Bernie still thinks socialism is a good idea

Senator Bernie Sanders suggests the minimum wage needs to be raised to a living wage. He claims, “In the richest country on earth, if you work 40 hours a week you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

He thinks the federal minimum wage should be increased from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour, or more than double.

How could one possibly draw such a conclusion? If this were an individual worker demanding such an increase, he might lose his job. He has the right to say, “I won’t work this job unless the pay is doubled.” Would a worker ever demand such an increase, risking his job?

What matters is that there’s a job to be done, it pays $7.25 per hour, and that individual can decide whether to do that job.

Is this what we need from government representatives, to raise the minimum wage for us? What if the job isn’t worth $15 per hour, so the employer eliminates the job (and the work gets performed either by other workers, by machines like kiosks, or it doesn’t get done at all?) Would thanks go to Sanders then?

How many people are we talking about? According to the federal government, just 1.4% of hourly paid workers make at the minimum wage or less. Many of those workers are 16 or younger, as a Sanders supporter recently unearthed through Tik Tok that McDonald’s was offering employment to 14 and 15 year olds. While clearly not illegal, the supporter mused as to  whether this is “exploitation”. Even though McDonald’s advertised the job as paying $15 per hour.

Sanders goes on to say the following: “In the year 2023, nobody in the US should be forced to work for starvation wages.”

This is an easy one to refute. How is anyone “forced to work for starvation wages?”

Another quote from Sanders in 2012: “Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.”

Does Sanders’ contention that we live in the richest country on earth matter? Does it matter that Elon Musk has recently become the wealthiest human on earth, or that Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates are billionaires? How does the highest income and wealth in the U.S. matter to an individual making minimum wage? I know Sanders would say, “Because it’s not fair.”

Socialism dictates that everyone make the same amount, to be fair. Under socialism, no minimum wage is needed because there would be one pay scale. There would be no billionaires. And there would be no wealth in which to even be having this discussion about “redistributing” that wealth, or what a “fair” wage is.

Why do we envy the rich and pity the poor? Is it selfish to be rich and want more (what Sanders would call “greed”), or is it selfish to be poor and want what someone else has? Are both greedy? Or is it axiomatic that the poor can’t be greedy?

As Michael Levin wrote, “We worship success, but we hate successful people.” He was talking about Tom Brady, but isn’t this akin to hating the rich? Does it matter if they’re on our team? Should it even matter?

Some claim capitalism is “greed of the individual.” Does that make socialism “greed of the collective?”

Rich Yurkowitz, Healthcare Actuary and Author of Medicare For All – Really?!

Image: Gage Skidmore

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