Speaking with MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Thursday evening, Senator Bernie Sanders hit back at Hillary Clinton's recent criticisms of his campaign.
Sanders claimed that his campaign proposals "have increasingly become the mainstream." Sanders continued, "I talked about a $15 minimum wage ... talked about a $1 trillion infrastructure ... talked about making health care right of all people through medicare for all ... making public colleges and universities tuition free."
Sanders is unmatched in his honest passion for the socialist pathway to the utopia.
In this case, however, honesty does not mean good policy.
First off, there's the $15 an hour minimum wage: the cause célèbre of the American left. One problem: Economics proves it accomplishes the exact opposite of its intention.
A highly regarded study this summer showed that Seattle's $15 minimum wage law fostered declining employment for the lowest skilled workers and an average low income wage loss of $125 a month. The economics here were never complicated, only someone who either has no knowledge of basic economics or is so avowedly tied to their own ideological intransigence could support it. AKA Sanders.
$1 trillion in infrastructure spending also raises a few concerns. Most obvious, who pays the bill and who gets to allocate the money?
On the latter point, Bernie would propose higher taxes on wealthier Americans (the top 10 percent of who are already providing around 80 percent of all federal income tax receipts). Of course, because the rich alone cannot pay for all that spending, others will have to pick up the bill. Notably, younger Americans in the form of higher deficits that lead to higher interest rates, higher taxes, and less opportunity. But don't take my word for it., consider the following chart from a tax calculator website. It shows Britain's effective tax rate of 37.6 percent on $150,000 earnings.
That such a high rate is needed in Britain, which has one of Europe's more competitive income tax rates and one of its smaller governments, proves the middle class must pay for Bernie-style welfare states. Oh, and don't forget, the U.K. also has a sales tax of 20 percent.
And who gets Bernie's infrastructure money? Well, note also that the Senator from Vermont is an ardent proponent of the Davis-Bacon act, which requires government to pay above average payments to unions. You can bet some Democratic friends would get very rich as part of Bernie's build America plan. After all, the history of socialism is one of kleptocracy and corruption: government allocation of scarce resources does not mean an efficient allocation, it means the opposite.
How about Medicare for all? Well, as we're learning from former President Barack Obama's Medicaid expansion, that simply means more individuals foregoing work and personal responsibility, more government spending, and a lower quality of care.
Tuition free public universities? Again, nothing is free, someone has to foot the bill. And while a good case could be made for redirecting more pell grants away from expensive private colleges and into community colleges that focus on key skills (see Escanaba, Michigan), simply throwing money at an already overpriced industry is idiotic.
According to Bernie, these "are the ideas that are sweeping America that most Americans now support."
Regardless, in offering pain as medicine, Bernie is nothing more than a modern day trepanner. Indeed, he's worse than a snake oil salesman, who at least sells nothing for something.
Next up he'll be supporting the nouveau-Soviet ideology of de-growth.