Why I’d Vote for Bernie*

From the Wall Street Journal January 20, 2016: 

Mr. Sanders would use government to control the means of production, as the socialists used to say, starting with the banks. He would break up the largest via a “21st century Glass-Steagall” that suggests something far more ambitious than merely dividing investment from commercial banking. He says climate change is his main national-security concern, and he has called for a criminal investigation of climate dissenters.

In my judgment, three issues dwarf all the claptrap we see discussed on cable TV and at the debates, and Bernie Sanders has strong, progressive (dare we say it, “Socialist”) solutions. They are, 

The Power Elite Are Stealing Our Country 

With all due respect to Woody Guthrie, his song says,

“This land is your land…” yeah that’s what we call wishful thinking.

Now let’s sing reality,

“This land is THEIR land…”

Since Reagan, when the far right started funding their think tanks and talk radio, there has been a “redistribution of wealth” from the poor and the middle class to the super wealthy. The sad thing is that many poor and working class people have been persuaded to support this trend and vote against their own self-interest. 

To avoid the inevitable shooting revolution with tanks and dead bodies piling up in the streets that will come when enough people lose it all, we must rebalance the economy. At some point, there won’t be enough big screen TVs, beer, and Super Bowls to placate the lower and middle classes. 

I believe Bernie when he says he will break the back of Wall Street and do a lot of things that will “redistribute the wealth” back down to the workers. He will break up the banks that are “too big to fail,” and he will tax Wall Street trades to fund free tuition at public colleges. 

This may be impossible because it will have to go through Congress, but if enough people support it, these ideas might reshape our future as a country. I am encouraged to see increasing numbers of TV shows, books, and movies (The Big Short) that address these issues directly. Also encouraging, a lot of young people are supporting Bernie. 

Consider this: Trump is self-funded and would do whatever the hell he pleases. Clinton is funded by many of the big banks. Chances are she’d do what they tell her to do. Bernie is funded, not by super PACs, but by small donations from the people. My guess, he’d be more responsive to “the people.” 

This will not be easy. Remember, when FDR forced the super-rich and their congressional lap dogs to approve a 90% tax on the wealthiest people, there was 34% unemployment and a real communist threat to capitalism. Some historians have suggested that FDR saved capitalism. Things are not that dire…yet.

 

Healthcare

It is insane that we have the most expensive and one of the least effective healthcare systems in the world. Why people are not firebombing the homes and offices of healthcare insurance executives is puzzling to me. Some pay outrageously high premiums for this so-called health insurance, but when they get sick, they are denied coverage or are required to pay exhorbitant co-pays/deductibles. Hundreds of thousands of families are thrown into poverty because of this. But wait! We have a free market, capitalistic model here, and, lord knows, those poor executives and share holders have to make a profit! 

Bernie is a clear spokesman for “Medicare for all,” or more bluntly, socialized medicine paid for by everyone through taxation. If this happened, the healthcare insurance industry as we know it would be gone. There would be no more profit motive in healthcare. Why should somebody make money when you get sick? Furthermore, your right to healthcare would no longer be tied to your employment. Why should your employer have to worry about your health care?

We should not have to buy health insurance. Healthcare should be a right you are given at birth that stays with you until you die, whether you are wealthy or poor, employed or unemployed. We should all pay taxes so everyone is covered. Doesn’t the Bible say something about “I am my brother’s keeper.” Hmmm, the Bible and Karl Marx. 

So, good-bye to you over-paid healthcare executives. You better go back to junior college and learn to program for your next career. 

 

Global Warming.

Bernie is very clear about his support for our rapid movement to a clean-energy economy. He points out how hard this is when the coal and fossil fuel industries own Congress. It will be up to the voters to change this. But, alas, I fear we are too addicted to our celebrity gossip to really care about all this. “Here, sweety, here is your People magazine and Super Bowl. Don’t worry your pretty little head about the future. Those are boring, complex issues. Say, what are the Kardashians doing these days?”

The rightwing says, “I’m not a scientist, but there is no agreement that this is caused by humans.” Actually there IS agreement. What is terrifying is the prediction that we have already passed the tipping point. If we stopped putting CO2 into the atmosphere tomorrow, we are still doomed. The politicians say, “We must save the planet.” No, the planet doesn’t give a shit. What they are afraid to say is that humanity is on the brink. According to agencies like The Arctic Methane Emergency Group, and The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (October, 2013),  and many climate scientists,  humanity will probably go extinct in the next few generations. Species extinction – just like the dinosaurs. But that kind of talk would not be good for the State of the Union speech. 

For us to be arguing about things like gay marriage, gun control, school prayer, and abortion is ludicrous. When we run out of water, food, and breathable air,  it will be an ugly end to the human race. We already see this in the effect of mass migration on European economies. 

 

* I am quick to add, that Bernie is not an appealing candidate. He is too old. He is rumpled and angry. His tone is scolding. He reminds me of a slightly daffy old uncle who comes to Thanksgiving dinner, not the leader of the free world. Still, I agree with his positions so much that I’m willing to look beyond his image. 

But if Hillary is the democratic candidate, of course I’d vote for her. While not as left as Bernie, she would be worlds better than these lunatic fringe Republicans that deny climate science, want to hand over the rest of our democracy to the billionaires, and keep millions without healthcare. Wow. Now, there is a great way to run a country.

One thought on “Why I’d Vote for Bernie*

  1. Well Rick, You’ve just about said it all. One of the key issues for me is readjusting the marginal tax rate to at the very least – "Republican" Eisenhower’s 91% . I would also opt for eliminating the social security tax cap. Fat cats can draw on Social Security just because they’ve met a cap that is peanuts to them. Nice going!!

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