Bernie Sanders's 12-Point Socialist Plan for America
Bernie Sanders's 12-Point Socialist Plan for America
Every committed revolutionary needs a plan. Karl Marx had one, and so did Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. Add to that group socialist senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, who is considering running for president (as a Democrat) and has already announced a 12-point plan at the Huffington Post. He writes:
As Vermont's senator, here are 12 initiatives that I will be fighting for which can restore America's middle class.
1. We need a major investment to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure: roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports, railroads and schools..... A $1 trillion investment in infrastructure could create 13 million decent paying jobs and make this country more efficient and productive
Why does this sound so familiar? Because it is! Remember the Obama stimulus plan? That too was a trillion-dollar investment in our "crumbling infrastructure" (the favorite amorphous buzzword for government spending). How many millions of permanent jobs were created from that? I think the exact number was... zero.
2. The United States must lead the world in reversing climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies.... and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other forms of sustainable energy.
Good news! Our planet is currently habitable for our children and grandchildren. Nothing further needs be done! However, if we move away from fossil fuels to cutting-edge Don Quixote technologies from the 1900s, like windmills, our children and grandchildren will be paying enormous costs for energy and will have no energy at all when the wind isn't blowing (for windmills) and when the sun isn't shining (for solar).
3. We need to develop new economic models to increase job creation and productivity. Instead of giving huge tax breaks to corporations which ship our jobs to China and other low-wage countries, we need to provide assistance to workers who want to purchase their own businesses by establishing worker-owned cooperatives.
This has been tried in many countries. Israel used to have cooperatives called "Kibbutzes." I say "used to" because most of them went bankrupt. When people were not rewarded more for working harder, and people were rewarded for not working at all, the system went broke.
4. Union workers who are able to collectively bargain for higher wages and benefits earn substantially more than non-union workers. Today, corporate opposition to union organizing makes it extremely difficult for workers to join a union. We need legislation which makes it clear that when a majority of workers sign cards in support of a union, they can form a union.
Union workers in places like Detroit have good jobs at good wages with good benefits...the ones who still have jobs, that is. Many lost their jobs because the wages unions demanded for unskilled labor caused the auto companies to collapse – not once, but several times.
5. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage. We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage.
Every time you raise the minimum wage, the poor suffer, because more jobs disappear, and the products produced by minimum-wage labor become more expensive. The minimum wage is supposed to be a training wage, where people go to get their first step on the ladder leading upward. Those who learn are promoted and get higher wages. Those who don't...well...
6. Women [sic] workers today earn 78 percent of what their male counterparts make. We need pay equity in our country -- equal pay for equal work.
Will we start this policy in the White House? In the offices of Democratic Senate and House staffers? Will we hire committees of thousands of bureaucrats to go into every company and judge the work of every employee to decide what is "equal work"? Because that is the only way such a policy could be put into effect.
7. Since 2001 we have lost more than 60,000 factories in this country, and more than 4.9 million decent-paying manufacturing jobs. We must end our disastrous trade policies (NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, etc.)
I think what Senator Sanders is saying here is that he supports tariffs. It's funny, though, that he doesn't say tariffs. Tariffs acquired a bad reputation after they helped lead to the Great Depression.
8. In today's highly competitive global economy, millions of Americans are unable to afford the higher education they need in order to get good-paying jobs. Quality education in America, from child care to higher education, must be affordable for all.
Is Senator Sanders going to require colleges and universities to make sure that all their professors are working 40-hour work weeks in the classroom? Is he going to audit the costs of universities, find out how much the teaching component costs, and then require universities to lower tuition accordingly? If so, I congratulate Senator Sanders for taking on the liberal college money-making establishment!
9. The function of banking is to facilitate the flow of capital into productive and job-creating activities. Financial institutions cannot be an island unto themselves, standing as huge profit centers outside of the real economy. Today, six huge Wall Street financial institutions have assets equivalent to 61 percent of our gross domestic product - over $9.8 trillion.... They are too powerful to be reformed. They must be broken up.
If banks are profit centers, how do they make profits? The only way I can think of is by investing in the economy, real estate, industries, and businesses. These activities create jobs.
10. The United States must join the rest of the industrialized world and recognize that health care is a right of all, and not a privilege. Despite the fact that more than 40 million Americans have no health insurance, we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation. We need to establish a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.
Health care is a right in many countries, such as Cuba and North Korea. However, having a right to health care is not the same as receiving health care. In a single-payer system, the incentive to innovate and create medicines is lost, and the demand for medical care will far outstrip supply.
11. Millions of seniors live in poverty and we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country. We must strengthen the social safety net, not weaken it. Instead of cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and nutrition programs, we should be expanding these programs.
The more we spend, the better off these people will be – so he says. But where will this money come from? We currently have over 18 trillion dollars in debt, and that doesn't even count unfunded obligations to Social Security and other programs. If we incur more debt, and our economy collapses, as is happening in countries like Greece and Portugal, the poor will suffer even more. The best anti-poverty program is a free-market economy, which creates jobs. A job is the best "safety net."
12. At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we need a progressive tax system in this country which is based on ability to pay.
Now Senator Sanders is quoting Karl Marx! "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." But we already have a progressive tax system in America. If you combine federal and state taxes, in some states, like California and New York, "the rich" pay over 50% in taxes. Does Senator Sanders think an even higher rate will inspire job-creators to work even harder?
Senator Sanders will be 75 years old in 2016. His campaign ideas are only slightly older.
Pedro Gonzales is a writer for Newsmachete.com, the conservative news site.