Recently an Australian pundit wrote an article about international perception of the US presidential election, particularly Bernie Sanders. The article is full of irony that the writer is completely unaware of. I’m seeing this lack of both self awareness and economic awareness all over the world lately. It’s why Western civilization is collapsing, though people like this writer have no idea.
What interests me the most are the people and media pundits who emphatically denounce Bernie Sanders and his supporters. The reasons all generally boil down to the fact that he is the reincarnation of Karl Marx and he wants to turn the U.S. into a communist state. That he is so far left of centre that he’s basically off the chart. For those people, here’s a reality check. Around the rest of the world, Mr. Sanders represents a point on the political spectrum that is mildly left of centre.
That’s correct. As left-wing as the United States has become, much of the world is even more left-wing than we are.
How’s that left wing stuff working out for the world? How’s Europe’s economy doing? How about South America, like Venezuela? How about India? How about all those socialist / communist countries in Africa?
These questions aren’t even asked. It’s simply, “everyone else is doing it, so you should do it too, you dumb Americans.” Quintessential Societal Programming.
Instead of pointing out that everyone does a thing, it’s more prudent to ask if that thing is working for those who are doing it.
His “wacky” ideas of free (and we’ll get to that term a bit later) education, free healthcare, regulating banks and corporations and so on are all actually staple ideas of many of the happiest and most prosperous countries in the world. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the ‘Happiest countries in the world index’ for 2016. The U.S. doesn’t make the top 10—but almost every single country that does has the kind of policies Mr. Sanders is promoting at some level.
He’s referring to the World Happiness Report, a report put out by the United Nations which doesn’t even measure happiness. It measures stuff like GDP per capita, life expectancy, and whether people perceive their governments as corrupt. These are fine things (sort of, since high GDP doesn’t mean much since it includes the cost of big government), but these things are not happiness. As just one example, thanks to left-wing immigration policies, Sweden is now the rape capital of Europe, with an average debt-to-income ratio of 170%, yet it places number ten on this list. Oh yeah…I’m sure those in indebted rape victims are really happy.
As always, folks are trying to attach high goverment spending with personal citizen happiness and effective economies, when in reality it’s usually the opposite.
Throughout the nomination process, Bernie’s critics always seem to be asking the wrong questions. The most common one I see is “How is he going to pay for all of this?” This question misses the point entirely.
Do you see the insanity in this thinking? Asking how one is going to pay for new government programs “misses the point entirely.” Really?
Seeing the problem yet?
Even if economists say that he can’t, does that really invalidate everything he’s aiming to achieve?
No, but it does mean that we shouldn’t enact it, because we can’t afford it. If I was elected president and I decreed that every child in the nation gets a free pony courtesy of the federal government, but I couldn’t show how I could pay for it, and economists all agreed that I couldn’t, that probably means we shouldn’t do it, regardless of now nice and fuzzy the idea makes us.
But in our new left-wing world, the fact that I couldn’t afford it means nothing. It’s a nice idea, so I should do it, go further into debt, and hasten our collapse. Because kids should have ponies.
If he can’t pay for all of it and the only thing that actually gets passed is universal college education and a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, is that such a horrible thing?
If we can’t afford “free” college for all (and we can’t), then yes.
The other elephant in the room is that the current political status quo is to spend over half a trillion dollars per year on the military. So you’re against universal health care or college education because you don’t think it can be paid for, but you’re happy for your government to spend that amount of money on your military
This is a valid argument, and one of the few areas in which I agree with the left. It’s just sad that the left is addicted to big government in every area except for one (the military) where suddenly they realize that big government and overspending is a bad thing. Too bad they can’t apply that thinking do the other 85% of government spending.
The other nonsensical argument I often hear is that government needs to be smaller, and Bernie will make it bigger by running all these programs. First of all, more government programs means more jobs for people.
Again, the overly simplistic thinking of the left. So whenever there’s a bad economy, the government should hire people to dig ditches in the desert for no reason, because according to this guy, a job is a job.
A private sector job created by the free market is a good thing that helps the economy. A government job created by government is a bad thing, since that job steals money away from the current or future economy. Government doesn’t create jobs. It makes “jobs” from resources it steals from the private sector.
When we talk about “free” healthcare, for example, we know it isn’t free and are happy to accept it. We recognize that the good of many outweighs the selfish wants of the individual. It’s easy to tell someone that if they want health care then they should pay for it, until you are the one that gets struck down by misfortune and has to pay through the nose because the government has privatized everything.
First, it should be remembered that the US healthcare system not only isn’t privatized, but isn’t even close to anything that even looks like capitalism or privatization. Our current rip-off healthcare system is a corporatism / socialism hybrid, not privatized.
Second, as I’ve discussed many times at this blog, if healthcare was 100% privatized, it would be so radically inexpensive that paying for your own medical expenses would be a breeze even for lower-income people. Insurance (real catastrophic medical insurance, not bullshit “anything whatsoever medical” insurance we have today) would cheaply cover any catastrophe, again, even for very low-income people. That’s how it was in the 1950-60s. Doctors were super cheap, even for poor people, and came to your house. That’s what the free market does.
Do we still bitch that we’re paying too much in tax? Sure, who doesn’t? But most of us made peace with high taxation long ago because it means:
1. We won’t lose our job and get bankrupted by the hospital bill if we get sick
You can accomplish that without high taxes and a government healthcare system, as I just showed above.
2. We can attend university for a reasonable fee, not leaving us saddled with horrific debt
Wrong. You still have horrific debt. The difference is instead of having a college loan you have to repay, the debt is buried in the government where it will be your kid’s or grandkid’s problem instead of your problem. Doesn’t that strike you as just a little selfish?
Just like healthcare, college is not “free,” even if the goverment pays for it. Last time I checked, college professors and staff don’t work for free. College campuses don’t magically build themselves for zero cost. These things must be paid for. Since goverment can’t create money (without causing inflation that you have to pay for) that means you, your kids, or your grandkids must pay for these things, regardless of if you use the government as a middleman or not.
3. We can work a minimum wage job and actually survive on the income
This has nothing to do with taxes. This has to do with money printing and monetization of government debt, as I’ve discussed many times.
4. We have a real shot at moving up in society if we work hard
Wrong. You have a harder time moving up in society than you would in a truly free market. Much harder. Hell, just a few paragraphs before this, you said, and I quote, “We also recognize that, while it might be more difficult to reach the stratospheric heights of billionairdom here, it can be done with a lot of hard work.”
Of course, by using the term “billionairdom,” you’re using the classic left-wing strawman of falsely defining all people of higher income as super rich “billionaires.” Is it so terrible that some people who make $20,000 a year might want to make $150,000 someday? Or are they evil “billionaires” too?
We fight to keep all our benefits—you should have heard the uproar a couple of years ago when our government tried to institute a fee of $5 to go to the doctor instead of it being for free. The government scrapped that idea very quickly.
There it is, folks. This is what’s become of the once great Western Civilization. A bunch of beta males terrified of a $5 fee. This is what dependence on government does to people; having them scream and protest for, good lord, fear of a $5 fee for going to the doctor.
Notice again how this guy doesn’t see the incredible irony of his interpretations. He’s actually bragging that his people screamed at the government because they didn’t want to pay five fucking dollars.
Is that something you would brag about?
All of this ignores the massive, massive elephant in the room: that your corporations, banks and politicians have no qualms about being socialist when it suits them. They’ll happily put their hands out for subsidies that they don’t need to make billions more that won’t be taxed—or when they tank your economy and the rest of the world’s economy they’ll complain that they’re too big to fail before taking all your hard earned money. None of them went to jail or even attracted regulation from the establishment politicians. Instead, they just got more money to continue as before.
He’s absolutely right about this. He’s describing corporatism to a T. The problem is that his solution to corporatism is big government and Western European style socialism. He doesn’t understand that his cure is just as bad as the disease.
The opinions in this article, which really do represent most human beings in the Western world today, precisely demonstrate why the Western world is completely fucked, and why the problems that must be fixed will never be fixed.
If you want an economy to survive and thrive for hundreds of years, you need to adopt a few very simple beliefs for government spending:
1. If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it. This is regardless of what you want to buy. It doesn’t matter if it’s free college, a vast military empire, or free ponies for children. If you can’t afford it with tax revenues, don’t buy it. (Yes, a little borrowing can be okay under certain conditions, but the US, Australia, and most of the rest of the Western world are way past “a little.”)
2. Don’t borrow billions of dollars from other countries.
3. Don’t print trillions of dollars of your own currency to fund government or to bail out rich people. This hurts poor people and destroys a living wage.
4. Keep your federal government reasonably small. This applies to both social services and the military. Not just one or the other, you jerkweeds! Both. If individual provinces, states, or cities want to spend a lot of money on government services, that’s up to them and the voters in those areas, but keep the centralized federal government small.
5. “Free” healthcare and “free” college are not only not free, but actually end up costing more than if they were provided by the free market once you factor in government overspending, waste / fraud / abuse, interest on debt, and inflation from increased currency printing. In a truly free market where very little of these things happen, this stuff suddenly becomes really inexpensive.
6. Not all rich people are billionaires. The mega-rich are a teeny, tiny percentage of the “rich.” The vast majority of who you call the rich not only work more hours per week than you, but contribute more to the economy than you do in terms of jobs, lower prices, tax revenue, and many other things.
7. Corporatism is bad, but socialism is just as bad.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the Western world completely disagrees with the above seven items, and eventually they will pay the price for this.
Enjoy the decline!