Bernie Sanders sounds ready to set up collective farms

Bernie Sanders in the Democratic debate last night had big plans for remodeling the country on socialist lines.

He's guaranteeing everything — jobs, education, health care —, to everyone, in exchange for total power to decide what's best for us.  Sound like a bargain?

Here's his call to "eliminate" the kulaks — er, billionaires:

Grabien's transcript:

Senator Sanders, when you introduced your wealth tax, which would tax the assets of the wealthiest Americans, you said, billionaires should not exist. Is the goal of your plan to tax billionaires out of existence?

>> When you have a half a million Americans sleeping out on the street today, when you have 87 people — 87uninsured, hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt, and then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of the American society, that is a moral and economic outrage. The truth is, we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality. We cannot afford a billionaire class whose greed and corruption has been at war with the working families of this country for 45 years. If you are asking me, do I think we should demand that the wealthy start paying the wealthiest top 1% start paying their fair share of taxes so we can create a nation and a government that works for all of us, yes, that's exactly what I believe.

Here's the problem with that one, described by Tom McArdle in Issues & Insights:

Tuesday night's CNN/New York Times debate of the Democratic presidential candidates was filled with propositions to radicalize American society, from confiscation of law-abiding citizens' guns to adopting Canada's single-payer health system but somehow "we're going to do better than the Canadians do," as Sen. Bernie Sanders promised without extrapolating, to imprisoning executives of companies that pioneer life-saving medicines.

But, astonishingly, it also showcased casual discussion of the federal government adopting policies that would stab the Constitution of the United States in the heart[.]

When it really got interesting was when a question was posed to Sanders about whether anyone would have a job left, what with all the country's wealth moved over to the supposedly more benevolent and efficient hand of Big Government, and automation arriving (unspokenly but inevitably as a result of business being unable to afford the sky-high Democrat-imposed costs of employing labor).

According to The Hill:

Questioned whether he was sure that the federal government could adequately provide jobs for all adults in the workforce, Sanders replied, "Damn right we will."

Here's a video:

Here's my transcription from the video:

If you look at what goes on in America today, we have an infrastructure which is collapsing, we could put 15 million people to work, rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our wastewater plants, our airports, et cetera. Furthermore. And I hope we will discuss it at length tonight, this planet faces the greatest threat in its history from climate change. And the Green New Deal, that I have advocated, will create up to 20 million jobs, as we move away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency, to sustainable energy. We need workers to do child care. We need workers — great teachers, to come in, to school systems which don't have the teachers that we need right now. We need more doctors, we need more dentists, we need more carpenters, we need more sheet metal workers. And when we talk about making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and cancelling student debt, we're gonna give those people the opportunity to get those good jobs. 

He's throwing out all kinds of jobs to presumably draw in union support.

Yet 15 million jobs pretty well means a huge revamp of the economy.  How's he going to hire 15 million people?  Employing just one person in the private sector takes a lot of checking and competition to select the best candidate.  Holding out a hiring spree for 15 million presumably laid off workers after Sanders gets done with the economy sounds more like Stalin's institution of collective farms.

First problem: Why should these jobs replace the jobs the private sector had for such workers?  What we have here is government picking and choosing which jobs should exist.  If Vozhd Bernie wants a highway built, workers will have the choice of that job or no job, and that's assuming that this would be done freely.  Historywise, it certainly won't be.

What  would Bernie do if workers didn't want those particular jobs?  What if, say, a trained beautician or dog-groomer wanted to stay in his job but couldn't because his job had been taxed out of existence to fund the great green job machine? 

For Bernie, central planning is what it's all about.

What if someone didn't want to dig ditches and preferred to remain a college professor instead?  This is what actually happened in Pol Pot's Cambodia.  That laid off professor was pretty much made to dig ditches for the collective good.

Free markets for labor are always a matter of willing seller (the worker) and willing buyer (the wicked capitalist employer), and together, the two agree on whether they want to be with each other as well as a price.  There's alway consent involved, which wouldn't be the case in a government-dominant monopoly or near monopoly.  If someone doesn't like his job, he's always free to find another one if there's a free market and a free economy.  He's also free to seek more money if his skills suddenly make him very valuable, sometimes even if they don't.

None of that would be the case in Bernie's state-directed economy, built on the wealth of private-sector companies that he says have suddenly grown too rich.  Don't like your job?  Too bad, because they aren't any others.  Don't like being a librarian assigned to dig wells?  Too bad, the state needs well-diggers.

All of these are unintended consequences of a government takeover of the economy, and why socialism is such a nightmare for workers themselves.  They lose choice, and eventually, the government tells them what kind of job they can have.  Rest assured: some pigs will be more equal than others.

Bernie is candycoating what's really a call not at all different from Stalin's (and Lenin's) call for collective farms.  Sound attractive?

Image credit: Grabien, CNN screen shot.

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