Election 2020

The Socialist Delusions of Bernie Sanders

Central planning kills economic growth.

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Bernie Sanders leads the race for the Democratic nomination.

He may become America's first self-described "democratic socialist" president.

What does that mean?

Today, when Sanders talks about socialism, he says: "I'm not looking at Cuba. I'm looking at countries like Denmark and Sweden."

But Denmark and Sweden are not socialist. Denmark's prime minister even came to America to refute Sanders' claims, pointing out that "Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy."

Both Denmark and Sweden do give citizens government-run health care and have bigger welfare programs than America has. However,  recently, they've moved away from socialism. Because their socialist policies killed economic growth, they cut regulations and ended government control of many industries.

Sanders probably doesn't know that. He, like many young people, just loves the idea of socialism.

For my new video this week, Stossel TV producer Maxim Lott went through hours of Sanders' old speeches. What he found reveals a lot about what Sanders believes.

When Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he went out of his way to defend Fidel Castro. "He educated the kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society!" Fortunately, Sanders added, "Not to say Fidel Castro or Cuba are perfect."

No, they are not perfect. Castro's government tortured and murdered thousands. By confiscating private property, they destroyed the island's economy. Life got bad enough that thousands died trying to escape.

Even now in Cuba, most people try to live on less than $2 a day

Sanders focuses on other things, like: "They did a lot to eliminate illiteracy!"

Sanders has long had a soft spot for socialist countries. He chose to honeymoon in Communist Russia, where he said people "seem reasonably happy and content." He was "extremely impressed by their public transportation system…[the] cleanest, most effective mass transit system I've ever seen in my life!"

He praised Soviet youth programs: "Cultural programs go far beyond what we do in this country."

He did at least qualify his support, calling the Soviet government "authoritarian."

But Sanders made no such criticism after Nicaragua's socialist revolution. He praised the Sandinistas' land "reform" because they were "giving, for the first time in their lives, real land to farmers so that they can have something that they grow. Nobody denies that they are making significant progress."

Former landowners sure denied it. They'd had their land stolen. Sanders suggested that was OK because landowners are rich.

"Rich people, who used to have a good life there, are not terribly happy," he said. "As a socialist, the word socialism does not frighten me… (P)oor people respect that."

What about the hunger and poverty that socialism creates? Bernie had an odd take on that.

"American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food. That's a good thing! In other countries people don't line up for food; the rich get the food and the poor starve."

After he said he was "impressed" by Sandinista leaders, Sanders added, "Obviously I will be attacked by every editorial writer in the free press for being a dumb dupe."

I join them.

Bernie Sanders is indeed a "dumb dupe" about economics. Or as the Soviet Communists used to put it, "a useful idiot."

Under Ortega's rule, Nicaragua quickly fell further into poverty, and the socialists were voted out in 1990. Ortega later returned as a violent dictator. For most people in Nicaragua, Cuba, and other centrally planned economies, life is hell.

Once Sanders was elected to Congress, he mostly stopped praising violent socialist revolutions.

At that time, Communist governments in Europe were collapsing. It was convenient for embarrassed former supporters of those governments to rebrand themselves.

In Congress, Sanders would call himself an independent and, in the estimation of his fellow Vermonter, former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, he "votes with the Democrats 98 percent of the time."

But Sanders has never taken back the enthusiastic praise he gave to socialist regimes.

COPYRIGHT 2020 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

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  1. Actually the private ownership of the means of production which is dictated to by the government is fascism. Socialism, communism, fascism they all violate the NAP. That’s enough reason to reject them.

    1. Yes, the only difference between communism and fascism is that one owns the means of production, the other controls them. It has no practical significance. Hitler’s Nazis and Mussolini’s Fascists were socialists in every way, including name, and by design.

      I suppose there is a little other difference. Stalin didn’t want to conquer the world as much as Hitler did; he was satisfied just controlling little Communist countries. Again, the difference has no practical significance.

      1. Yes, it is why I agree with the notion that the definition of left and right is no longer valid, if it ever was. Groups on each side have similarities. It is better to look at them as collectivism versus individualism. That way socialists and fascists are judged to be the same. Democratic socialists now claim they don’t want ownership of productive assets just regulatory power over them. Yet they still say the dumbest things like Bernie saying no one needs 24 choices of deodorants. That is micromanaging and yet young people are falling for it.

        1. Fascists, Communists, and socialists were never ‘on different sides’.

          They have all always been on the left–that left being ‘collectivism’.

          Fascism is not and has never had anything to do with the right side of the political spectrum.

          There is no good description of what actual right wing extremism might look like because it would, first and foremost be an individual extremism. It might be founded upon the priciples of the right, but it wouldn’t be very visible.

          Bernie Sanders is not a socialist. Of any stripe. He is a communist and hopes to be the first communist leader of a US destroyed by soviet communism.

          1. The ‘right’ goes back to the French Assembly, where the royalist sat on the right side of the hall. Today it is usually applied to any militaristic, authoritarian regimes. I try to tell people the right is individualist and left is collectivist, I.e. big government.

          2. Far Right = Lazzie Faire Capitalism and NAP based on individual rights of life, liberty, and property

      2. Hitler made deals with all the oligarchs and protected their positions. Stalin killed them but Stalin murdered anyone who threatened his dictatorial power. I’m sure Hitler and Putin would murder or destroy an oligarch if it was required to protect their power. It just so happens that the oligarchs can get along Hitlers and Putins of the world.

        1. Are you proud to count yourself among mass murderers?

      3. The issue with these threads is that no one understands the difference between any of these political ideologies that they spew off about. It’s like everyone here grew up in the fifties and is still running with the red scare. The fact of the matter is that America already implements socialistic policies in order to create a social safety net for those that are less fortunate, but they’re not adequate enough. The ultra-wealthy in this country are just afraid of losing their 2nd vacation home, but the important issue is that there is drastic inequality in this country and if you can’t see it then you’re blind dude to the situation that you’ve been handed because America’s laws have been lobbied to death for decades and decades by pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, etc. We need policies that are going to look out for the backbone of America rather than stomping on them with our golf cleats. Go and spend a week with the working class, I’m not sure you bigwigs and know-it-alls would last

    2. Is that actually a formal ideological tenet of fascism? As far as the Nazis were concerned, it was more a matter of practicality, though you could argue that practicality itself in part differentiated fascism from socialism. In any case, the main thing is control. Technical ownership is irrelevant.

      1. Wrong, private ownership is a tenet of fascism, with government control of prices and products.

  2. Hi…
    Bernie Sanders leads the race for the Democratic nomination. He may become America’s first self-described “democratic socialist” president. What does that mean? Today, when Sanders talks about socialism, he says: “I’m not looking at Cuba. I’m looking at countries like Denmark and Sweden.”
    you can also read more….click here https://klantenservicenederland.co/lenovo/

    1. He’ll never be President.

      1. Don’t respond to the phishing scams, please.

        1. John Podesta?

        2. But she’s the bit brunette from The Vampire Diaries. She says so. So it must be true.

      2. I’m sure many said that about Hitler at the time? Of course, they were right. Hitler had to settle for Chancellor on his way to “Der Furhrer”.

        1. Many also said that about Trump less than four years ago (me among them). Lesson learned…

    2. Denmark and Sweden are not socialist. They are large welfare states where most production is privately owned. Sanders is to the far left of this.

  3. “Sanders probably doesn’t know that. He, like many young people, just loves the idea of socialism.”

    Yes, this!

    Sanders doesn’t know much of ANYTHING, except whatever his hide-bound ideology and confirmation bias allow him to “know”. And we (plus all of the facts and logic in the world) will never change his mind. That’s OK by me!

    What worries me MUCH MUCH MORE is that ideologically locked minds will vote for him in droves, despite ALL of the lessons of history! WHY is this? Because of the utter failure of schools! Schools teach the omnipotence and omni-competence of Government Almighty, because Government Almighty pays the paychecks of teachers!

    Privatizing schools and doing away with jon requirements for endless degrees, credentials, and licenses would help, a LOT!. At this stage, though, too many our people are already ideologically mind-locked (brainwashed). The only way to fix it may be to have to go half-way to Venezuela, learn, and come back from the madness! That is what happened in England and Denmark-Sweden-etc.; it may have to happen here.

    1. Job requirements, not jon requirements, sorry for the typo…

      Jo(h)n requirements are needed ONLY for hookers!

    2. I’m not sure he believes what he says because everything he says is utterly insane. I wonder how much campaign money is he funneling to his family this time?

      1. The great thing about being a socialist politician is that you can be sure your supporters are ignorant and credulous.

    3. The only way to fix it may be to have to go half-way to Venezuela, learn, and come back from the madness!

      The catch is that they won’t learn. Socialism is a perfect system – by definition – and therefore if it fails, it wasn’t True Socialism. And the fact is, socialism is a perfect system – for angels. If we were all willing to be altruistic and loved our neighbors as much ourselves, if we were all willing to pitch in and do our best for the common good rather than putting our own interests first, if no one disagreed about what was in the collective best interest, we could have Heaven on Earth here as we would all be as the angels. The only problem is that, as a general rule, for humans to become angels they have to first be dead. There’s a reason peace and equality in communist countries invariably refers to the peace and equality of the grave.

      1. I agree with this message! Well put indeed!

        Far-leftist “American exceptionalism” is indeed arrogant. ALL of those OTHER nations have FAILED to make it right with “REAL socialism”… But we in the USA can make it work! I have never heard an explanation for WHY that is… Are Americans racially, culturally, spiritually superior, or our soil out-gasses more magic unicorn farts, or WTF, exactly?

        1. Socialism is garbage. It’s garbage because it rewards incompetence and penalizes excellence. Our constitution protects property from confiscation so I’m not really concerned about socialism. I think big money is using socialism to cover up their own corruption and bloodsucking. Bernie doesn’t help the situation by describing himself as a “Democratic Socialist”. It’s one reason why while I like Bernie I’m supporting Pete.

          1. “”Our constitution protects property from confiscation so I’m not really concerned about socialism.””

            Kelo?

            1. Democrats in general.

          2. “Socialism is garbage. Therefore, like and support socialists.”

          3. “think big money is using socialism to cover up their own corruption and bloodsucking.”

            That’s why they call it “socialism”
            Calling it “bloodsucking corruption” is tougher sell

          4. Private property may be protected from confiscation to some degree, but is it protected from control by government laws and regulations?

          5. Private property is protected from confiscation? You’re really gonna go there?

            It’s only “protected” so long as you do exactly what the government tells you to do with it, you pay your annual ransom they dictate, you bow to authority, and even then there’s no guarantee.

            They don’t have to directly confiscate it for no reason. They just have to concoct a reason, being that you didn’t pay your taxes, you dug a well or a pond, let the grass grow, put in a driveway or didn’t put in a driveway, or they just want it for some other reason.

            Then it’s just a matter of terminology, whether that confiscation be seizure or eminent domain. Bottom line, by any other name they confiscate your property. And this is what’s allowed already. If you think an authoritarian government won’t make up new rules under which they can “legally” seize your property, you’ve swallowed the Blue Pill.

          6. What’s Bernie to do, cal himself a fascist, which would be more accurate?

    4. Such utter bullshit. This comment board (and many of the articles) have turned into a bunch of geezers dismissing the actual issues of an entire generation (that the geezers have and are screwing) by referring to a different geezer to a board full of geezers.

      Why doesn’t someone else talk rationally about climate/energy/environment?
      About why housing costs are strangling the future of the young while bankers/homeowners/wealthy are still subsidizing credit to drive those asset prices higher?
      Or why ‘govt debt’ is not really a problem if the money is spent on consumption for the old but is a problem spent on capital investment for the future?
      Or why mainstream economics (worshipped by the modern libertarian useful idiots for the Davos crowd) can’t seem to explain simple things like inflation or asset bubbles?
      Or why electoral politics has plenty of room for big donors funding TV ads but no room for millions of young people (mostly volunteers at that) knocking on doors talking to actual people face-to-face?

      Until someone else steps up – Sanders and his ilk are filling the vacuum. And DESERVES the support he’s getting.

      1. See the book, “BEHAVE The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst”, by Robert M. Sapolsky. Centered around pages 496-497 (in the soft-cover version 2018 at least), there’s some interesting and relevant details about human behavior. All this is from experimental “economics games” with humans (further distantly, even capuchin monkeys show some of the basics, behavior-wise, here as well). https://www.amazon.com/Behave-Biology-Humans-Best-Worst/dp/0143110918/ref=asc_df_0143110918/?tag=reasonmagazinea-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312064598816&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13654540330964297268&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9027644&hvtargid=pla-469024892366&psc=1

        Well anyway, human societies with greater income differentials have less “social capital”, and people tend to trust one another (as strangers) significantly less. This is not good for “free market” operations to run smoothly! So within wise (judicious) limits, policies in favor of more-equal income distribution make sense, and many reasonable people (and voters) can see this.

        I’m a free-market libertarian, but I am also a “poly-centrist”… We do NOT just need ONE political party; we need more than one! And we need “power” (soft power at least) to comedians and churches and mosques and temples and poets and priests, as well as politicians! In a dictatorship, the dictator typically tries VERY hard to shut down ALL other voices! That’s not what I want… So, unlike the shrill voices of the authoritarian conservatives on these comment boards, I am glad that leftist-type people show up here as well. I do NOT think that raw, naked income redistribution by Government Almighty is a good “fix”… But excessive income inequality is NOT a good thing! So leftists have a part of the truth… Me, personally, I would start by cutting the hell out of licensing and regulations that keep poor people from being able to earn an honest living!

        1. I agree that inequality (and its kissing cousin – lack of competition) harms free markets. So why is that in the US anyone who actually mentions/understands either inequality or class (which is just the consequence of structural inequality over time) is called ‘socialist’? Ludwig Erhard was an ordoliberal (classical liberal with the uniquely German love of ‘rules’) – not a socialist. Denmark did not build their version of social welfare on a basis of class-warfare (Marxist) socialism. They built it on a version of a land-value tax (very low overall tax burden AND very little structural inequality) which they mistakenly dismantled in 1960 or so and replaced with income-tax based ‘social welfare’.

          Sanders sure doesn’t know any of that. But apparently neither do ‘free market libertarians’. Which is why Sanders can speak to the problem (and claim both Germany and Denmark as his models) while free-market libertarians yap about Venezuela/Cuba/North Korea.

          1. Because “inequality” is a term used by leftists to push totalitarian government.
            You raise interesting points, but do so in an overly emotional way (and you should note that your climate policy goals are in direct opposition to your goals in housing costs).
            Instead of getting pissed off and bitter, try stripping the Marxist hyperbole and demonstrate the logic of your points

            1. If you can’t understand the meaning of an actual word without referring it to how someone you don’t like uses that term, then the problem is you. Not me or that word.

              And yes – I fully expect that many policy goals will conflict with other policy goals. Just as the current status quo policy conflicts with the policy goals of those being harmed by the current status quo. Life ain’t some cartoon where everyone is happy by the third panel.

              1. There are other terms that would be more useful in making your case.
                “Disparity” for example.
                “Inequality” is a poisoned term that will distract from your argument.
                “If you can’t understand the meaning of an actual word without referring it to how someone you don’t like uses that term, then the problem is you. Not me or that word.”
                Unless you want to spend the time disassociating the term from its popular usage (and even then it doesn’t completely negate the impact on your reader), it’ll make convincing/influencing your audience (except those that already agree with you) more difficult.
                What’s your goal in trying to communicate?
                It’s an important thing to keep in mind

                1. ‘Equality of opportunity’ is a phrase that both means something in real life and has a very specific economic consequence in fostering competition and thus actual free markets. And yes – it is also indirectly affected in some cases by equality of outcome – eg if one is homeless, one does not have any meaningful opportunity to look for work because employers don’t hire people who are sleepy, who have to carry their possessions around, who haven’t had a bath, and who are wearing clothes that have been slept in for weeks.

                  You want to fluff around with some BS term to indicate the LACK of that condition?

                  1. “ people who are sleepy, who have to carry their possessions around, who haven’t had a bath, and who are wearing clothes that have been slept in for weeks“ have imposed those things on themselves; none have been forced. They have ample opportunity to change all of that if they take advantage of the opportunities. Inequality of outcomes is not a problem, it’s the amplification of the differences to stoke envy; that stoking by the leftists like you is evil.

          2. I agree that inequality (and its kissing cousin – lack of competition) harms free markets.

            How? Seriously. How?

            1. Because barriers to entry are almost entirely about making it more difficult for the nonentrenched to gather the different resources needed to compete with the entrenched. That is exactly what inequality is.

              Hell – even the crappy Horatio Alger myths are not really about hard work, determination, pluck, etc. They are in fact almost all about some poor schmuck doing something nice (without pay) for a wealthy stranger and being rewarded with opportunity.

              1. Because barriers to entry are almost entirely about making it more difficult for the nonentrenched to gather the different resources needed to compete with the entrenched.

                Yeah. A guy who makes beer in his garage can’t compete with Budweiser. In other news, water is wet.

                That is exactly what inequality is.

                Inequality in what? Power? Wealth? Influence? Popularity?

                I don’t know Horatio Alger so I can’t respond to that.

      2. From the same above (excellent, comprehensive, authoritative) book, there are some more counterintuitive aspects of human behavior that are also relevant. Economic-behavior science calls it “antisocial punishment”… AKA, “no good deed goes unpunished”. If you are TOO charitable, and TOO public-minded, TOO altruistic and benevolent, then others around you can and will punish you for making them look bad! See “Antisocial Punishment Across Societies”, https://science.sciencemag.org/content/319/5868/1362 … Don’t you go making me look bad, by being a better person than I am! This is why Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., etc., got themselves killed!

        The above-described phenomenon is measured as being not very powerful in the USA and Australia, for example. “Social capital” (we trust each other) is still prevalent, and so we don’t get all hell-bent on punishing the good guys.

        Certain societies have gotten themselves sucked into a spiral vortex… Income inequality skyrockets (the rich screw the poor with licensing schemes, among other things), and the poor shoot back, by putting commies in power. Then the Government Almighty power pigs (think of special stores in the USSR for Commie Party members only) abuse the poor some more! It turns out that we are all equal, but some are more equal than others! And then, the poor (who can plainly see that Government Almighty power pigs are screwing them) get even more pissed off (“social capital” deteriorates some more), and WHO do they turn to, to punish the “bad guys”? … Yup, some MORE Government Almighty power pigs (the RIGHT ones this time!) will fix it for them!

        The GENUINE good guys, like REAL libertarians? They, too, must be PUNISHED! How DARE they question the Gospel of Government Almighty!?!

        1. Licensing is really damn near irrelevant economically. Compared to distortions of the monetary (pricing) system, or cronyist privatization and ‘privilege’ (in the original private law sense of the word – one law for the privileged, a different law for everyone else).

          Late 19th century East End of London didn’t need ‘licensing’ either. At the height of the British Empire. While that outcome (and Lower East Side of NYC) is the most Dickensian extreme, it is exactly the sort of outcome that leads to Marxist/Fabian ‘appeal’. What’s sad is that, even then, only socialists really bothered to walk in their shoes and experience that life (eg Jack London in People of the Abyss). While modern libertarians actually think ‘gold standard’ is a ‘solution’ beyond ‘get rid of licensing’. Talk about clueless.

          1. JFree
            February.19.2020 at 12:40 pm
            “Licensing is really damn near irrelevant economically. Compared to distortions of the monetary (pricing) system,…”

            Folks, the 6th grade is turning into the greatest years of JFree’s pathetic existence.

      3. Complete bullshit. The few actual problems you raise (global warming, Bernout cultists bothering people at home and your inability to understand inflation or debt because you’re too fucking stupid notwithstanding) would only be exacerbated by the Stalinist geezer’s brilliant and new plan to solve everything by taxing everyone into poverty and using that money to buy him a shiny dictatorship.

      4. The problem is that people think they have a God-given right to forever live on the same piece of dirt they were born on whether they can afford it or not. If housing prices get too high, move someplace where they aren’t so high. There is plenty of room for housing. If there’s not enough housing, it’s because “someone” is preventing it,which drives housing prices higher.

      5. JFree
        February.19.2020 at 11:18 am
        “…Why doesn’t someone else talk rationally about climate/energy/environment?…”

        We have been. Why don’t you grow up or leave the adults alone?

  4. But… between the evil orange man and grandpa Stalin, Reason staffers will hold their nose and vote for Bloomberg.

    1. Anyone who’d vote for Bloomberg thereby proves that they do not really care about Trump’s character issues, but only that he’s neither a Democrat nor in step with the Republican (Democrat-lite) establishment.

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  6. Socialists would rather be equally poor than unequally rich. It’s the politics of envy.

    1. Nah, Socialism is just for the serfs. Comrades Mao and Castro and Bernie get to live in gigantic, palatial estates because “they earned it by working for the people”, or some bullshit.

      1. Yeah. I’m talking about rank and file. I’ve known plenty of people, and seen speeches by people, who would accept a lower standard of living if it meant everyone had that same lower standard of living. Their envy is so great that they will sacrifice their own lifestyle if it means taking down those rich people (with the wrong politics, Soros is cool but Koch is evil) who they hate.

        And yes, it would be a tiered system. But the majority would be equal. Equally poor, but equal. Which to a leftist is preferable to losing sleep over the existence of people with great wealth. So long as those with great wealth have the correct politics, they can be forgiven.

        It’s really sick if you think about it. Right wingers with wealth usually attain it by pleasing others. They create something that others want. Leftists tend to acquire their wealth through political means. Through force.

  7. Bernie has no delusions about socialism.
    He simply wants the dictatorial power that comes with being the head of the socialists.
    If he truly was a socialist, he would have former homeless people living in his three houses, and be giving all of his millions to help the workers.

    1. but the Party leaders and apparatchiks deserve more, because of their sacrifices for the People.

    2. I dunno. I think he’s probably like the rest of the left in that he won’t do it unless everyone else is forced to do it as well. Otherwise it isn’t fair.

    3. “”If he truly was a socialist, he would have former homeless people living in his three houses, and be giving all of his millions to help the workers.””

      What socialist leaders ever did this? The leaders are exempt from the sacrifices.

      1. The leaders are exempt from the sacrifices

        That’s why they jet to the global warming conferences.

  8. So argue against your definition of what Bernie means, rather than what Bernie says

    I am not a fan of Castro, but ‘destroyed their economy’

    Compared to what?
    Haiti[how many Us interventions?]
    Dominican Republic?
    Jamaica?

    And our one foothold on the Island of Cuba, shall we use that as an example of freedom?

    1. If Republicans had to argue against what Sanders policies actually are they wouldn’t be able to knock down their USSR/Venezuela/Cuba strawman. Hard to look at every other first world country and claim the policies can’t work, so instead they fight the communism bogeyman.

      Can’t wait for the butthurt when Sanders wins. It will make Clinton supports seem like calm mature adults when they lost.

      1. Which policies would you like to discuss?

        1. Should’ve finished reading the comment.
          You think Bernie is going to win…
          Don’t think rational discussion is possible here

      2. fafalone
        February.19.2020 at 12:04 pm
        “…Can’t wait for the butthurt when Sanders wins…”

        Can’t wait to jam Trump down your throat again, you lefty piece of shit.

      3. Just because a policy can work doesn’t mean it should.

      4. Healthcare is the only one of his major policies that has been implemented with a degree of success elsewhere. Even there, a lot of the universal coverage systems don’t follow his single-payer model. They also involve trade-offs different than the current U.S. system, such as not introducing new treatments that fail to meet government-set cost-benefit standards. These other systems also often ration care through long wait times for non-emergency care.

        The development of health care systems is also path-dependent. The current U.S. system, for all its flaws and imperfections, has evolved to meet a consumer demand of Americans wanting high levels of care (no matter how expensive) basically on-demand. If we take Bernie’s ideas and apply them to a U.S. system that’s a massive amount of the economy, there’s a decent chance that it will be a massive mess. You’ve got a population that thinks “good healthcare insurance” means never being told “no” or “you’ll have to wait a couple months for that”. You’ve got hospital systems that are major employers in almost every community across the country. The end result is that I think the cost of Medicare For All is going to be much higher than supporters claim, as both consumers and healthcare providers scream about any restraint that impacts them.

        As for his other ideas? Not really successful other places.

        Wealth taxes, for example, have been tried in several European countries. A lot have been repealed due to issues such as capital flight and valuation challenges with assets that aren’t publicly-traded. Denmark and Sweden – two countries Bernie loves to praise – repealed their wealth taxes in 1995 and 2007, respectively.

        The overall rhetoric of Sanders’ tax ideas is that the wealthy will pay for the bulk of what he’s promising. That’s not the reality of how European tax systems are structured. Look at Denmark and Sweden, for example. Yes, they have very high top marginal income tax rates of 55% to 60%. (These aren’t, however, that much higher than the existing ~50% top marginal rates for federal plus state income tax in California and New York.) These top rates kick in, however at income levels of about 20% to 50% higher than average income in Denmark and Sweden, so they hit the upper middle-class and not just the rich. These countries also have 25% VAT’s, far higher than U.S. sales tax rates. They also have gas taxes of $2.50 to $3.00 per gallon. They don’t just “soak the rich” to pay for extensive social programs. Everyone – up and down the income ladder – bears a higher tax burden than in the U.S.

        The Tax Foundation did a good comparison of U.S. and Scandinavian tax systems in 2015 – https://taxfoundation.org/how-scandinavian-countries-pay-their-government-spending/. Note that U.S. rates have changed a bit due to the 2017 tax law.

        The similarities to the U.S. tax system are striking once we get past the higher income tax rates and high VAT and gas taxes in Scandinavian countries. Corporate tax rates there are similar to the current U.S. corporate tax rate. Capital gains and dividends have preferential tax rates compared to ordinary income tax rates, just like in the U.S.

    2. Compared to Cuba before the revolution.

  9. He chose to honeymoon in Communist Russia, where he said people “seem reasonably happy and content.” He was “extremely impressed by their public transportation system…[the] cleanest, most effective mass transit system I’ve ever seen in my life!”

    He honeymooned in a Potemkin Village set up to fool gullible westerners like himself

  10. Taxing the obscenely rich slightly more, allowing individuals to sue corporations for polluting the environment, using the leverage of 300 million Americans to negotiate better drug prices and insurance rates isn’t socialism.

    1. Piss off.

      1. Go suck an oligarch’s dick.

        1. Shut up and go before you’re late to your shift Manning your glory hole at the bus station.

    2. In isolation, in the abstract, no.

    3. You’re polluting this environment.
      Should we be able to sue you?

      1. If you’re like Trump you could abuse the process and sue me. Trump brags about bringing frivolous lawsuits to harass people. So yes our corrupt ass system would permit you to sue me but it would throw up all kinds of roadblocks if we wanted join together in a class and sue a corporation for pollution.

        1. So you think corporations should be liable to lawsuits for doing what you yourself should not be liable for doing

        2. You’re doing pretty well right now. As the rest of the country hasn’t wised up and wiped your kind off the map. Which would take about a week.

          Be grateful your existence is allowed to continue, you smelly hippie.

    4. No, they’re just horrible immoral ideas.

    5. “Taxing the obscenely rich slightly more, allowing individuals to sue corporations for polluting the environment, using the leverage of 300 million Americans to negotiate better drug prices and insurance rates isn’t socialism.”
      You.
      Are.
      Full.
      Of.
      Shit.
      Fuck off, slaver.

  11. The problem with creeping socialism is that we let children vote. Children love free shit because they still believe in Santa Claus and they believe the free shit just magically appears. Oh, sure, they don’t literally believe in Santa Claus and they don’t literally believe free shit just magically appears, but they want it to be true so bad that they can concoct some sort of convoluted explanation to rationalize their belief that it could be true and it should be true.

    Arguing with a socialist is like arguing with a True Believer in any other cult – they believe they have it all worked out in their heads how this perpetual motion machine is going to work and a key component of their belief is Faith. You must close your ears to the doubters and the naysayers, they are only there to test your faith. Even if you cannot logically explain your argument, you must still hold true to your faith and trust the system will work. See, if you doubt for a moment, the rituals won’t work, the magic won’t happen, the free shit won’t materialize.

    I mean, we flip the light switch and trust the light will come on even if we have no idea how electricity or electrical wiring works, don’t we? We get on the airplane, we turn the key in the ignition switch, we press the elevator button, we go to sleep without first posting a guard to watch over us, we go to the grocery store expecting to come back home with a bunch of groceries – a thousand things we do every day that we trust we know what’s going to happen next even if we can’t explain and don’t understand why it should be so. Why should our trust in Socialism be any different?

    1. “”The problem with creeping socialism is that we let children vote.””

      They need a parent. Someone to pay for their rent, pay their bills, give them medical care, provide for a monthly allowance.

    2. Rich people get free shit all the time. Trump is good example of how rich person behave. They bankrupt things for their own enrichment. They take from govt. Trump has line his pockets with govt money. Trump has taken more from the govt then you or I could take in a thousand lifetimes.

      1. “”Trump is good example of how rich person behave””

        So you think Bezos, Soros, Bloomberg, Gates all behave like Trump?

        Also how are you defining rich? Bernie Sanders has far more money than I.

        1. Trump is a blood sucking con man. Y’all elected the perfect representative for your beliefs.

          1. You don’t know what my beliefs are.

          2. And I definitely did not vote for Trump.

          3. Good answer… 😉
            Blah, blah…rich people!!…blah blah. Great points!!

          4. Trump is losing money as President , but you wouldn’t know that.

      2. Isn’t that the government’s fault?

      3. The world will be so much better when people like you are gone.

      4. A leftist
        February.19.2020 at 10:03 am
        “…Trump has line his pockets with govt money…”

        A leftist has had his cites eaten by, nope, not his dog, but his stupidity.
        Far more voracious than any mutt.

  12. Big money owns this country. The big money owns Stossel. They own the media, the politicians, they write the laws, they’ve accumulated and concentrated most of the money. They get bailed out by the govt. They get access to cheap money. It’s just a joke.

    1. Says the guy that will vote for Bloomberg if he wins the nomination.

      1. Is Bloomberg a crony capitalist like Trump?

          1. Four years of Bernie would be a nice antidote to the poison in our system. Our laws, constitution and Congress could constrain him if required. We need to clean up the crony capitalism at this time.

            1. Wrong. It will be people complaining about how Congress obstructed Bernie.

            2. Crony capitalism comes from scum like you. And your big government tyranny.

            3. Four years of Bernie would be a nice antidote to the poison in our system.

              You, and Bernie and every other leftist and leftist idea ARE the poison in our system. You are the viper we have nourished in our blind good will.

              Our laws, constitution and Congress could constrain him if required. We need to clean up the crony capitalism at this time

              You try at every juncture to undermine our laws, our Constitution–because it stops you.

              And crony capitalism can only exist in a system that leftists have thoroughly corrupted.

              You are poison.

        1. Well according to this statement he would be.

          “” Trump is good example of how rich person behave.””

    2. Wow really? So stop centralizing all the power, and that huge trough that they keep buying (the government) isn’t there to provide them the means to have such an evil influence.
      Oh I know, the media isn’t part of the government, but the media can’t throw you in jail, they can’t take your money (unless you agree to pay them in exchange for services).
      Truly if you think it through, you’re saying much the same as many others around here, but your target of hate is off.

    3. There’s no such thing as “most of the money”. Wealth is created there’s not a finite supply.

    4. EVERYTHING IS SO TERRIBLE AND UNFAIR!!!!!

      Haha

  13. Thank god you’re still here. Surely you’re not in that godforsaken office with the libertopians, but maybe you could swing by once in a while and remind them that unlike journalists the average american isnt handed millions by their parents and cant afford to give their entire paycheck to bernie to pay for illegal immigrant healthcare

    1. Really sad that Stossel is now the ‘outlier’ here.

      1. It is. He’s always been one of the most calm, reasonable commentators out there.

    2. Bernie doesn’t share your concern over illegal immigrant healthcare. Neither do those who would vote for him. I saw him for the first time last night in an extended interview via youtube with reporters in Iowa. He will make a formidable opponent.

      1. mtrueman
        February.19.2020 at 12:24 pm
        “…He will make a formidable opponent.”

        Trueman claims to have some intelligence and then immediately disproves it.

        1. You don’t need much intelligence to spot a seasoned charismatic pol. He’s got enough appeal to make a Libertarian vote look like a spoiled vote that really should have gone to Trump.

          Anyways Sevo, more shrillness, more Cuba, more gulags.

          1. Trueman claims to have some intelligence and then immediately disproves it.

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  15. Americans know little about Socialism not having been exposed to it. They aren’t interested in what happens in Cuba or Nicaragua, and couldn’t point them out on a map. Sanders will likely be their introduction to Socialism, and he’s a powerful advocate.

    1. Hey man, all I know is that I have a RIGHT to have the government force other people to pay for my basic needs. And a few wants. We ain’t talking benefits here, I mean rights!

      Don’t bother me with the details.

      Haha

      1. Other people have too many rights.

        1. Trueman claims to have some intelligence and then immediately disproves it.

    2. I went to Communist E Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, so I’ve seen them up close. Frightening. Note that most who escape Cuba or other collectivist hell holes are staunch Republican Trump supporters.

  16. He’s a raving nutjob who makes promises that even if he was elected would be impossible to keep.

    1. He just hasn’t convinced you that you’re a victim yet. Try to have an open mind.

  17. I will (quite seriously) buy Bernie at one- way ticket to Venezuela on one condition – he puts up a bond for the value of the ticket which is forfeited to me if he ever sets foot on American soil again. I’m sure he could be a very great leader down there, and even if he weren’t, at least he be finally living his dream in a socialist paradise.

    What about it Bernie? Wanna go?

  18. He did at least qualify his support, calling the Soviet government “authoritarian.”

    Yeah, not sure he sees that as a pejorative.

    1. “Yeah, not sure he sees that as a pejorative.”

      If you are uncertain of his ideas, you should watch him interviewed. He’s quite articulate without being wordy or condescending. It’s hardly surprising that he is leading the democrat pack.

      1. i wrote that because I am certain of his ideas.

        1. That’s why I recommend you try to learn a bit about his ideas and how he elucidates them. If you oppose him, you should know what you are opposing.

      2. You gotta be kidding.

        “You are all victims and I am the one that will save you”!

        Sounds condescending to me.

        1. Listen to what he says, and how he handles himself, His tone and demeanor. He is obviously a skilled politician and perhaps the democrat’s best hope at taking the presidency.

          Instead of taking Stossel’s word, let the man speak for himself. I saw an interview with him on youtube with several Iowa journalists. I thought he had charisma and spoke with conviction. I’d be very surprised if you watched and found him condescending.

          1. “Listen to what he says, and how he handles himself, His tone and demeanor. He is obviously a skilled politician and perhaps the democrat’s best hope at taking the presidency.”

            Oh, goodie! A well mannered-lefty thug! Will his firing squads say “pretty please” before they pull the trigger?

  19. I am not sure where John Stossel is going with this piece. He starts out admitting that Bernie Sanders is looking to European Countries for his Democratic Socialism. John counter that these countries are not socialist, but points out they provide health care and better social safety net that the US. Which is entirely Bernie’s point that we could provide better security for working people. At this point John goes off on a rant about third world communist counties. John Stossel needs to stay on point, if Bernie is proposing European style Social Democracy then argue what is wrong with that idea and don’t go off to Cuba or Nicaragua.

    1. ” don’t go off to Cuba or Nicaragua”

      Cuba, Nicaragua, Gulags, Honeymoon seem to be the best John can manage against Sanders. Keeping someone like Sanders (and his unacceptable ideas) off the air is probably the best bet. It has worked very well on American TV against Noam Chomsky, where I don’t think he’s been given more than a few minutes air time over the past 50 years. Same was true of Sanders until he became a prominent contender for the Whitehouse.

    2. John counter that these countries are not socialist, but points out they provide health care and better social safety net that the US. Which is entirely Bernie’s point that we could provide better security for working people.

      These countries are more economically free than the USA. Socialism is a parasite. It requires a robust, capitalist host. The feed the goose that lays the golden egg. Bernie wants to kill the goose, but still expect it to lay eggs.

      1. *They* feed..

    3. The spending Bernie is proposing would put US government spending, as a percentage of GDP, way, way ahead of any European nation.

      1. “as a percentage of GDP, way, way ahead of any European nation.”

        Is that your Hillary Clinton impersonation?

        1. “Is that your Hillary Clinton impersonation?”

          What a fucking imbecile.

  20. Oh right, Bernie’s about to start torturing and killing, any day now… give me a break. Stossel, you should be ASHAMED to put your name to scaremongering like this, especially when YOU are yourself what Reason writers used to call a “Khaki Socialist” You at least interview a libertarian now-and-then, I’ll give you that… but then you’re “not sure” Rand Paul is right about Syria?!?! By our government’s own accounting, CIA militants are responsible for 100,000 casualties in that country. We both know this is an illegal war, which will only inspire more terrorism (remember what happened last time the CIA dabbled in WAR?).

    So sorry, I’m not exactly scared of Bernie’s socialism, when we’ve got FAKE libertarians like you supporting socialism for the wealthy and well-connected. That goes for the rest of the Khaki Socialists who have taken over Reason… YOU are the real threat to peace and freedom in the world. I’m voting Bernie, and I hope he wealth-taxes your wealthy benefactors into oblivion.

    1. “…So sorry, I’m not exactly scared of Bernie’s socialism,..”
      Fucking blood-sucking lefties usually aren’t. Until *they* become the target.

      1. Oh yea, lefties coming to get you, any day now…

        1. “Oh yea, lefties coming to get you, any day now…”

          I’m guessing you’ve read the history of socialism and communism in Parade magazine. And probably moved your lips as you read.
          Fuck off, slaver.

  21. ‘”Or as the Soviet Communists used to put it, “a useful idiot.”‘

    That’s a myth sufficiently debunked to have its own Wikipedia article.

  22. I mean, ok but this article is kind of garbage.

    Stossel makes this claim that life for most people in Socialist countries is hell, but provides no backing, its an empty claim, provide statistics

    I’ve been to Cuba, got lost in Havanna probably walking around places “they didn’t want me to see” and its not like if you get lost in Brooklyn or Detroit or Newark, NJ you will inevitably get jumped.

    People are seriously just chilling.

    And in reality, most of Cuba’s problems are due to the economic warfare the quazi-fascist American government declared on them. If America was a small capitalist country in their position there would be the same outcome, except I guess democracy might adapt to suck up to their overlords, which may not have good long term outcomes.

    And socialism in eastern Europe was actually working ok for people, they had less but people weren’t starving from what I understand, at least not on a seriously large scale, and there wasn’t huge homeless and crime and gang problems like in America, (well I guess who really knows being that the press was suppressed), and they didn’t even have the vast tracts of free stolen land like America did to develop their economies on easy mode during the enlightenment and industrial revolution. Anyways it seems people were getting by from an economic perspective, until their authoritarian government took Regans bait in the arms war.

    I can’t really talk to Nicaragua, but the U.S. government meddled really hard in latin America and the whole region is destabilized as a result, and then the drug war started by America, Idk how we could expect the situation to turn out better.

    Anyway, I think a lot of the myths about the system of socialism totally wrecking economy are untrue and the economic damage stemmed from the use of non-democratic authority and economic warfare perpetrated by the U.S. and rich nations who were the benefactors of imperialism.

    Much of the younger generation just isn’t conditioned by cold war propaganda which was intended to manufacture consent for the economic warfare, …and also topple authority which makes sense.

    My point is that the younger generation has better access to the historical facts without that noise, and the analysis is consistent with what I am saying.

    Looks like Socialism with Democracy would probably work out fine, and also give us more moral credibility with other nations around the world, which goes a long way, and unify the nation at a time when we need to put a nail in the coffin on racial inequality which is a whole struggle we need to get past so we can focus on technical stuff as a nation like investment into infrastructure (which truly is beginning to cripple us) the pursuit of true substantive freedom and how to handle our money in general.

    Btw the American government basically already embodies the worst aspects of socialism now and its the right who perpetrates this as well as the left, through control of the money supply, fighting crypto currencies which is just foley long term, and corporate handouts (the strong coupling with corporate interests which makes this government quasi-fascist as fascism is the merger of corporate and state power along with a corporate-style meritocratic hierarchical authority structure)

    1. Do you understand how stupid you sound?

      I mean, really, really stupid.

      People tried to cross the ocean in boats made of cardboard. They hid themselves in the bilges of ships. Had themselves sewn into car seats.

      Everywhere socialism has had free rein, people flee. Rich people, poor people, everyone who can.

      Economies die. Cultures die.

      And people die. Lots and lots of people die.

      Bernie Sanders honeymooned in the USSR. Not in Russia, in the Soviet Union. And found it good.

    2. “…People are seriously just chilling…”
      Being half-starved has the effect.

    3. most of Cuba’s problems are due to the economic warfare the quazi-fascist American government declared on them

      America imposed communist central planning on Cuba? Wow, I had no idea! Thanks, leftard pinhead! You’ve told us something I never would have guessed!

      -jcr

    4. socialism in eastern Europe was actually working ok for people, they had less but people weren’t starving from what I understand

      I double-dog dare you to try saying that in Ukraine.

      -jcr

    5. So you’re saying that Cuban socialism has been failing because they can’t engage in capitalist transactions with the rest of the world?

    6. “ the strong coupling with corporate interests which makes this government quasi-fascist as fascism is the merger of corporate and state power along with a corporate-style meritocratic hierarchical authority structure”

      And that’s also what socialism is. Socialism and fascism are largely the same ideologies.

  23. quote: “He praised the Sandinistas’ land “reform” because they were “giving, for the first time in their lives, real land to farmers so that they can have something that they grow. Nobody denies that they are making significant progress.”
    Former landowners sure denied it. They’d had their land stolen. Sanders suggested that was OK because landowners are rich.”

    He was never THERE during the Sandisnista rule, I was. And even if he WAS there during Ortega’s rule, he was given a Potemkin Tour, never met the real Nicas who populate the place.

    I was also there about six years after Ortege’a super-rigged election failed to keep him as Head PoohBah, and replaced him with someone who was TRULY a Nica, and who loved, understood, and served the people. A new constitution was brought in that gave the PEOPLE a voice again, restored lands that had been stolen under Ortega. The place, and her people, were radically different than what I had seen ten years earlier, and I spent more time on that second trip.
    I have also, since that second tripl gotten deeply involved in the coffee industry, and thus came to learn about one of the “rich landowners” who were merely out to live on the backs of their workers. A father and two sons owned and operated a HUGE coffee farm, several square miles, I gather, and produced some of the best coffee coming out of Nicaragua, and in large enough quantities to be profitable. They built permanent housing for their year-round workers, gave them vegetable plots to grow their own food paid them a fourth higher than any other estates, trained them in the finer points of coffee production, guaranteed clean water, built a school, medical clinic, and had temp shelters for most of the seasonal workers (most times they had to cleep out in the fields. They, too, were paid well above standare wage for their work, and had opportunity to advance into permanent hires as their skills enabled.

    Ortega decreed that ALL land owned by individuals would be stolen, and turned over to the commoners. They did so with this coffee estate. Being marked men, because they had been “land owners, thus thieves”, they relocated to Miami, where they joined with more of their felow Nicas than remained in Nicaragua.
    After Ortega was ousted in his rigged eletion, the new President, part of a long-standing cattle production operation going back generations, as did this coffee plantation, realised that the secret to prosperity to return to Nicaragua was not the land itself… it was still there, but mostly mismanaged, and certainly not productive nor an asset. …… but the wisdom, knowledge, experience, that made the land productive. The new Constitution included protocols for those whose lands had been taken to reclaim them. A tedous process, but doable, and in fairly short time, The Father had passed away whilst they were in Miami, but the two sons/brothers returned home and managed to reclaim almost all the land that Ortega’s goons had stolen. It was a mess.. buidings run down, equipment destroyed by scrappers, rust, coopting parts for who knows what, pests and diseases had infiltrated, no one knew how to manage the trees for productioin volume or quality, irrigatioin systems were a mess…. but they started in anyway. They knew the coffee stocks that were on the place were still there, and viable. It took three years to restore quality out[put, and another two to get volume back up. Today it is a prosperous jewel, employing hundreds full tie, thousands seasonally, the workers refuse to go anywher else as they have a hope and future there, and are part of a family operation, without them being there, it would not be as prosperous.
    A similar story took place in Rwanda after their “troubles”, and is now happening in Sough Africa.

    Land, without knowledge and skill is just dirt. Until someone comes along and KNOWS what they are about the land will remain “just dirt”.
    Sanders, never having WORKED a say in his life, cannot comprehend that. ANY enterprise, buildling making growing repairing, producing, is a failure without the human capital in the form of wisdom, knowledge, skill, inventiveness, creativity, and sweat. Sanders, ignorant of all this, must never be allowed any authroty, for whatever he touches will crumble. His ignorance is a danger to all round about him. His reign will mimic those of Stalin Castro, Maduro, Ortega, Amin, PolPot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler……

    1. “His reign will mimic those of Stalin Castro, Maduro, Ortega, Amin, PolPot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler……”

      Try harder. The Presidency is at stake.

      1. Try harder; you might fool people into thinking you have two brain-cells.

    2. “ His reign will mimic those of Stalin Castro, Maduro, Ortega, Amin, PolPot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler”

      No it won’t. Sanders is too much of an imbecile and politically incompetent.

  24. For decades liberal secularists have advocated socialism and cultural diversity and postmodernism. Theories that is very popular in the media, academia and think tanks…I say let Bernie win and let’s give it a try….when it fails perhaps the secuarlists will be ridiculed and we can return to an America based on liberty, free markets, and very limited govt. Bernie is the man to finally destroy the securalists…can’t wait for him to win and how he will explain how we are having bread shortages. AT least he will be better in foreign policy and have a more even view of the middleast.

    1. “Let’s elect a socialist so that he can demonstrate the follies of socialism by destroying the US economy” no thanks

  25. Bloomberg’s buying the nomination, but even if the DNC were to somehow uncover a modicum of integrity and let the geriatric commie rat bastard’s idiot fanbois nominate him for president, his high water mark will be a footnote in history as “McGovern version 2.0”.

    -jcr

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  27. Bloomberg’s buying the nomination but even if the DNC! were to somehow uncover a modicum

  28. Also, Denmark and Sweden are MONO-cultural and MONO-racial (at least, until a gaggle of Somalis and Muslims were foisted on them) societies. They haven’t, until these freeloaders came along, had to deal with racial strife nor any “war on poverty”.

  29. Sweden and Denmark do not have bigger welfare programs. They merely have bigger welfare programs as percentage of gdp, but that’s because they are poorer. The size of a welfare program should be compared in average absolute $PPP per person

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  31. The more I find out about sanders, the less I trust him. Trump (whom I detest) will have it easy if sanders is the nominee. Just run ads showing hordes of starving Venezuelans.

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