Bernie Sanders: Pathetic and Outdated

Bernie Sanders, practicing the gutless leadership that he preaches, gave up his podium in Seattle to Black Lives Matter “activists.” He was spouting his neo-Marxist rhetoric about the class struggle (oops, “income inequality”) when young BLM speakers pushed his old boring rhetoric aside, took over his microphone, and began a dumb-speak chant, “Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, etc.”  Bernie kept smiling and soon left the area giving up all attempts to control the podium.       

If we look at the issues section of Bernie’s website, we see he advocates a massive program to employ young people age 16-24. The fiasco in Seattle leaves us wondering if he intends to employ those young people to disrupt the speeches of politicians of both the left and right. On his Bernie-for-President website, he proposes equally useless scenarios that first became fashionable during the New Deal. They did not work then, and are even more beside the point today. He suggests employing citizens, especially youth, to rebuild the country’s ailing infrastructure. He states that “[I have] introduced legislation which would invest $1 trillion over 5 years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure, creating and maintaining at least 13 million good-paying jobs while making our country more productive, efficient and safe.” When advocating the employment of young people, he, like our demagogic president from the left, is thinking of “shovel ready jobs.” 

Their vision is focused on a backward looking memory of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), WPA (Works Progress Administration) and PWA (Public Works Administration) of the New Deal. Those agencies gave jobs to the unemployed so they could have constructive work -- not mere busy work -- and earn money which would in turn stimulate the economy. The dollars spent would boost the demand curve, and thus provide incentives for greater production. Although this Keynesian assumption of the relation between demand and supply proved to be more false than true -- the U.S. did not pull out of the Great Depression -- those programs did at least give productive work to many people. 

People need to work. People need to contribute to the improvement of society. The old leftists like FDR still had some element of the work ethic in their worldviews. But the leftists of our generation are now locked into a hopeless political schizophrenia where they promote state-managed giveaway programs and at the same time call for vast work programs. The work ethic core value is the polar opposite of the entitlement mentality.

Our 21st century world is so averse to hard work, and so unaware of the deep-seated corruption of our era (get on the gravy train to get rich quickly) that the project-oriented approach of the New Deal will not get off the ground now or in the near future. Thus the government’s attempt to employ youth would be held hostage to entrenched labor interests. The corrupt construction unions (not as entrenched in the 1930s as they are today) would object to using non-union labor to build and rebuild cities like Detroit, MI, San Bernardino, CA, or Stockton, CA. Further, the left wants to bring in illegal immigrants to do the manual work instead of hiring unemployed black youth. Why? Because doing so will increase the illegal voting base of the Democratic Party. Additionally, manual labor is no longer considered a fit activity for citizens who are used to instant food, instant information through the Internet, and instant money through the welfare system.  Manual labor takes time, and, well…. it is laborious.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (referred to colloquially as the Stimulus Package) was to have provided about $800 billion for shovel-ready jobs, not far from the $1 trillion benchmark set by Bernie. But the stimulus had no effect; the economy was not revived during the following five years any more than it was revived by 1937 by FDR’s left-wing reforms. And even our ideology-driven, anti-business president had to admit that the shovel ready jobs were not really ready.    

On one occasion, this writer looked up stimulus outlays in Brooklyn, NY at the website. Not one shovel ready job was listed. Instead, substantial sums or money under the “stimulus” had been disbursed to about ten yeshivas (Jewish private schools).  Similarly, a high school in which I taught received over $1 million dollars added to ts $25 million annual budget as part of “stimulus.”  Why? The premise was that without the “infusion” of cash the school would have to lay off teachers and other personnel. Thus, unlike New Deal programs, the stimulus was not only to give constructive “shovel ready” work to the unemployed, but to stave off unemployment. However, even that negative, non-stimulus stimulus of our school was a complete lie. When the $1 million ran out in three years, some other state or city fund was tapped, a fund that supposedly did not exist when we received the stimulus, and the school’s budget was not lowered one dollar. 

Bernie with his leftist program lacks vision, and seems only able to see what smart people working in government can do to make life happen for the poor or for people of color. There is nothing in Bernie’s page after page of “Issues” that pertains to literacy goals, family stability, money management, downsizing the welfare rolls, guidelines for starting one’s own business, or applying motivational strategies for the unmotivated. The locus of economic and social renewal must be “with the people,” not with the government. He draws no inspiration from the many minority small businesspeople who, as legal immigrants, not unlike the parents of Mario Rubio and Ted Cruz, are making it to this day in the USA. He is drawn to failed New Deal schemes and other pie-in-the-sky giveaways by an ever-burgeoning state.

Government has a role to play, but it is not the main role. The main role is for the individual to wake up every day "alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic," and to move forward with a strategy for self-betterment and the full exercise of his or her talents and powers. America is the only society in the world (with the possible exception of Switzerland) to recognize the natural, God-given rights and responsibilities of the individual, and the hope that the exercise of those rights and responsibilities engenders.  

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