Bernie Sanders: What He Wants and How to Pay for It
#1
Conservatives (including some among my friends) continue to accuse Bernie Sanders of wanting to undermine American values because he is a self-proclaimed "Democratic Socialist". The antipathy directed at Bernie focuses on the word "socialist" (playing semantic games) without actually addressing what he proposes.

His Website has a page that outlines where Bernie Sanders stands on the issues but I doubt anyone other than liberals and open-minded independents are bothering to read it.

There is also a page that explains how Bernie will pay for his proposals.

His ideas are quite modest. The classic stereotype for socialism is government-control of production, state-owned industries, etc. Bernie doesn't want any of that. What he wants is to:
  • Enforce corporate tax collection (about $750 billion in uncollected taxes is owed on $2.1 trillion corporations save in offshore accounts)
  • Shift government energy subsidies away from petroleum
  • Reduce employer/employee health care costs by about 75%
  • Do away with the Affordable Care Act (which he helped to write)
  • Prevent companies from reducing pension benefits any more
  • Create 1 million taxpaying jobs for disadvantage young people
  • Increase the Social Security fund from $2.9 trillion to about $7 trillion (extending its life from 19 years to 50 years)
  • Provide a tax credit to families earning less than $50,000 per year (you would have to qualify for it)
  • Add a maximum 0.5% transaction tax to trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives (the credit above would apply)
  • Close a legal loophole that would tax hedge fund managers at the same rate as everyone else
  • Tax illegal immigrants (by legalizing their status)
  • Apply Social Security tax to incomes greater than $250,000
  • Tax the transfer of wealth from generation on a progressive scale (maxing out at 55% above $5 million in value)
  • Grant medicare coverage to everyone
  • Pay for college tuition for everyone
  • Grant 12-week family & medical leave to everyone (paid for by an $80/year increase in income tax)

What is not to like in this platform? And, to be honest, almost all of these initiatives have already been proposed as bills in Congress but they aren't supported by enough people. The public is generally unaware of what it is that Bernie Sanders is pushing for.


I think I left out something but I have to run for now.

Here is another article that summarizes how Bernie Sanders will pay for his programs.
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#2
That is quite socialist, even by the standards up here in Soviet Canuckistan. It all sounds quite sane, except for the bit about reducing health care costs by 75%. That seems way too much. I remember a program from about 20 years ago focusing on why American health care costs were about 20% higher than Canadian costs. It pretty much all came down to the administrative overhead of dealing with the countless insurance companies that cover Americans. In Canada, hospitals only had to deal with one government body to collect payments from, and it was a body that wasn't trying to delay and reduce payments by as much as possible to increase profits. Canadian hospitals didn't need a whole wing full of accountants and fee collectors like the American hospitals did, and so could be run more cheaply. Other than that, the costs were more or less the same. So, saying that you can find savings of more than 50% over that sounds too optimistic, unless it somehow can be done by cutting drug costs.
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#3
Politicians make lots of promises. So far we haven't elected any who have been able to solve problems with their promises. I find many of Bernie's ideas to be interesting but like many other people I remain ambivalent about their practical adoption. If nothing else, he might shake things up in Washington and get some compromises on the table that are less threatening to people.
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