Sadly, not only Leftists, but beleaguered working and lower middle class voters will like the Bernie promise to make their lives safer and easier.
Monica Showalter of American Thinker, is one of the most astute political bloggers out there. Nevertheless, I believe her conservative outlook caused her to make a conceptual error. Today she wrote a short post about an Axios list of the things Bernie wants to bring under government control — and Showalter thinks that Axios published the list because it’s concerned about Bernie’s proposed power grab:
In a startling Axios summary list called “Bernie Sanders’ 2020 plan to restructure your life,” Axios publisher Jim Vanderhei (and Juliet Bartz), are sounding the alarm about the nightmare scenario of a potential Bernie Sanders presidency.
The piece was featured in Mike Allen’s widely read Top 10 — at the top. It’s a piece that looks like it belongs more at Issues & Insights than center-left Axios. Axios warns that Sanders is surging in the polls and influencing other Democratic candidates with his ideas and they don’t sound happy.
I have to disagree with Showalter. First of all, looking at the list from the purely Proggie viewpoint, I think it’s a very happy list. In the chart below, the left-hand column quotes verbatim from that Axios summary. The right-hand column has the reaction from the average hard-core, college-educated Leftist.
|Bernie's promise||The Lefts' reaction|
|"Your energy choices: His Green New Deal would spend $16 trillion to force you to stop using the energy mostly used today — oil, gas and nuclear. He promises cleaner power and air in return."||Woo-hoo! Trump's stupid, oil-funded climate change denial is going to kill us all. Thank God that Bernie will act with a strong hand to save the world. (And just ignore the fact that Obama, after warning us for years that the oceans will rise, just bought himself a bazillion dollar ocean-front property.)|
|"Your house and car: The Sanders government would pay to weatherize homes and small businesses, and to upgrade gas-powered cars for electric ones. He would mandate the end of conventional gas car manufacturing in a decade."||Again, woo-hoo! Too many American buildings suck in heat during the summer and lose it during the winter, making them uncomfortable and energy inefficient. It would be awesome and great for the climate if the government would repair it. And electric cars are waaay better for the environment. I don't believe those studies saying that all they do is displace pollution production and that the batteries require dirty, environmentally unsound practices to make -- plus, they're almost impossible to dispose of safely when these short-lived cars pass away.|
|"Your health insurance: He would eliminate private insurance and put you on a government plan more generous than Medicare. No more copays, deductibles or premiums, too."||Finally! I've been demanding socialized medicine for decades. I mean, Europe's had it for decades. And I don't believe my conservative friends who point out that (a) Europe could afford it because America paid for Europe's capital rebuilding costs after WWII and (b) America paid for Europe's defense costs during the Cold War. I'm ignoring my conservative friend pointing out that Europe's socialized medicine today, as it runs out of other people's money and is giving services to immigrants who didn't pay into the system, is denying services to old people, overweight people, smokers, and other people deemed unworthy of treatment. I'm also so supportive of euthanasia that I refuse to acknowledge that countries with socialized medicine will pay for (and actively encourage) euthanasia but not to treat terminal or challenging diseases. That's all just silly talk!|
|"Your current student debt: He would eliminate it for everyone."||This is so awesome! It's totally not my fault that I can't find a job in the black, gay, feminist studies field. I've learned to understand the toxic, white, heterosexual hegemonic world in which we live, so that totally makes my $180,000 debt worthwhile. And it will be even more worthwhile if the government pays for it. I think my neighbor, the plumber, is just bitter when he says there's no such thing as "the government paying for things; there's only taxpayers paying for things." He wishes he had a gender studies degree too. (And nooo, I'm not assuming his gender. When I really politely asked, he rudely told me, "I'm a man. And I don't need to ask your gender. You're obviously a little sh*t."|
|"Your kids' college: Everyone gets free tuition at public universities, community colleges, trade schools and apprenticeship programs, too."||Again, this is totally awesome. With the government in control of education, everyone will be so educated that I won't get the kind of attitude my plumber showed. If he goes to a state funded institution. He'll learn to introduce himself as "he or him," and may even learn that their real pronouns are "xie and xir."|
|"Your teachers: He will hire more teachers, pay them more, and fund better school supplies."||Teachers deserve more pay. The fact that they're drawn from the bottom third of every college class, work only 7.5 months a year, and that American kids are continuously losing ground against the rest of the world doesn't mean they shouldn't be paid a great wage with spectacular benefits that allow them to retire more comfortably than most Americans. Also, schools are the future. Don't forget that "xie/xir" issue....|
|"Your job: He promises full employment."||I don't actually know if Bernie can fulfill this promise, but I like the way he thinks. We can have a new version of Franklin Roosevelt's WPA, with government-funded schools filled with college graduates teaching kids about race, gender, and non-heteronormative free-form dance and puppetry. And there's no reason not to double the number of people on every government project. I'm sure it will make things go faster and more efficiently. Heck, there may even be shorter lines at the DMV....|
|"Your wage: He would guarantee you at least $15 per hour."||Yes! Now that I don't have to worry anymore about paying off my student loans for my PhD paper on non-gender binary, multiracial puppetry as a teaching aid in kindergarten, I can use that increased wage to spend more money on better quality earbuds from Asia so that I can listen to Taylor Swift's awesome new music about LGBTQ etc. rage. (Hey, do you think that Swift is getting ready to tell us she's really lesbian? You know, it would explain that string of failed heterosexual relationships....)|
|"Your rich friends: They'll be paying for much of this with a fat tax increase."||My friend Gary claims he has more money than I do because he studied computer science and got a programming job. Honestly? I don't care. He has more money than I do and that's just not right. My puppetry work is just as meaningful as his programming for hospitals because I'm molding future generations. Anyway, if he really likes helping build computer programs for detecting cancer, he should be willing to do it for free. After all, I volunteer an hour a month to give puppet shows with drag queens at the local library.|
|"Your own taxes: Sanders has been vague on this one. But the total cost of just the programs listed above are $20 trillion-plus at the lowest possible end over a decade, excluding Medicare for All, which experts say could at least double the total."||Taxes are something for my friend Gary (or should I say "ex-friend Gary," because he's really not speaking to me anymore?) and that plumber neighbor to worry about. I mostly get money back from the government. I think it would be great if everyone got money back from the government. I'm sure the 1% has enough money to fund us all indefinitely....|
But of course the base is going to be happy. The more worrisome thing is that, unlike Showalter, others might find it appealing too. That is, like Axios writers, they’ll see the ten items as either positives or net neutrals. Here’s another chart looking at the same list from the loosey-goosey, not-very-political working class or lower-middle class voter’s view.
|Bernie's promise||The Working and Lower-Middle
|"Your energy choices: His Green New Deal would spend $16 trillion to force you to stop using the energy mostly used today — oil, gas and nuclear. He promises cleaner power and air in return."||I want my kids to live in a cleaner world, so I wouldn't mind seeing fewer fossil fuels. As for nuclear, that HBO documentary showed how bad nuclear power is. Nuff said.|
|"Your house and car: The Sanders government would pay to weatherize homes and small businesses, and to upgrade gas-powered cars for electric ones. He would mandate the end of conventional gas car manufacturing in a decade."||I don't know if this climate change thing is as bad as everyone says it is, but I'd love it if the government would pay to weatherize my home. It's way too expensive to air condition it in the summer and heat it in the winter. Also, my neighbor's electric car is awesome. It goes from 0 - 60 in 5 seconds and has some really cool gadgets. I'm sure someone will figure out how the problem of long-distance commutes and the 45 minutes to 2 hours it takes to recharge the car if you can't just plug it in overnight.|
|"Your health insurance: He would eliminate private insurance and put you on a government plan more generous than Medicare. No more copays, deductibles or premiums, too."||Thanks to Obamacare, my premiums are through the roof, my deductibles are through the roof, and I've already lost my doctor. Let's just junk the whole system and have the government pay for it.|
|"Your current student debt: He would eliminate it for everyone."||I didn't take out loans to learn how to be a plumber and my son has already paid off the loans he took out to get a computer science degree at his state college. Still, I know that the little whatsit living next door is never going to pay off his puppetry loans anyway. We make as well just come up with a big plan to get rid of them all at once and clean the slate. It's not fair, but at least Bernie has a plan.|
|"Your kids' college: Everyone gets free tuition at public universities, community colleges, trade schools and apprenticeship programs, too."||I don't really care about this one, but I'm sure my son will be happy not to have to pay for his kids to go to college. Yeah, I know taxes will go up, but we'll just be spreading the pain around so that it's a little pain to a lot of people, rather than a lot of pain to a few people. And we know the kids are going to default on their loans anyway, so it'll be the same in the end.|
|"Your teachers: He will hire more teachers, pay them more, and fund better school supplies."||My wife is a teacher. She works hard teaching kids who don't listen, destroy the classroom, and often threaten her. She deserves more money plus combat pay.|
|"Your job: He promises full employment."||All politicians promise this. So, whatever....|
|"Your wage: He would guarantee you at least $15 per hour."||We've had a minimum wage for decades. The economy will adjust. My guess is there'll be some inflation, so I'm worried about my Mom's savings, but otherwise . . . yeah, as I said, the economy will adjust.|
|"Your rich friends: They'll be paying for much of this with a fat tax increase."||Nobody should have a billion dollars. I think everyone's wealth should be capped at, say two million. Anything over that, give to the government. Why not? It's more fair.|
|"Your own taxes: Sanders has been vague on this one. But the total cost of just the programs listed above are $20 trillion-plus at the lowest possible end over a decade, excluding Medicare for All, which experts say could at least double the total."||If I'm getting more from the government overall, I can handle more taxes. It's like free education -- spread the pain for everyone's benefit.|
To reiterate, I think Showalter is shocked by the reach of Bernie’s proposals. I’m not sure non-conservative Americans will be. When the Democrat candidates stand on the stage and talk about open borders and paying for illegal health care, ordinary Americans get queasy. When these same candidates promise to take away all pain and worry, they may start to line up with their hands held out.
Back in 2016, I put together a blog with some sustained attacks on Bernie’s policies. I recommend checking it out now. It’s an effort to remind people that Bernie’s policies, nice though they sound, invariably pave the way to despair and death.
Image credit: Bernie Sanders by DonkeyHotey.