he can win the nomination.

      3. I think you both have parts of the truth. Trump is indeed negotiating, but remember, Sanders is a True Believer. He’s been impervious to the failure of socialism throughout most of his life, so why assume he’s some sort of realistic political operator?

  5. This just in: Prof Melissa Click has been remarkably consistent in displaying her trademark cunty behavior.

    1. No thanks. I’m not gonna
      ::dons sunglasses::
      Click that.

    2. She’s currently on paid vacation like a damn cop. She also posted a “sorry, that’s not the real me” type thing in the Columbia Tribune Sunday.

      1. It’s never the ‘real’ them when caught.

        1. Of course not. The mask came off so now she has to pay a PR firm to flood her google search results with the “real” her.

      2. Was it a doppleganger? A simulacrum, perhaps?

        Please, pull the other one, it has bells on.

    3. Click appears to be a rabble rousing malcontent who is using her influence over young adults to irritate the big bad system for little other reason than her hostility toward it. Her focus seems to be protesting in general with the issues being mnerely incidental. Maybe she gets points with her peer group for screaming at cops merely because they want her, and her ideological progeny, to stay off the street. She will never get anyone to agree with her. Her only hope for victory is to force others to give in to her demands created an increased level of animosity and enmity. What a loser.

    4. Thank you for posting that, I was hoping Reason would have an updated article on that. She is absolutely detestable. How is she employed and not in jail?

  6. Campaigning pols are full of shit. And in other breaking news, water is wet. Film at eleven.

  7. iow they are just like all the other candidates and the sitting president.

  8. Lies and the love of power. If you have one you always have the other.

    Maybe RC could compose another iron law and add it to the list.

  9. Drudge wins clickbait of the year headline.

  10. You know who else wasn’t able to meet their expectations…

    1. Viktor Frankenstein?

      1. But he had an enormous schwanzstuker

  11. Donald Trump says all kinds of crazy shit, but the thing that’s going to end his campaign is basically true– that the Iraq War was a colossal error and that GWB never “kept us safe.” Still, it was nice for this anti-militarist to see Trump take it to these warmonger twats in the RP.

    Can we go back to talking about Cuba again? I enjoy the Harper’s Index so if we were to ascribe a ratio between the number of people who died in George Bush’s Iraq fiasco to the number of political prisoners who died in Castro’s prisons during that same period what would that number be? 500:1, 1000:1, 10,000:1, a DIV by zero error?

    1. It would be just as honest and more fun to compare the number of people that Stalin killed to the people that died during GWB’s Iraq war during the same period. Then we could do Mao.

      1. Do you think that ratio is greater than one? Probably. Greater than 10? Maybe not.

        1. I’m pretty sure the *national* socialists killed a good 3 million in the camps alone. That doesn’t count those murdered by starvation or gun after being walled up in ghettos or machine gunned in the forest. It also doesn’t count the deaths caused by *their* ‘war of agression’.

          Soviet Union has between 8 – 61 million murders to its name *inside the SU alone* (not counting their own ‘wars of agression’ like Afghanistan or Mongolia). 20 million is the accepted number.

          Mao figured he’d have to kill 50,000,000 of his own people ‘to facilitate agrarian reform’. Note that these wouldn’t be ‘oh we got carried away’ type murders but a deliberate plan to decimate his own population to bring about his vision. All in all, from land reform to the cultural revolution they got a good 6 mil – at least as good as the nazis.

          Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge got around 2 million out of a population of 7 million.

          Then there’s Korea, Vietnam, Romania, Bulgaria, East Germany, Ethiopia, Hungary, Tibet.

          But hey – you go ahead and continue looking like an arse when 5 minutes on Wikipedia alone can show you how idiotic your planned post is going to be.

          Quite simply, the sort of death and destruction ‘western capitalism’ brings about – which you fuckers like to whine about constantly – is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the misery and murder that your favorite economic system brings as a matter of course.

          1. I’m pretty sure the *national* socialists killed a good 3 million in the camps alone.

            The conventional estimate is 12M but new research is pointing towards 20M.

            Soviet Union has between 8 – 61 million murders to its name *inside the SU alone* (not counting their own ‘wars of agression’ like Afghanistan or Mongolia).

            Some of the Nazi casualties may be Soviet casualties ? For example, the Soviets encouraged the Poles to rise up against the Germans during the Soviet invasion of Nazi-occupied Poland. When the Poles rose up in the Warsaw Uprising, the Soviet Army stopped and watched for 63 days while the Nazis put down the uprising. Stalin did this because the Polish Home Army and the Polish Underground State owed its allegiance to the Polish Government-in-Exile in London and wanted to allow the Nazis to eliminate the Polish leadership in order to install a pro-Soviet government.

            So should we count them as Nazi or Soviet victims?

            1. Who pulled the trigger?

    2. As a percentage of the population, what would the ratio be?

      1. “The ratio is too damned high!”

    3. It seems that you always build a strawman and then pat yourself on the back as if you’ve scored positive points for your ingenuity. Will you ever discuss in good faith? Can you?

      Comparing a war to a prison is not even apples to oranges. It is more like comparing apples to automobiles. You are suggesting (or claiming) that because people died in both cases, socialism and its monstrous evil is morally superior than a constitutional republic because one administration (well two, lately) engaged in a war of questionable necessity.

      1. I just think right-wingers who think this free-market utopia is all that are just a bit too cocky. This country has plenty of blood on its hands– maybe not comparable to Stalin or Mao, but close enough to stick my finger down my throat when I watch people talk about American exceptional ism. It’s exceptional, alright.

        1. You’re convincing me that most socialists are just angry malcontents who hate freedom because they are unable to strive in it. Instead, they (and you) dream of egalitarianism which they hope will redistribute wealth their way that they have not and cannot earn on their own. What you miss is that egalitarianism will and does stunt the production of wealth such that everyone becomes equally poor and you lose what you tried to steal from others because those other refuse to work hard and smart just to give away the fruits of their intellect and labor to anry malcontents.

        2. Johnson killed far more in Vietnam but that’s OK because he destroyed so many more lives back here with the great new deal.

          1. Vietnam doesn’t count because there were no WMDs found in Iraq. Amirite?

      2. Comparing a war to a prison is not even apples to oranges.

        A tried and true rhetorical technique… And_you_are_lynching_Negroes

  12. “A household whose income exceeds $250,000 would face marginal rates ranging from 62 percent to 77 percent, according to website The maximum rate on capital gains would nearly triple.”

    That would be terrible. 13% below what they were during the Great Famine of the Eisenhower Years. And you mean tax rates on capital gains assessed during the Sanders Maoist Cult would come to resemble the tax rates that are imposed by people who actually labor? That’s sick! Probably everyone in the Ukraine is going to up and croak on 1/20/2017 if we elect someone who is going to do that.

    1. Here you go being disingenuous again. Fewer people were subject to income tax during the fifties. Few taxpayers actually paid those outrageous rates because of the deductions allowed. But that’s not even a good argument on your part because the federal government does not deserve to take so much of a household’s earnings.

      Additionally, few people would continue to be so productive if they had to merely give it to Uncle Sam. High rates would discourage productivity and encourage tax evasion as well as outsourcing and flight of capital by individuals and corporation to other countries more amenable to productivity and ingenuity. But you knew this already because it’s what’s happened time and time again when socialist/communist governments come to power.

      1. Here you go being disingenuous again.

        What, a socialist being disingenuous?

        No Way!!


    2. Uh, the vaunted 91% income tax rates under Eisenhower kicked in at $3.4M (for married filing jointly) in 2015 dollars, not $250k. $250k in 1952 dollars would have been at a 48% rate. And the lowest bracket was 22.2%. Try telling some dirt poor people that they get to pay 22.2% rates on their first dollar of income. And that level of tax produced about the same amount of revenue as a percent of GDP as our current structure, which should tell you something about the incentives it creates.

      1. Look, Adam: if we were able to collect 7% more of the GDP in tax revenue then we would be able to afford Medicare for All and completely obliterate the national debt. It’s science.

    3. Why is it that you’re always on about taking more from the ‘rich’ but never, NEVER! about taking less from the poor?

      . . . would come to resemble the tax rates that are imposed by people who actually labor?

    4. None of your so called laborers pays anything over 25% marginal, even fewer pay in the double digits and most don’t even pay at all. But they get their goodies. Oh yes they get their sweet, sweet tran.fer payments

      1. Yeah, he fails to mention that the lowest federal bracket is 10%, and a good chunk of those people are going to get that tax back (and more!) through transfer payments (welfare/food stamps/etc) or payment in kind (sec 8 housing breaks) – so that their effective tax rate is *negative*.

        But hey – its the Kochs (but not the Buffets!) that are assholes for getting their effective rate cut down from over 50%.

        1. “it’s the kochs that are the assholes”
          go on…

    5. One of the reasons the 91% tax rate worked is that Europe and Japan had recently been carpet-bombed, firebombed, and nuked into poverty. If we could do that again and this time add India and China, we could have the Eisenhower tax rates again.

      It’d be good for me, since during the Eisenhower era, middle class people could eliminate their income tax altogether through paper losses.

      It’d be good for you, too, AmSoc, since the wealthiest paid less under Eisenhower than they do now.

      But it’d be good for the poor since they paid more. A lot more. They’d sextuple what they’re paying now.

  13. Hihn and AmSoc – did someone unlock the basement door?

    1. There’s nothing wrong with Hihn – he just doesn’t like us because we’re rude and crude and ‘give the party a bad name’.

  14. Everything is supposed to happen through the “political revolution” he sees shimmering on the horizon.

    You misspelled “Bolshevik.”

  15. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ? http://www.Workpost30.Com

    1. You guys must be pissed that bernie wants to raise taxes then.

  16. Bernie’s slogan should be a take off of the DMX song, “X is gonna give it to ya”.

    Cause, ya know….if you want something, Bernie’s gonna give it to ya, Bernie’s gonna give it to ya, Bernie’s gonna give it to ya, Bernie’s gonna give it to ya….you get the idea.

  17. if you look at sanders, he basically admits that he can only do any of this if he gets swept into office and then that majority stays actively involved every step of the way. if they go back to their lives, which is always what happens, the suggestion is it won’t work. so what i take from that is his confidence in himself as a politician is pretty nonexistent.

  18. When in doubt, eat pizza!

  19. I hate to defend Trump, but he said we should “bomb the ess” out of ISIS. At the time, this sounded stupid.

    Then Paris happened. Suddenly, the US decides we can bomb ISIS oil tanker trucks after leafleting the drivers.

    Uhhhh, why weren’t we doing that before?

    If you’re going to bomb an enemy and get the bad press, at least be serious about it.

  20. They promise a world they cannot possibly provide.

    We saw this with Obama. If his failures didn’t wake the public up, nothing will.

  21. So who is Chapman FOR?! Two points:
    (1) If (against the odds I admit) one candidate were to hack away $trillion from the Pentagon’s budget who would it be? In descending order: Trump, Cruz, Bush, Rubio.
    With so little of mandatory outlays discretionary a Hail Mary like that is our only practical chance.
    (2) The whole point of sequester is Washington can’t go back and say “Ow. Ow. It hurts. Put the spending back.” Yet all these Repukes rail against abiding by the sequester when it comes to the pentagon. To hope against hope a new pres says: “Of course sequesters are tough. Live with it. No military exemption” the only chance (even if slim) lies with Trump.
    Chapman’s shooting fish in a barrel (unrealistic campaign promises, Captain Obvious) fails to point to WHO is the least worst.

  22. til I looked at the draft which had said $8465 , I accept that my friends brother was like trully making money in their spare time on their apple labtop. . there aunt haz done this less than 1 year and recently cleard the loans on there house and bought a gorgeous Saab 99 Turbo . view ….

    Clik this link in Your Browser

  23. Fantastic work-from-home opportunity for anyone… Start working for three to eight hr a day and get from $five-$ten thousand each month… Regular weekly payments… You Try Must…………


  24. Sanders and Trump represent the choice between European-style “democratic socialism” and Chinese-style “state capitalism”. Both would be a historically logical follow-up to Obama’s trashing of American exceptionalism and both could extend the life of the bankrupt welfare state by a few decades.

  25. just before I saw the bank draft that said $7985 , I have faith …that…my friend woz trully making money in there spare time at there computar. . there uncle haz done this 4 only twenty months and just now repaid the mortgage on there mini mansion and bought a brand new Dodge . learn the facts here now……

  26. Dream On?:

    “……In your dream, Donald Trump is not a fraud,
    In your dream, Sanders is not a fraud,
    In your dream,all the rest are not frauds,
    In your dream, Obama is not a fraud,
    In your dream, Reagan was not a fraud,
    In your dream, all the rest were not frauds,

    In your dream, the constitution was not a scam,
    In your dream, the Supreme court is not a scam,
    In your dream, 9/11 was not a scam…….”

    Lyrics excerpted from:

    “Dreams [Anarchist Blues]”:…

    Regards, onebornfree.

  27. Yahoo CEO, Marissa Meyer has gone som far as to Support the practice “Work at home” that I have been doing since last year. In this year till now I have earned 66k dollars with my pc, despite the fact that I am a college student. Even newbies can make 39 an hour easily and the average goes up with time. Why not try this.

    Clik This Link inYour Browser…….

    ? ? ? ?

  28. til I saw the receipt that said $6460 , I did not believe …that…my mother in law woz like they say actualy earning money in their spare time from their computer. . there aunt started doing this for under thirteen months and recently cleard the depts on there mini mansion and bourt a great Aston Martin DB5 . go to this website…

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  29. Chapman must be drinking again. Every significant promise that Trump has made is easilly doable. End of story.

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    All we need is a mobile or PC with a very good internet connection. There are many applications by which we can enjoy videos, our missed programs, live streaming etc.

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