America needs the Democrats to nominate Bernie Sanders as their candidate for President. Many other countries have tried socialism, some failing, others modifying it or retreating from it altogether. The only so-called successful democratic socialist countries are not socialist at all; they are free market countries with heavy income redistribution.
We must have a national debate about socialism now, and a presidential race is the best forum for that needed national discussion. If we decide to implement democratic socialism, we are going to either “Feel the Bern” in the positive way the slogan implies, or we are going to “Feel the Burn” indeed.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
Here are the various Sanders’ positions the national discussion must touch:
- “America is racist from top to bottom.” In general, the further left you go, the more you will find this belief. Do you believe that America is racist from top to bottom? Do we want a president who believes that? What might happen if Federal laws and policies were imposed based on this belief? In other words, do you see this belief as a positive or a negative?
- At 46 years of age, the self-identified socialist Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Bernie Sanders, and his wife, Jane, chose to honeymoon in the former Soviet Union in 1989, three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the autocratic USSR. The same USSR that had enslaved its own citizens and much of Eastern Europe behind the “Iron Curtain” for decades. “Let’s take the strengths of both systems,” Sanders said upon completing his Soviet honeymoon. “Let’s learn from each other.” First off, who would have chosen to spend 10 days in the failing, hardline communist USSR, much less pick it as a place to honeymoon? Everyone I know goes to fun places to relax and enjoy their surroundings and each other. Hawaii and the Caribbean come to mind. Heck, people who live in Russia even today do not honeymoon there if they can afford to get away. This had to be a decision driven by politics, not a desire for a fun-in-the-sun, relaxing honeymoon. Second, what’s to learn from the old Soviet Union that anyone would want to replicate? As he stood on Soviet soil, Sanders criticized the cost of housing and healthcare in the United States, while praising the lower prices — but not the quality — of that available in the Soviet Union. Then, at a banquet attended by about 100 people, Sanders blasted the way the United States had intervened in other countries. Is this the type of action and political philosophy we want in our government? We do get to choose.
- Also in 1989, the Senator visited Cuba, “I did not see any homeless people. Cuba today not only has free healthcare, but very high quality healthcare. The people we met had an almost religious affection for Castro.” No surprise there. I am sure that we all realize that the dictatorship allowed Sanders to see only what they wanted him to see. Mr. Sanders has also praised the one-party Chinese Communist government for lifting a million people out of poverty. He neglected to mention that it was communism, e.g., the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, that helped to create the grinding poverty in the first place. And finally and grudgingly allowing some free market reforms is what dramatically improved the Chinese economy. Compared to non-communist, free-market countries like Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, China still lags far behind. Again, the national debate needs to rub its nose in this conversation.
- Consistent with his other views, the Senator denounced the bi-partisan American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as a hate group, when he refused an invitation to speak at this year’s AIPAC’s annual policy conference. Overall, Sanders continues to signal his commitment to undermining the pro-Israel lobby, replacing that stance with a pro-Palestine position. And this realising that the countries around Israel have three times attacked the Jewish State with the announced intent of pushing it and all of its inhabitants into the Mediterreaean. And remembering that over the last few decades, the Palestinians have turned down four internationally-supported peace deals. My point here is not that we must decide for or against a pro-Palestine policy; my point here is that this decision must be a part of our national debate. In other words, what should our Middle East policy be?
- By any measure, the cost of candidate Sanders’ various policies, including mandatory Medicare For All, free public college, forgiveness of student loan debt, funding the Green New Deal, providing homes for the homeless, free pre-K and child care and paying off all medical debt, would cost an additional $5T-$6T a year. “T” as in trillions of dollars. Currently, the federal government raises $3.5T in taxes, and spends $4.5T, borrowing the needed $1T every year–adding $1T a year to the national debt.
Today’s Key Point: While many other countries have implemented various levels of socialism, and they know its effects; America has not–and is ignorant of the effects. Too many of us see socialism as a “nice” way of taking care of those who need it, while getting the money from those who don’t need it. Both Russia and China have added strong free-market elements to their socialist economies in order to rescue them from disaster. As has Vietnam. The UK first voted for a socialist in 1945 when it elected Clement Altee, the Labour Party Candidate. In the UK’s most recent election, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labor candidate whose various stances and positions are very similar to Mr. Sanders’, the Labor party suffered a historic defeat. They know what Mr. Corbyn’s policies would have meant for Britain, and voted a loud “No.” We must be as well educated before we make our own decisions here in the US.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.