A weekend at Bernie’s

Yesterday, I spoke of the value proposition of Joe Biden. While I need not tell this to those “who feel the Bern,” Bernie Sanders value proposition needs more selling to those who may not be so enthralled. But, what is missing from a true evaluation is needed context.

The US economy is not a pure capitalistic system and, has been much less of one, since the changes required by the Robber Baron period. To be frank, this is the period Donald Trump wants America to return to and with the tax cuts and vast deregulation, we have come closer than before to this oligarchy period. Since that time, we have added several “governors” on capitalism and layered in some socialistic underpinnings to protect those in need. On the former, think interlocking boards, collusion, monopolies, insider trading, and bankruptcy restrictions and protection. On the latter, think Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment, Workers Compensation, food stamps, etc.

So, the US is a fettered capitalistic economic system with socialistic protections. And, to make this even more obvious, if we did not have bankruptcy protection, Donald Trump would not have any money as his companies have declared bankruptcy six times. This context is needed, as the debate we should be having is what is the right balance?

Bernie is pushing for several changes that would add more socialistic protections for people. He has also discussed the government taking over the quasi-governmental, but publicly traded utility industry, to address climate change. Addressing climate change is key, but is that the preferred path forward? As an independent and former Republican and Democrat, I would much prefer the argument to be shaped with the context I note above.

As an example, Medicare for All is something to consider, but it should be evaluated with detailed cost projections on what it means for various groups of people and taxpayers. There are many considerations such as should it be obligatory, should it be an option, should it be an extended version of the current system to younger retirees, etc.? As this will take time to evaluate, shoring up the ACA is needed. I mention this as if Democrats don’t keep the House and get 60 senators, Medicare for All will have difficulty getting considered. But, if framed as something to study, it may get consideration.

While Bernie is much scarier to some as much as he is appealing to his base, it would behoove us to consider the following. Bernie is a decent person with integrity and compassion. None of these three words could be legitimately used to define the current president. It is all about Donald Trump. It is that simple.

I believe Bernie is not as scary as portrayed by the right and he should not be as aspirational beyond what he can deliver. Just like tax cuts, free stuff sells. But, everything has a price tag. The better answer is what makes the most sense to do, based on impact and cost, and the fact we have $23 trillion in debt, expected to grow to $35 trillion. If Bernie is the nominee, I would prefer him to offer needed context to his discussions. Otherwise, he is getting people wound up for disappointment.

7 thoughts on “A weekend at Bernie’s

  1. Good points, all, Keith. I think all reasonable voters understand that campaigns require off the charts promises and ideas of candidates. What Bernie wants to do, will be tempered (if he is elected) by what he can do. It would behoove all of us to recognize that campaign hyperbole is just that–hyperbole. We can expect a newly elected president to lean a certain way, to try to steer his ship where he wants it to go, but it takes longer than 4 years (or even 8 years) to fully change course….unless of course you are oligarch and can hoodwink the people into allowing you to usurp powers no one in America should have.

    And yes. Any decent man would be a step up from what we have. I’d vote for Romney if that could topple the bobblehead.

    • Janis, you and I agree on unseating Republicans. They have been forewarned by actions and words of the corrupt president that he is not only a danger to our democracy, but their party. Since they have chosen to rationalize this person’s boorish behavior, they must be shown the error of their ways. Keith

  2. I agree … I like Bernie’s ideas, like Bernie the man, for as you say, he is a decent man with integrity and compassion, something that has been lacking in the White House for the past three years. But, as you say, Bernie must be able to propose how he plans to fund his ideas, else it appears as pie-in-the-sky. Bottom line is that I think too many in this nation are frightened by his ideas, prefer to maintain the status quo where the rich get richer and to heck with the poor, just so long as they, the middle class, are not having their boats rocked. They fail to see the shark that is about to knock the bottom out of their boat. I strongly suspect Biden will be the nominee, and I’m good with that too, though Warren was my first choice, and Bernie my second. But, the one thing I would like to see is both men concentrating on their strengths, what they bring to the table, and what their plans and hopes for the future are, instead of focusing on the perceived flaws of the other. This is a time for unity, not divisive rhetoric.

    • Jill, well said. I would prefer Warren over Sanders as well, but only because she had a better grasp on the numbers. As I said in my “Hey Joe,” post, I will vote for Sanders, but prefer Biden. Bernie has some good ideas to consider, but a few are too costly. And, as we both say, that is where the rubber hits the road. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: i watched Dr. Fiona Hill, an acknowledged expert on Russia and Putin on “60 Minutes.” She offered very impassionrd testimony at the House impeachment hearings. Among many credible witnesses, she stood out. The Ukraine story on the 2016 election interference is a “fictional Russian narrative.” Her testimony withstood assaults on her veracity from a couple of Trump’s more strident sycophants in the House.

    On “60 Minutes,” she said many profound things. Among them, she said the reason the Russians want Bernie to win the nomination is it will pit the two most strident candidates with the smallest bases against each other, with the rest of us inbetween. In essence, Putin can stir up more trouble and dissatisfaction if it is Bernie v Trump.

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