Why I find the Sanders message unconvincing on an emotional level


I don’t think that things are as bad as they were in 2008 when we had the Obama vs. Clinton dust up. Oh, but things have gotten very chippy; witness what happened at the Nevada Democratic Convention. And no, requiring that someone be a Democrat to vote at the Democratic Convention is’t “rigging it for Hillary”.

But I’ve been attacked a few times (social media), and the attacks have been of this kind:

“Hey weren’t you for single payer health insurance?”

Me: “yes”.

“Hey, why aren’t you supporting Sanders then?”

Me: “well, there are things like “numbers” (i. e., the wild assumptions that the Sanders plan makes, such as a fantastic rate of economic growth (AVERAGE of 5 percent) to help pay for that and his other ideas, and the idea that these ideas are going nowhere without Congress being aboard, and we’ll need to elect a lot of “Blue Dog” Democrats (conservative Democrats, often from conservative states and Congressional Districts) to have a shot of retaking Congress, and they won’t be aboard with such ideas”.

And I say that I simply find Hillary Clinton to be smarter, better informed and have a greater range of experience.

At this point, I am usually accused of being a Republican, “thinking small”, or simply cursed out.

But the reasons I presented were what I call “logic and data” reasons. There is an emotional reaction against his campaign’s tone, or, *at least the tone of his supporters”. To his credit, Sen. Sanders has addressed at least a bit of my concern from the podium, though I am not sure as to how much it colors his campaign message.

So here it is: though there are some affluent Sanders supporters, much of what I am seeing appears to be: “hey we need to raise taxes on you to give ME something”. Hey, I didn’t choose your college major and I didn’t tell you how many kids to have, etc. THAT, in my opinion, is not a convincing message; it smacks of a bunch of grasshoppers wanting more ants to subsidize them.

Now it is true that there are some small, relatively homogeneous countries that have what we think of as successful socialist economies. Now of course, these are really not socialist countries; they are capitalist countries with high degrees of public investment and a generous safety net:

In the Scandinavian countries, like all other developed nations, the means of production are primarily owned by private individuals, not the community or the government, and resources are allocated to their respective uses by the market, not government or community planning.

While it is true that the Scandinavian countries provide things like a generous social safety net and universal healthcare, an extensive welfare state is not the same thing as socialism. What Sanders and his supporters confuse as socialism is actually social democracy, a system in which the government aims to promote the public welfare through heavy taxation and spending, within the framework of a capitalist economy. This is what the Scandinavians practice.

In response to Americans frequently referring to his country as socialist, the prime minister of Denmark recently remarked in a lecture at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government,

I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.

The Scandinavians embrace a brand of free-market capitalism that exists in conjunction with a large welfare state, known as the “Nordic Model,” which includes many policies that democratic socialists would likely abhor.

For example, democratic socialists are generally opponents of global capitalism and free trade, but the Scandinavian countries have fully embraced these things. The Economist magazine describes the Scandinavian countries as “stout free-traders who resist the temptation to intervene even to protect iconic companies.” Perhaps this is why Denmark, Norway, and Sweden rank among the most globalized countries in the entire world. These countries all also rank in the top 10 easiest countries to do business in.

How do supporters of Bernie Sanders feel about the minimum wage? You will find no such government-imposed floors on labor in Sweden, Norway, or Denmark. Instead, minimum wages are decided by collective-bargaining agreements between unions and employers; they typically vary on an occupational or industrial basis. Union-imposed wages lock out the least skilled and do their own damage to an economy, but such a decentralized system is still arguably a much better way of doing things than having the central government set a one-size fits all wage policy that covers every occupation nationwide.

In a move that would be considered radically pro-capitalist by young Americans who #FeelTheBern, Sweden adopted a universal school choice system in the 1990s that is nearly identical to the system proposed by libertarian economist Milton Friedman his 1955 essay, “The Role of Government in Education.”

And I’ve heard that most everyone in such countries has bought in because the benefits are clear to everyone.

So what does this mean for us? Here is my opinion: I think that people will support things like higher taxes IF THEY SEE THEMSELVES BENEFITING FROM THEM. Example: think of property tax rates in affluent areas. That is how wealthier districts have such nice schools and one way they keep “undesirables” out.

So, someone pushing a higher tax economy will have to convince the bulk of the voting population that THEY are benefiting or will benefit from such a system.

Sanders did make some argument in this direction; e. g. higher taxes to support single payer will be offset by lower insurance premiums for the rest of us.
It is my opinion that THAT has to be the thrust of his arguments. Otherwise: nope..will not work politically.


May 16, 2016 - Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | ,

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