Government

Bernie Sanders for President. – the growing appeal of “free” stuff

All the following sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Many people think so. Tax the 516 American  billionaires more, tax corporations more and give everyone else “free” stuff. Imagine if it really worked that way. It doesn’t; even in socialist countries. 

Liberals and in this case socialists don’t live in the real world. Taxing their favorite target is a ruse. To provide all they promise requires taxing everyone. In other words, to get your free stuff you first have to pay for it by giving up a good chunk of your discretionary income, that’s your income, not somebody else’s. 

Consider this. The total wealth of the 516 billionaires in the U.S. Is $2,759,700,000,000 (that’s trillion), yes I added it up. Most of that wealth is in stocks, and assorted other investments.  Their actual annual income is much lower. But let’s say we really go for it, a political revolution as Bernie says, and tax 50% of their wealth. That amounts to $1,379,850,000,000 which equals $4,339.15 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.  That $1.3 trillion equals 4.7 months of current federal government spending including what the government borrows to spend. 

For a country with 318 million people even confiscating all that money won’t get you much free stuff and what do you do after you spend their wealth, take the remaining 50%?  The fair share mantra of the Sanders and Warren’s of the world sounds great, but it’s a ruse. It creates the impression that you have an easy out, just go after the wealthy. 

And don’t forget to ask Bernie about the tax rates in his socialist countries. In Austria the top income tax rate is 50% if your income exceeds $66,690. And then ask him about the VAT (national sales tax) that ranges between 17% and 20%. If you look at the average income of Europeans and then look at the prices they pay for many goods and services, you ask yourself how do they do it? The answer is that they don’t have as much stuff as Americans do and the vast majority live a more frugal lifestyle than Americans. There is a price to pay for “free” stuff and it’s not paid by billionaires. 

There is pretty general agreement we need to fix the tax code and we need to spend our money more efficiently. Wouldn’t it be great to have the big mouths like Sanders and Warren come up with some real plans to deal with the tax code and Social Security, etc. based on reality rather than spew their populist rhetoric trying to convince you that giving you more and more is easy; just tax the millionaires and billionaires. 

If government doesn’t work for the people in this country whose fault is it? It’s the fault of the people who don’t vote and the people who keep voting in the same politicians year after year and then complain about all the problems facing the U.S.  It’s the fault of the politicians who refuse to fix the tax code and are not held accountable. It is the fault of the politicians who allow themselves to be influenced by big money even more than the fault of those who offer it. 

Bernie Sanders has a 71% approval rating in his home state. Guess why? Well if you believe what he is selling, that every social issue can be resolved simply by raising taxes on somebody else, why wouldn’t you like the guy? You probably also believe in Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny.  The real shame is what this philosophy does to the people it seeks to help, but in the end only makes them more dependent on others and eventually there won’t be enough others to keep it all going. 😪   

Before you swallow the populist rhetoric from the extreme left about millionaires and billionaires, check out the facts from the Tax Foundation.

Sanders and others harp on the fair share nonsense, but make no mention of the charity from the wealthy or belittle that giving from individuals part of the far right as if it didn’t count.  The much hated Koch brothers are an example. David Koch had donated $1.2 billion in his life, mostly to medical research, but you only hear about his political donations. 

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In the current debate over progressivity in the tax code, there is a tendency on the part of advocates for higher taxes to generalize wealthy Americans as faceless “millionaires” and “billionaires.”

However, the portrait of millionaire taxpayers is anything but static. Indeed, the evidence shows that millionaires are an ever-changing group of people who tend to share some common but desirable traits—they are married two-earner couples, who are older, well educated, and America’s business owners.

Thus, it is clear that policies aimed at making America more equal by targeting “the rich” are likely to be ineffective, not only because they are aiming at a moving target, but also because so many of these common traits stand outside the bounds of tax policy.

Bernie Sanders speaks:

“We need a political revolution in this country involving millions of people who are prepared to stand up and say, enough is enough, and I want to help lead that effort,” the self-proclaimed socialist told ABC News’ This Week when asked why he was seeking the presidency.

Host George Stephanopoulos questioned whether the country was ready to elect an avowed socialist.

“Well, so long as we know what democratic socialism is,” Sanders responded. “And if we know that in countries, in Scandinavia, like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they are very democratic countries, obviously. The voter turnout is a lot higher than it is in the United States. In those countries, health care is the right of all people. And in those countries, college education, graduate school is free. In those countries, retirement benefits, childcare are stronger than in the United States of America. And in those countries, by and large, government works for ordinary people and the middle class, rather than, as is the case right now in our country, for the billionaire class.”

Sanders said. “I think at a time when we have seen trillions of dollars shift from the middle class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent, we have got to say very frankly that the wealthiest people in this country and the largest corporations are going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes; profitable corporations can’t stash their money in the Cayman Islands and avoid about $100 billion a year in taxes.”

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10 replies »

  1. Bernie isn’t a serious candidate for the Democratic nomination no matter what he says. He knows he has a snowballs chance in hell of getting it. If he is serious about running for President he should run as an independent, maybe the socialist party, after all that’s what he is.

    I think most people are gullible when it comes to their own self-interests, just not that gullible.

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    • You are no doubt correct, but I find it very disturbing that so many people buy into his simplistic rhetoric without thinking about the implications.

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    • Not hardly. I’m not Teaparty nor extreme right, just very concerned about where we seem headed and what people tend to believe without thinking it through.

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      • I know its several months late, but I disagree with you. I’m no expert but here are some thoughts:

        -His healthcare plan is significantly cheaper/more cost effective and will save you a lot of money while giving everyone healthcare. Thus you gain some money from that.
        -From what I understand he wants to raise the tax cap and charge more taxes that way. So like every dollar you earn over a million dollars let’s say would be taxed like 80% (Bernie has NOT, as far as I know, stated an actual number I’m just throwing one out there). This will earn you a lot of money if the rich are earning as much as claimed, and loop holes are closed, which Bernie says he intends to do.
        -I THINK he wants to spend something like a trillion dollars on jobs to improve America’s pitiful infrastructure. This will greatly stimulate your economy, getting the money flowing again. This will obviously reduce unemployment and get people back on their feet. As people spend, the new tax rates will take effect and get more money back to the government allowing the funding of programs and jobs. Its a cycle that will slowly redistribute your country’s money to the middle and lower classes.
        -As the money comes in, you can slowly reduce the cost of tuition and get more youths into college. This will lead to a more educated generation allowing for more innovation and more jobs.
        -As people become more educated and a need for new innovation becomes apparent with climate change and new legislation encouraging environmentally friendly energy and technology (which Bernie intends to pass) even more jobs will be created and your economy bolstered.
        -As your economy gets stronger less people will need welfare and you’ll start getting money back.

        Basically Bernie wants to invest in America while fixing, and addressing issues America should have addressed a long time ago but for some reason still fails to. Furthermore from what I understand, Bernie doesn’t want to turn America into Austria. He said he wants to take good ideas from other nations and apply them to America (not their entire system). Those nations in which all their people are taxed a lot and make less, also have a lower cost of living (things cost significantly less), just saying when you throw numbers out like that its misleading. I don’t want to get into the whole Koch brothers issue because I think its obvious to the majority of people who look into it. I’ll just say of course large corporations/wealthy people donate, first I think its illegal not to in the States (not entirely sure so sorry if I’m wrong), and secondly they want to keep a decent image otherwise who would do business with them? 1.2billion sounds like a lot but you have no idea how wealthy these people are. 1.2 billion in a lifetime? That’s barely 1% of their current announced wealth this year.

        Honestly I think Bernie is your best presidential candidate by far. Over 70% of Americans agree with his ideas. If they didn’t know he was a “socialist”, I think a lot more Americans would support him. It seems a lot of Americans aren’t aware of what socialism is… To be fair I think a lot of your media gives misleading information or lies a lot of the time. But getting back on topic, even if we pretend what the Republican candidates are saying isn’t crazy, the American people as a whole disagree with their ideas. As for Hilary Clinton, she’s a criminal… literally.. with her and Bill’s record I don’t know how they’re not in jail. Even ignoring that… she lies about what her opinions were and is so clearly corrupt.. CNN keeps portraying her as the best democratic candidate (while sponsoring her) and pushing down Bernie. Ugh its a headache. Even if you don’t fully agree with Bernie (I don’t fully agree with him) you have to admit he has the best plan and is the most genuine. Like who else are you going to vote for? What other plan is there to fix your country? Build a wall? <____<. Your country is a mess atm, there's no perfect plan or perfect system without drawbacks to fix it.

        Sorry I probably said too much. Just kind of frustrating watching America. I don't understand… you guys are like the star athlete in a race, but for some reason you guys like making things hard on yourselves and try to run backwards. You're ahead of the out of shape people but everyone else is catching up or passing you. You need Bernie imo, no doubt if he can do as he pleases you'll be put in more debt for a bit, but things will start getting a lot better. Again sorry if I said too much. Cheers and hope things work out for America =X!

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      • You could not possibly know that about Sanders health plan, mainly because it is not true and not possible. It wasn’t even possible in his home state where they tried to do it. You can not spend less on health care in America unless you deliver less health care in one way or the other and unless you apply restrictions on when and how people receive care just like all single payer type systems do. Sanders does not have the guts to tell people the truth.

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    • Doesn’t look like anyone needs billionaire backing to figure out the basic math. Especially in the light of the recent market downturn, the net worth of the uber-rich has plummeted even further. There is no secret stash of cash to pay for the excessive spending the US already has. One of the big problems is that the Bush tax cuts were temporary and then they were renewed by the Dems in 2009 and then made permanent by both parties in 2013. No politician wants to increase taxes and no one wants to cut spending – but we cannot keep increasing spending without figuring out how to pay for it. Greece is a great example of a country that did just that. Generous benefits to it’s citizens but no long-term sustainability to it. The voters there then rejected an austerity plan for continued financing and everyone talked about how great it was. But then to get money they agreed to it.

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