Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders's 2020 Presidential Agenda Is a Giant Progressive Wishlist

Medicare for All, free college, breaking up the banks, a $15 minimum wage-the Vermont socialist wants to do it all.

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KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom

Normally when running for president, a candidate chooses one, or perhaps a few, policy areas to prioritize. A campaign may have proposals for any number of other issues, but they tend to be supplementary to the signature ideas. The purpose of such winnowing is twofold. It provides a clear identity for the candidate, focusing both the campaign and voters on a particular message, and it serves as a way of acknowledging the reality that even the most ambitious presidents typically only manage to push through a handful of major policy initiatives.

Bernie Sanders is not a normal presidential candidate, and not only because is a self-declared democratic socialist. The independent Vermont senator, who announced this morning that he would once again run for the Democratic party presidential nomination, appears to be campaigning on a policy agenda that might best be described as a progressive politics "all of the above."

According to The Washington Post, Sanders will not only campaign on the single-payer health care plan he has dubbed Medicare for All. He will also propose a national $15 minimum wage, a massive Green New Deal-style effort to mitigate climate change, the forcible break-up of large financial institutions, paid family leave, leveraging government power to force down drug prices, free public college tuition, ending cash bail and private prisons, legislation to equalize the gender pay gap, reducing corporate election spending, promoting union membership, instituting legal protections for child immigrants, and—and!—expanding Social Security.

Oh, that's all?

To say that implementing such an agenda would be expensive would be to wildly understate its cost and disruptive impact. Sanders' Medicare for All plan would cost about $32 trillion over a decade, according to multiple estimates, which would require more than doubling all individual and corporate income taxes in order to offset. A previous Sanders plan to make tuition at public colleges free would cost the federal government about $47 billion a year. These are just two aspects of his agenda. Viewed as a whole, the Sanders platform amounts to a refusal to accept the possibility of political costs or trade-offs. It is a defiant rejection of practical, realistic thinking, and a plea to not be taken seriously.

Of course, some people do take him seriously. Indeed, Sanders' Gary-Oldman-screaming-"everyone!" approach to agenda-making is probably part of his appeal: He is the rare candidate for higher office who asks for everything. Yet partly because of his do-it-all expansiveness, he will likely get nothing—or very little. Even with a blowout Democratic victory in 2020, it's hard to imagine most of these ideas passing in the Senate. And by emphasizing the totality of his agenda, Sanders has weakened his ability to push for any individual policy change.

Yes, Sanders has been touting many of these ideas for years, and yes, his last campaign for president was similarly overstuffed with what might be generously described as utopian economic policies. And it's also true that the relative success of Sanders' 2016 run helped shape the agendas of the rest of the Democrats' 2020 field. But even with their lurch to the left, those candidates are already downplaying their explicit ties to socialism, and casting Sanders-style ideas such as Medicare for All as aspirational. They are pushing for big policy changes, but they are still, at heart, incremental shifts, focused on a handful of discrete policies, and occasionally even acknowledging that trade-offs might be involved. For all of Sanders' influence on the Democratic party, their campaigns so far are tacit rejections of Sanders-style radicalism.

And in this case, radicalism is the right word. Enacting all or even most of the Sanders agenda would fundamentally transform American life and politics, re-orienting much of the economy around government controlled and funded programs.

Which may be the point. Sanders regularly characterizes his political aims in grandiose terms, focusing less on the effects of specific policies and more on the scale of his ambitions. Announcing his campaign today, he declared that it was about more than beating Donald Trump or "winning the Democratic nomination and the general election." Rather, he said, "Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice." Sanders' priority isn't any particular policy, but the revolution itself.

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102 responses to “Bernie Sanders's 2020 Presidential Agenda Is a Giant Progressive Wishlist

  1. Oh, no. Not looking forward to another several years of Bernie fans.

    1. You not feeling the Bern?

      1. Does the uneasy feeling in my gut count?

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        3. It’s actually that nasty rash on your testicular region.

      2. Oh it burns.

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    4. why does it Bern when i pee?

  2. What does the Bern think about Sullivan v. NYT and its progeny?

      1. Thank you for the link.

        Did you see that he voted Nay on the nomination of Jonathan A. Kobes to a seat on the bench of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals?

        The ABA claimed that Kobes was not qualified.

        I don’t cotton to what the ABA has to say, but Kobes is a swamp creature: Ivy pedigree (Harvard Law) and lots of government work, including a stint as a lawyer for the CIA.

        LC, you can’t support a nomination like this can you?

        The Bern got this one right.

        1. He did. Bernie gets some things right by accident. Even a broken clock tells the time twice a day in a room where a thousand monkeys with typewriters will eventually produce a long-winded manifesto about cow farts and confiscation of private property.

          1. In other words, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile

      2. Did you go through all, what, 1500 of them?

        Wtf? 1500 bills over a 28 year span. That’s probably too many Bills.

        I bet you 80% of those are useless.

        1. (1) the point is that as a Congressman Bernie does not try and stop Congress from addressing 1500 bills which is an outrageous amount of bullshit legislation in 28 years let alone 50 years.

          (2) you can skim thru and see the bullshit positions Bernie takes. Hes a communist and it shows.

  3. We need to be relentless in pointing out that “Medicare for all” is actually “the VA for all.”
    Medicare, for all its many flaws, rides along on top of and in conjunction with insurance and (quasi-) independent providers.
    Once Medicare eliminates private insurance, and private heath care providers and facilities, it becomes the VA. Without the few safety net options available to veterans thanks to the private system.
    Medicare sounds nice and comfortable -x you don’t find out differently until you or people close to you, are on it. By contrast, most everyone knows the VA is hell on a gurney.

    1. This is something that hasn’t been said enough.

      Currently medicare and medicaid are subsidized by everyone who pays private rates – because in most instances they don’t pay enough to cover costs. This is why most providers limit the numbers of medicare and medicaid patients. If you’ve ever tried to get a new doctor on one of those plans, you’d recognize the “not accepting new medicare patients” label.

      Well, get rid of those other patients and suddenly everyone is paying below the break-even point. And what does a doctor do?

      1. He starts thinking about Amway.

      2. I agree, Cyto, but that’s a different argument from the one I’m making.
        Even if Medicare was paying out what private insurance does, the system relies on the (quasi-) private sector. Heavily. And not just for pricing, although that is a huge factor.
        No one gets by on Medicare alone ? you need a prescription plan, and preferably a hospitalization plan. Your options are limited, and vendors (from providers such as doctors and nurses to pharmacists, etc) are forbidden from offering separate plans, but are available to those pre 65.
        I know someone whose prescriptions went up after going on Medicare and being dropped from the pharmacy’s in-house plan.
        The system becomes more regimented, choices are restricted, and private insurance, as per the plan, will go away. It’s the VA. With no back-out, no alternative, and top-down “innovation.”
        A boot, on a human face, forever.

        1. No one gets by on Medicare alone ? you need a prescription plan, and preferably a hospitalization plan.
          Curiously, none of this is mentioned. The whole thing is treated as “free” which it’s anything but. This doesn’t even include Medicare’s record of claims denial. So, the left has to do what it usually does – lie.

      3. Why, as I was once informed by an outraged progressive, she toils away for the pure joy of serving her fellow human beings, without a thought for anything as vile as personal gain!

        1. THIS is what they want all of us to do – just work our hearts out, picking vegetables in the fields, weaving utilitarian cloth for utilitarian clothing, serving the state (i.e., the common good).

          Re Medicare-for all, the doctors and the rest of the medical professionals are going to be the first example. They will end up working in state-run medical clinics, just like auto mechanics work in a dealership, except that their benefits will be determined by the Top People, sitting in Washington.

          At least it is now all out in the open. No more speaking in riddles or metaphors or based on “social science”- they want to transform the society, by destroying it, and they offer an infinite supply of goodies to convince people to buy it. When it fails, they will just hang a lot of kulaks and wreckers with bits of rope lying around.

          Think of it as Western Civilization 2.0 It is a religious vision.

    2. Yes, thank you for pointing that out. A lot of people mistakenly thought “Medicare for all” was just expanding Medicare. In fact, it bore no resemblance to the current Medicare program. I might actually be in favor of allowing people to buy into Medicare, but that is not what is being proposed.

      1. Funny how every single western democracy in the world has health care guaranteed for all of its citizens, except the richest one that has ever existed who says it can’t afford it.

        1. Healthcare is not the same as health insurance. That’s your first mistake.

        2. Note that we also subsidize the rest of the worlds expenses for pharmaceuticals and new medical tech. Without Americans paying to develop new drugs, the rest of the worlds medical costs would skyrocket. Not to mention we have a far higher quality system. Some countries that allow private hospitals have good ones in their private systems, but the public ones are generally FAR worse than what we have here. Rationed care. Etc etc etc.

          Just like with American cars, we spend more than the rest of the world on our cars, but we also have nicer cars! Same with healthcare.

          1. We do not have a higher quality healthcare system. A simple google search will show you that.

            1. Almost all the studies that find American health care substandard use universal health care as a major or the only criteria. But when metrics such as mortality and morbidity, choice, ease to see specialist, emergency care etc the USA far surpasses the other countries on all these metrics. And for innovation it’s not even close. And elsctive procedures, again not even close.

    3. “the VA for all.”

      More like the Indian Health Service for all.

    4. By contrast, most everyone knows the VA is hell on a gurney.

      ‘Most everyone’ doesn’t actually know shit about the VA except what is told to them by those who want to use veterans for political purposes.

      The major problem with VA system is ACCESS – not the care within it (which generally gets high marks from patients for routine and chronic and elderly care – tertiary care not so much). Currently that access is deliberately restricted by design – which means fights about %disability or ‘is this service-related or not’ or ‘what is your income or net worth’ – within a patient base that is mostly lower-income or lower net-worth men. It is not directly a form of capacity rationing.

      That changes 100% with virtually any ‘for all’ change. At that point rationing becomes capacity-based or purely medical – not income or arguments about whether a condition is service-related. That would be a prob if the proposed change is ‘everyone in the US will get medical care at EXISTING VA facilities’. More likely, muni hospitals, public university/research, and non-profit hospitals (combined with VA those are about 70% of existing hospitals – and the US has massive overcapacity in hospital facilities and capital equipment) will reorganize into some sort of ‘public-care’ states/fed network.

      Do I expect you to actually understand that difference? No of course not. Easier to use veterans for political purposes.

      1. I’m a veteran and know lots of veterans. VA health care sucks. Maybe, if you ever so get in, and they actually will pay for it, you might get good care (depends on the facility, a good number suck dick). Please talk to the veteran community, the VA sucks dick. You don’t understand the VA system.And what we are talking about is exactly about access. Doctors and nurses for the most part are professionals, but access is always the hang up and would be for Medicare for all.

    5. I’ve heard socialists claims Medicare is socialist? Socialism is the means of production owned by the “community”, which normally means the government, though not necessarily. However, Medicare providers are usually private, aren’t they? Isn’t there a word for a system where the factors of production are privately owned but controlled by the State as opposed to being owned directly by the State? I’m just glad socialists are honest enough to admit their end goal.

      1. I believe the system name you are looking for is fascism.

    6. This seems a common misconception among people not in the VA system. People don’t realize that when you have private insurance the VA bills your insurance company. The VA has this new Choice program where they can send you out to a private provider if they don’t have a specialist or can’t provide a specific service that you need. I recently got a statement from Blue Cross stating that they denied a charge from the VA because the private doctor I saw was not part of the Blue Cross network at the time. When I called Blue Cross they explained that doctors frequently change networks and when the VA sends me out like that I should check and make sure they are in the Blue Cross network. Fortunately the VA has not billed me for that particular visit nor do I expect them to.

      I have used the VA as my primary medical provider for about 20 years now and overall feel pretty happy with the quality of care I have received. It comes with the same challenges you find dealing with any governmental bureaucracy but I think people would find Medicare for all a better alternative than the present system. That said I don’t support Sanders but more on the foreign policy side of things.

  4. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 Presidential Agenda Is the Entire Progressive Wishlist

    The Lefty wishlist is missing the gulag part for all dissenters.

  5. Bernie won’t place above 3rd in the primaries. Watch.

    1. He was in the top two the last time, and still came in dead last.

  6. So he’s changing his I to a D again?

    It worked so well for him the last time.

  7. Does the free college include forgiving student loans? I ask for Tony, who has 250k worth.

  8. Venezuela’s minimum wage is probably way higher than 15 right now. Way way higher. Does Bernie hate the poor and the unwilling?

    1. Venezuela. You can never be too rich or too thin.

    1. Piece of garbage phone…

      1. test

        Holy shitbags. Need to use the code for the angle brackets rather than just typing them.

  9. I like how he said he’s going to end authoritarian government. SMFH.

  10. Name me something these Tyrants don’t want to control? What is out of limits for their use of violence?

    1. They only want three little things:
      Money. Power. Societal Control.

  11. Socialism is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

  12. You don’t have to drill down to policies, Bernie was explicit in his intentions. He wants to change the nature of the United States.

    He explicitly said he wants to “finish the revolution” to make a nation run on the principles of social justice, racial justice, economic justice, and climate justice. He explicitly throws out the US founding principles for socialist/SJW principles. He explicitly talks about making a new nation through revolution.

    He’s not hiding or pretending to be anything else. He wants to redefine “rights” – and his agenda would require a complete rewrite of the constitution – or just tossing it out and ignoring it, which is more likely.

    1. Exactly. He’s nothing less than what he’s always been, which is a communist. He’s just recently adopted some of the cultural shibboleths along with the economic ones he’s always pushed.

    2. This is the sort of response I’d expect to see at a libertarian publication. Not Suderman’s ‘write about his press release, but don’t make it sound like his press release.’

  13. Where’s my free house and car?

    I’d like a 1950s style mid-century modern ranch house, furnished, with a patio and pool. In the 2 car garage will be a 1959 Corvette and a 1955 Ford pick up.

    1. You will get a yurt in the north used-to-be-woods in order to be near your ‘guaranteed’ job as one of the many who will wipe the accumulated snow off the solar panels that have replaced all the trees. You will be so near your job that you won’t need a car, which have been outlawed along with everything else run off fossil fuels. If you perform well, you will receive a deck of cards and training on how to play solitaire without a cell phone, also banned for using too much electricity.

      1. You forget to mention all the free education he will receive at his ‘camp.’

        1. True: re-education is almost the same as education, according to common core. I can show how I got to the wrong answer, so the wrong answer is right.

  14. When Bernie is President, all buildings shall be of equal height!

    Billionaires shall be abolished!

    All toothpaste shall be Crest Extra Whitening?, and all teeth shall be equally white!

    Millionaires shall be abolished!

    All persons identifying as male shall be of equal size and girth!

    All kilonaires shall be abolished!

    All honeymoons shall take place in Moscow!

    We shall crush the bourgeoisie beneath our bootheels! The blood of landowners, banksters, and your neighbor who outdoes your Christmas display every year shall run red in the streets! Die, capitalists, die! Die! Die! Die!

    1. At the end of it you should be happy to know that your allotment of Victory Gin is up from twice a week to four times a month.

      1. And our chocolate rations will be increased from 30 grams to 20 grams per month.

    2. And I hear he’s gonna pass a law to make death illegal.

    3. What happens if a faction demands Aqua-Fresh?

      1. The Ministry of Love will see to them.

  15. If Dem’s don’t want Bernie they should just appoint Rep. Ilhan Omar as DNC Chairperson. No doubt she’s render a final solution to his candidacy.

  16. You know what he doesn’t want to do?

    Deal with the criminalizing of homosexuality internationally.

    You know who DOES want to do something about it?

    The noted “homophobe” Trump. Funny, huh?

  17. Ahh, Bernie, determined to bring the Venezuelan miracle to the US.

  18. Serious question: How does Bernie get to run as a democrat? He claims to be an independent, whatever the hell that is. Shouldn’t he be forced to go through the whole third party madness?
    Is there no say by the democratic party about who runs on their ticket?

    1. They will treat him even worse this time than they treated him last time, as they have way more woke candidates already running. He also won’t be the sole beneficiary of “Anybody but Hillary” votes. His previous momentum will give him a little boost, but he will finish as a distant also-ran now that the field has a whole bunch of Santas instead of just one.

      1. You can take that to the bank (pun intended)
        Just ask Seth Rich.

  19. Oh, don’t be so hard on Bernie. With the weed liberalisation message and the open borders thing, a fair number of the folks here will vote for him, including most of the Reason staff.

  20. “Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”

    Grandpa Simpson yells at clouds.

    If I’m American, and I hear the word ‘transform’ I’d be a tad worried.

  21. If Bernie’s government owns everything it is socialism. If Bernie’s Government controls everything it is fascism. And if I through myself in front of a bullet train that would be free market! I’m starting to get it now!

    1. If you mean the bullet train in California, it probably won’t even be moving.

  22. Garth Algar got into politics?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne‘s_World_(film)

  23. He left off Free HBO, Free Wifi, and a Continental Breakfast.

    1. ^^^I find your comment to be most amusing.

    2. Those are not for everyone; just the select few

  24. I wonder where he stands on civil liberties issues such as civil forfeiture, Title IX sexual assault policies, eminent domain, legal representation in immigration proceedings, the Guantanamo kangaroo courts, and freedom of speech in universities? And how about foreign policy? Curious that that is not mentioned. Does he have one beyond hating Israel?

  25. Yeah, and the freedom to do what you want, how you want, why you want without the government stealing your money and regulating your life away.

    1. They will have to steal someones money. Why not yours?

  26. “Free”, or low cost college at government expense? Fine by me, with one stipulation: we do what they do in Europe – only the top 20% or so are selected for college-prep high schools and university. The rest are trained in a skilled trade. No enormous loans for degrees that will not pay off and fewer unqualified students matriculate in the first place. Bonus: school choice, including government funded religious schools. Oh, and lower income people pay WAY more in taxes than they do here, albeit with more generous benefits (vacation, parental leave, etc). The left wants us to be more like other Western countries (I’m not entirely opposed to that) and promises all the good stuff with none of the drawbacks.

  27. A gutless and disingenuous fck if there ever was one; his behavior in the face of the DNC’s treatment of him was embarrassing in spectacular fashion. Even for someone who thinks his “ideas” are simply worth talking about (endlessly), I don’t see how he’s taken seriously. His 2020 campaign is the logical extension of his career which has been a decades-long rant with little actual legislative activity.

    In other words, yes, front and center, please.

  28. I think having bernie on the debating stage would be very healthy. The rest of the dems would have to stop and backpeddle a bit in response to his crazy stuff. But even more, it would force the Republicans (who unknowingly are baby socialists) to actually confront these ideas that have infiltrated both parties. It would separate the Republicans worth voting for from those not capable of combating socialism at the most fundamental level.

    Yeah, I know. The Republican party is a meager selection to choose from, especially if no one decent (and Bill Weld is not decent) challenges Trump.

    RAND PAUL FOR PRES!!!

    1. 1. Democrat debates will be interesting, as the party tries to figure out what it is.

      2. Would be nice if Republicans could provide a coherent alternative put forth by an intelligent, articulate candidate, but what signs have we ever seen that this is possible?

      3. No recession between now and 2020 = Trump re-elected. Recession = toss-up.

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  31. Someone needs to probe Bernie on his, “breaking up the banks” plan.

    Would that mean repealing the Federal Reserve Act pitched and supported by Democrats to cuddle/subsidize the crooked banking of NYC and their consequences?

    Sometimes Bernie seems Free-Market on the subject of Banking; not only here but also on ‘Audit the Fed’ (Bernie was ONLY Democrat to vote for it) pitched by Rand Paul. Which would be an utterly surprising flip on everything else he stands for.

    OR more probable. Bernie wants to pass the Federal Reserve Act 2.0 making the Federal Government the ONLY legal bank in the U.S.

  32. Can not the Bernie Bros do simple math?

    1. Only elitist and entitled bastards “do math”

    2. They know 2 + 2 = 5. What more is needed?

  33. Forget Bernie. Vote for me. I promise EVERYBODY free EVERYTHING.

    1. Paid for by Bernie, Nancy, Chuck, and B. Gates only?

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  35. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    Unless you are socialist who is willing to steal other people’s lunches.

    Why doesn’t Bernie volunteer his own money for the sake of society instead of other people’s money?

    1. Lunch has already been stolen by the 1%. They are constantly stealing. And for the simpletons out there, I’m not suggesting that they don’t work hard and deserve any income. However, much of that is working hard on bribing and stealing.

  36. One of these socialist idiots is going to be on the Dem ticket in 2020. They were super pissed off when the queen of NY lost to Trump, and still are. If their next candidate loses, the left will show its true colours and burn down the country. The country is pretty much lost anyway, as the clock is winding down on the lies and corruption the fuel the DC Swamp.

    1. Bernie knows he can’t get all that, just like Donald knows he can’t get Mexico to pay for the wall. But the point is that he cares about border security. And the point is that Bernie cares about fighting Climate Change and improving health care.

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