Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is releasing a book for teens interested in progressive politics, called "Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution."
The book, designed as a how-to guide for students eager to begin work as political activists, is out on August 29th... ironically, just in time for Labor Day.
In a forward to the book, The Hill reports that Sanders notes that he overwhelmingly won younger voters among all demographics during his 2016 bid for president, and praises the current generation of young Americans as the most tolerant and intelligent in history.
"The current generation of young people is the smartest, most idealistic, and least prejudiced generation in the modern history of the United States," Sanders writes.
"This is a generation that is prepared to think big and move this country in a very different direction than we have been traveling for years."
Which makes sense since we showed previously that young Americans love socialism (just don't ask them what it is)... Wanting to see what millennials in D.C. thought of socialism, Campus Reform headed to Washington, D.C. to ask students two simple questions: “Do you like socialism?” and “What is socialism?”
It quickly became clear that while most of the people we spoke with held an idyllic view of socialism, most had little idea of what it actually is.
One student said of socialism, “I think people throw that word around to try and scare you, but if helping people is socialism, than I’m for it.”
When asked how she would define socialism, her answer was simple: “I mean honestly I’m not not exactly sure.”
“I guess just, you know, getting rid of that wealth gap in the United States?” ventured another.
One student supported it passionately, saying “It’s more of an open form of government and it feels a lot more accessible to a lot more people,” but when asked to explain what socialism actually entails, could only repeat now-common refrain: “To be quite honest I don’t know.”
It seems given this level of ignorance that Bernie's book is long overdue. Besides we already have "Communism for Kids"
MIT Press is publishing “Communism for Kids,” a book aimed at brainwashing three to seven-year-olds, on those “lovable little revolutionaries.”
A description on Amazon cheered, “Once upon a time, people yearned to be free of the misery of capitalism. How could their dreams come true? This little book proposes a different kind of communism, one that is true to its ideals and free from authoritarianism.”
Sanders also told Teen Vogue that the book will explain to a younger audience how to get involved with America's democratic system.
"Young people are the future of our country," Sanders told Teen Vogue.
"As citizens of the United States, they have a responsibility to participate in our democracy and to help create a government which works for all, rather than just the few. This book will expose them to an unusual political campaign, the excitement of politics and what being a progressive is all about."
According to Teen Vogue, the book also includes dozens of infographics about issues like income equality and money in politics that Sanders made famous during his 2016 presidential bid.
So in the interests of 'education', we offer the following explanation of "The Economics Of Bernie"...
A number of people have pointed out that the Sanders “program” is not socialism per se, but rather is something based upon socializing the results of private enterprise, or what one might call secondary socialism. The Bernie Sanders regime would take control of some of the produce of private enterprise, as opposed to taking outright control of factors of production, which would remain in private hands. If this reminds one of the fascism of the 1930s, that is because Sanders is promoting a version of the governing models of Germany under Adolph Hitler and Italy under Benito Mussolini.
Of the two, Sanders certainly is closer to Mussolini. Like Sanders, Mussolini called himself a socialist and was a leader in the Italian Socialist Party. Like Sanders, Mussolini decried “profiteers” and the wealthy, and spoke out against political corruption. Like Sanders, Mussolini spoke of a larger “national purpose” and sought to harness nationalism as a political force. Like Sanders, Mussolini sought to impose more and more controls on Italian businesses in order to direct production in a way to satisfy political purposes. Like Sanders, Mussolini built political power by appealing to Italian voters by saying that other Italians were well-off because they had gained their wealth on the backs of the poor.
Having similar economic proposals to Hitler and Mussolini does not make Sanders either of those two men and it is important to emphasize that while Sanders regularly employs the powerful political tool of appealing to voter resentment of others, he is not advocating the kind of genocide that ultimately helped to characterize the fascism of Central Europe in the 1930s and 40s. Bernie Sanders is an economic nationalist, and economic nationalism was at the heart of European fascism, but we do not want to make unwarranted accusations against Sanders, either.
At the same time, I do not want to let Sanders off the hook. He promotes economic nationalism and has built his campaign upon resentment, the kind of which Henry Hazlitt wrote in 1966 in his famous, “Marxism in One Minute.” Hazlitt wrote:
The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. (Emphasis mine)
As one moves through the website for the Sanders campaign, there is plenty of resentment for others. First, there is the ubiquitous “One-Percent” that is the main focus of the typical Sanders stump speech:
This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: “you can’t have it all.” You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America, if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans.
While I would agree wholeheartedly that the US economy is in serious trouble, it is not because of the “greed” of billionaires. It is because the US government, through the Federal Reserve System, has created what David Stockman has called the “casino economy” that has substituted trading of sovereign debt and monetary manipulation for a real economy with interest rates that reflect actual economic fundamentals. Like the Bush and Clinton administrations before it, the Obama administration has promoted political entrepreneurship and demonized market entrepreneurship.
Sanders’s List of Recycled Twentieth-Century “Solutions”
Americans are not jobless because some people are not paying “their fair share” of taxes; they are jobless because the US government insists on directing resources from higher-valued uses to lower-valued uses, as determined by consumer choice. They are jobless because Washington insists on remaking the economy in its own image, and there is nothing in the entire Sanders campaign that would change any of the things that vex the US economy the most.
So, what does Sanders propose to “revitalize” the US economy? Here are some things listed on his website:
- Raise taxes on US corporations (ironically, corporate tax rates in the Nordic countries are substantially lower than current corporate taxes in the USA, something that has escaped Sanders’s notice);
- Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour;
- Expand the reach of labor unions and vastly expand their membership;
- Make it illegal for US corporations to manufacture goods abroad, and then sell those goods in the USA;
- Impose new taxes on financial transactions;
- Spend at least a trillion dollars on building and repairing roads, bridges, and utilities;
- Create a “youth jobs program” in which unemployed young people are given government-sponsored jobs (Sanders sees no connection between high minimum wages and youth unemployment);
- Enact “equity pay” that will “guarantee” that women are paid the same as men for comparable work;
- Break up banks and financial institutions;
- Enact a Canada-style single-payer healthcare system;
- Provide free tuition for all public colleges and universities;
- Expand Social Security benefits;
- Require businesses to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, at least 10 days of paid vacation a year, and seven days per year of paid guaranteed sick leave.
Notice that there is nothing in the Sanders platform that calls for “nationalization” of the means of production, nor does he propose to do away with the price system. In other words, Sanders’s vision of socialism is not what Mao or Trotsky or Lenin proposed, yet there is not one thing in the entire platform that would reverse the dangerous economic trends of the past decade.
Instead, Sanders proposes to direct huge amounts of resources in the direction of constructing something akin to a European welfare state. To put it another way, Sanders wishes to “turn back the clock” to create or promote social and economic structures that already have been undermined by the modern “sharing” economy.
If one reads Sanders’s platform from another perspective, it would be the New Deal. Indeed, there is nothing Sanders has written or said from the stump that would not be reminiscent of a New Deal rally (with the possible exception in appealing to black Americans, which was not part of the Democratic Party agenda in the 1930s, as well as Sanders’s appeal to furthering the Sexual Revolution). Bernie Sanders pushes an economic agenda that is frozen in time.
The problem, economically speaking, is that Bernie Sanders proposes nothing that actually would enable entrepreneurs to help bring about a true economic recovery. In Sanders’s world, entrepreneurs are parasites and employers are oppressors who seek to harm their employees, and wealth is defined by how much governments have in their treasuries.
If I could put the economics of Bernie Sanders into a nutshell, it would be this: Burden private enterprise with one directive after another, and then demonize it when it ultimately falls down under the awful weight of taxes, higher costs, and mandates. While many people believe that instituting the Sanders economic agenda would help turn the USA into another Sweden or Denmark, the more likely outcome would be turning this country into another Venezuela.