The Socialism of Bernie Sanders

Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker

Artist, attorney, writer. Mother. Grower of things. Inconsistent user of Oxford Comma. I have no natural constituency. She/Her/Any

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  1. Avatar Kristin Devine
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    Great piece! If you have the time, I hope you read my next piece which touches on much of this same subject matter.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    America has always had heaping doses of government directed economic action. And for almost all that time, the government intervention was directed at erecting and maintaining the privilege of the dominant culture to the exclusion of all others.

    Trump’s form of socialism is in this vein- I joke about “Nationalism plus Socialism” but its not really a joke any more, its the purest form of Trumpism. Heaping doses of government gravy which flows towards his tribe, and savage indifference towards the rest.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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      The socialism in “nationalism plus socialism” was real socialism, focused on banking reform, price controls, rationalization of trade, aid to the poor, pensions, health care, minimum wage, workers holidays, youth camps, road construction, infrastructure development, massive jobs programs, etc. It was really popular in most circles, not just because public support was mandatory, with non-supporters hauled off to re-education camps for morale-boosting exercises.

      We could have had all that with Hillarys “happy fun camps”, but Bernie’s staffers are also talking up the positive aspects of gulags, so the opportunity to achieve true socialism is still there!Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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      Trump’s biggest mistake and probably his biggest regret politically is that he let McConnell and Ryan steam roll him into doing repeal/replace right outa the blocks instead of what he wanted to do, which was a big, beautiful, job-creating infrastructure bill. IF he’d done that, attacks on Bernie’s version of socialism wouldn’t have as much bite, but they also wouldn’t matter since Trump’s re-election probably would have been sealed early in his term.

      Why am I saying this, you might ask? Because Trump doesn’t give a rats ass about socialism except insofar as it affects his re-election. Trump voters largely don’t care about socialism either. They only care about who does it. For example, if tomorrow Trump signaled that he thought raising taxes on the wealthy to expand Medicare and Medicaid was a good idea, everyone except McConnell and Paul Ryan (politically RIP) would bend their knee. Hell, even Dark Matter and George would be on board. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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        You’re describing a Trump who thinks in terms longer than beyond his evening meal which i think is anthropomorphizing him a bit.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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          Chip. Here’s two cents worth: Trump is cunning and smart and ruthless and you underestimate him at your peril.

          “But he hasn’t read the Classics! HE DOESN’T EVEN SPELL CORRECTLY!”Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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            Maybe.
            But in three years he hasn’t expanded his voting base by a single vote. He has one note, a mixture of bitterness and petulant grievance, and hits it in every single tweet and speech.

            Given a good economy and lack of disastrous wars, he should be a shoo-in for re-election, but has never had a positive approval rating. All of his possible opponents beat him in head to head polls.
            Given two years of a Republican House, compliant Senate and obsequious SCOTUS, he should have had some massive signature accomplishment, equal to Obamacare by now. Instead all he delivered was a tax cut for billionaires.

            If this was President Hillary Clinton, we would be treated to constant headlines about the impending death of the Democratic Party.

            He might be re-elected. But he isn’t a superhuman juggernaut. He can be beaten.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
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            Have you ever considered that Trump was lying during his campaign on everything except immigration? He governed as a far right republican since he got elected. His only campaign promise he followed on was xenophobia and racism.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
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              agreed. He now has a record of both rhetoric – which remains largely unchanged – and policy actions, which on everything except immigration are not what he ran on. Not by a long shot. And that’s not because he got steam rolled by anyone. Its who he is. Its what he wants.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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              Have you ever considered that Trump was lying during his campaign on everything except immigration?

              What difference would it make if he was lying?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
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                Because it would mean that Trump like any other Republican President never considered an infrastructure bill seriously. He let McConnell and Ryan talk him out of it because he didn’t want it in the first place. Even if Trump did want it, the Republicans wouldn’t pass it.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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                Ahh, OK. So let’s assume you’re right and Trump is an even bigger liar than I gave him credit for. Why does that matter?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
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                You wrote that Trump’s biggest mistake and only regret is not doing a big shiny jobs creating infrastructure bill. I don’t think he had any intent or desire to do one at all even if it helped him politically. He governs as he wants to, which is to enrich himself and his cronies and hurt others.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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                It’s weird to say an administration which has repeatedly made infrastructure proposals to congress doesn’t want an infrastructure bill. But whatever.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to Stillwater
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                he has talked in very general terms about wanting to do infrastructure multiple times. He has sent one such bill to Congress in three years. House leadership negotiated it with him, got a few concessions, and passed it. It sits in the pile of dead bills that Sen. McConnell won’t take up.

                Tell me again how he wants this so badly?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Philip H
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                I’ll just say one more thing and (hopefully) leave it at that: you guys IMO fundamentally misunderstand Trump as a person and a president. Trump is *not* (to paraphrase Lee and Saul) a conventional rich Republican who lied about his populists policy positions. One reason I think that’s wrong is because never in his life has Trump been a conventional rich Republican, in presentation or in actual fact. His driving impulse is quite (very literally) to get great ratings, and because he’s cynical about institutions he ignorantly assumed that his prefereded policies and methods (transactional agreements between himself and leaders with less power based on zero-sum metrics) would be easy to achieve because prior US political leadership was too stupid/hamstrung to make those deals. As an individual he’s not only unencumbered by loyalty to the good ole boys Republican party, he’s actively undermined and effectively destroyed that club’s power within the GOP.

                Let’s take one example of this: appointments of conservative judges. Is that evidence that he’s a bog-standard conservative Republican only posing as a populist? Well, sure, until we get into the finer details. First, Trump’s judicial appointments are *intensely popular* within his base. Second, McConnell has made it his lifes work to fill as many openings with conservative judges as possible, and he’s the gatekeeper on confirmations. Third, does anyone *honestly* believe that Trump – a person who doesn’t even understand the basic structure of our constitutional framework, cares about a conservative tilt in the judiciary? Nope. He does it for self-serving reasons driven by ratings *but also* to gain transactional leverage over how those judges will decide in cases that matter to him directly and personally or, again, when it comes to ratings.

                Trump is transactional all the way down and there is no bottom, but the quo on his end is *always* individually self-serving and *never* in the furtherance of some grand conservative ideology.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater
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            No he is a pretty dumb piece of shit. The only thing that makes people in this blog think he is smart and cunning is that this blog is filled with people who think the Democratic Party is icky.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Siegel
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    ” He isn’t going to nationalize the means of production.”

    I’m not entirely sure of this. He’s talking about nationalizing insurance and energy production for starters. Do agree that we have socialism for a lot of big businesses tho.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Siegel
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      He may talk about it, but by what mechanism could he legally do it, absent congress passing legislation giving him that kind of power?Report

      • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        The one of the largest domestic socialism program in the history of the United States at $28B and counting – the Market Facilitation Program, otherwise known as the Farmers Bailout – passed the Senate 87-13.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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          But did that result in a any government owned farms, or did it just give money to farmers?

          Truman tried to nationalize the steel industry to meet the governments needs in Korea, and the Supreme Court ruled in Youngstown Sheet & Tube that the President doesn’t have the authority to seize property without express Congressional action.

          Many of Elizabeth Warren’s plans would die on the same hill.

          Of course one of the underlying problems that would crop up is “If you think the people who built the booming industry are incompetent, wait till you see the drooling and corrupt political hacks the government puts in charge of it!”Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Andrew Donaldson
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          That is simple pay outs. It doesn’t nationalize anything. Aside from needing both houses to go along B’s plans would likely be fought in court. I can’t see how he is going to put private insurance out of business w/o the supremes vetting it. That would take a while and ain’t gonna happen.Report

        • But that’s for Real Americans — farmers. (Never Mind that they’re largely big corporations.)Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Siegel
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      Well, he also talks about making state universities tuition free. Is that a signal that he proposes to use federal executive power to “nationalize” state-owned institutions?

      Of course it does.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Stillwater
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        I think he’d get more votes if he said he was going to make beer free for everybody.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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        Maybe I’m being naive but I think the realistic absolute shooting the moon for a Sanders admin would be something like undoing the Trump tax cuts, introducing a public option to the existing ACA structure, some mostly symbolic bailout for outlier student debt cases, and a big infrastructure project. And the only one of those remotely plausible without flipping the Senate is the last. Maybe with a non-R president the Republicans suddenly care about the deficit again and some form of the second is on the table but who knows.

        The idea that we’ll start nationalizing whole industries is nuts. The votes aren’t there.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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          The votes aren’t there even if Dems controlled the House, Senate and POTUS. And even in that scenario I think a public option would be very unlikely. More likely than a PO would be expansions of Medicare and Medicaid.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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          I’ll say this much about Sanders though, and on this I think he’s right: you can’t pull the Democratic party to the left by saying “here’s a bunch of stuff I’d do if I could but can’t so I won’t.”Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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            As with Trump, the winner inspires legions around the country to try and emulate his success.

            Sanders’ and ascension represents the final death knell of the 1990s “me too” Democratic Party, which tried to co-opt the Republican brand.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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              Trump ran in a climate where the single biggest catastrophe in US history was perpetrated by Republicans (with a vote of support from Hillary). He won *in large part* because he correctly and ruthlessly called out decades of GOP bullshit. Sanders doesn’t have the luxury of framing his anti-Party attacks in the context of such massive fuckups about which everyone, across all party lines, were in agreement. So his attacks on the Dem party don’t land with the same force even if deep in our hearts we know he’s right about the party being FUBAR. 🙂Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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            True enough, though it also gets to my comment to PD Shaw below. The conversation on each candidate’s positions doesn’t seem to account much for the constraints of the office.

            But maybe that’s not all bad. Part of the appeal of Sanders to me is giving a really big platform to someone who isn’t utterly beholden to high finance or hopelessly committed to a stagnant ‘neoliberal’ (I hate that term but whatever) perspective that no longer works or makes sense to normal people.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Stillwater
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        Or, it means passing budgets that send blockgrants to the states so their university systems don’t have to raise tuition to the point that you could get an Ivy League education fro the same price. You know, instead of buying ANOTHER fighter jet the Pentagon doesn’t want.Report

    • Avatar The question in reply to Michael Siegel
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      I mean the federal government owns the Tennessee valley authority he basically wants to do that except over the whole country which yeah seems like it’s rad as hellReport

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to The question
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        Which only prompts me to note how “radical” the New Deal era was compared to ours.

        The degree of outright government control over private industries during the Depression and war years would astonish the average person today.

        And its also worth noting how a lot of these things like wage and price controls continued up until the 1970s.

        Bernie’s brand of “socialism” would be seen in 1944 as modest.Report

  4. Avatar InMD
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    I have my quibbles with this piece but overall agree with the sentiment. Every debate on the big 3 of housing, healthcare, and higher ed is warped into a debate between the ‘free market’ and socialism and it isn’t remotely grounded in actual existing public policy.Report

  5. Avatar greginak
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    Concur with other people who said this is good. My general take is that almost all discussion of C or S start of stupid and get worse. At most they are superficial generalizations that dont’ tell you much. Trying to at least discuss what has worked in practice scuttles discussions of pure C or S. Having a pure philosophy is good for stoners and hot air merchants. The real world makes every pure philosophy face failure and hard questions. What matters is how to make a mixture of Cap and Soc work.Report

  6. Avatar North
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    Great piece, love the pragmatism. Still hope it doesn’t come to Bernie but seems like a good way to look at it if it does.Report

  7. Avatar PD Shaw
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    I’m not a libertarian, though I voted for one once and may again this election, but the OP begs the question of why Bernie Sanders self-identifies as a socialist? AFAIK, nobody else does running to be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party. What does that difference represent?

    As far as context, Ryan Bourne of Cato :

    Krugman is right to say that Sanders shuns nationalisation. To simply label him a socialist, without any caveats, is misleading. But it’s even more grossly misleading to suggest his “democratic socialist” ambitions stop at a Scandinavian-style welfare state. More redistribution is central to his agenda, sure, but he also proposes massive new market interventions, including the Green New Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, expansive price and wage controls, overhauling labour and corporate governance laws, and enforced mutualisation of companies.

    Any given European country might engage in one or some of these interventionist policies. Combined though, whatever label you give it, Sanders’ platform goes far beyond any modern social democracy in terms of government size and scope. Indeed, his policies can only be considered moderate if some three-way lovechild of the economics of 1970s Sweden, Argentina, and Yugoslavia’s market socialism is the baseline.

    He goes on to place Sanders to the left of Corbyn, which may be true, but ultimately Corbyn was running in a parliamentary system and his positions could be treated as largely those of the government, whereas Sanders is not only faced with separation of powers issues, he does not seem well liked by core elements of his adopted party. Potential outcomes of his Presidency seem narrow and mostly contained within his adopted party, right?Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to PD Shaw
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      This gets to another aspect of our debates that are disconnected from reality. We talk about candidate platforms in a vacuum as though the rest of our system simply doesn’t exist. The best a president can hope to do is move the needle a bit on a handful of issues. In many respects the discussion over domestic policy is grossly inflated due to the obstacles to change. We talk far less about areas like foreign policy where the presidency has the most power and checks and balances have broken down.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    The word socialism is an interesting because it produces extreme reactions. I think a lot but not all of those are based on age. For people of a certain generation, socialism will always be Leninism regardless of any fact or evidence to the contrary. But the reason I think younger voters do not feel this way is because of how much chicken littleling has been done for socialism.Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    This is the kind of thing that would really benefit from some numbers. Currently federal spending is a bit over 20% of GDP. Sanders is pushing for new spending that would double that to 40%, a figure not seen since that huge spike in World War II. This is on top of about 15% of GDP going to state and local spending. That’s a huge, huge deal.

    With no numbers, you can wave your hands and say that it’s no big deal that Sanders wants to intervene in the economy because Republicans are already doing so. With numbers, you just can’t. The difference is enormous.

    Also, I want to dispel the myth that Sanders is just emulating Scandinavian policies. One of the things that makes Scandinavian countries work reasonably well (Not that well! Other than Norway, which is a quasi-petrostate, they’re about 15% less wealthy than the United States) despite their bloated welfare states is the fact that they tax capital relatively lightly. Their corporate income tax and personal investment income taxes are a bit higher than the US’s, but not by much. Prior to the 2017 tax cuts, they actually had lower corporate income tax rates than the US. Their welfare states are funded by extremely heavy income and consumption taxes on the middle class. Sweden’s 51% income tax bracket starts at around $50,000. Not to mention the 25% VAT.

    Sanders, by contrast, wants to go full Deliverance on capital. 52% tax on investment income (and maybe Social Security and Medicare on top of that? He’s not big on details)! 8% wealth tax! 35% corporate income tax! This is really bad. Not for me, personally. I’m not as rich as Sanders yet, so he doesn’t hate me. But capital is the seed corn that fuels growth. Taxing the bejeezus out of capital slows economic growth (and wage growth!) and impoverishes us all in the long run.

    Anyway, Sanders is explicitly rejecting a crucial component of what makes Scandinavian economies work. When you do that, you don’t get to say you’re just trying to be like Scandinavia.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Brandon Berg
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      The same can be said of his healthcare plans – abolishing private health insurance is not a common European practice – even New Zealand and the UK, which have state-run hospitals, still have private insurance schemes.

      Sanders is not trying to replicate the neoliberalism of modern Scandinavia, he’s trying to recreate something closer to pre-Thatcher Britain where the government owned much more of the economy and had massive control over what it didn’t directly own. That is not a recipe for a successful society, as history has made clear.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James K
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        Nor is authoritarian kleptocracy, which is the Trumpist model. I’m not a Bernie fan, but he remains the lesser evil.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to James K
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        There’s a lot of context missing here for why Bernie is suddenly appealing despite being a relatively old quantity. First, turning the US into pre-Thatcherite Britain is not even remotely possible in the existing system and with the existing parties. To be clear, this is a good thing, but handwringing from folks like Brandon aside, no one believes that is on the table regardless of what appears on Bernie’s website. It’s a distraction that fundamentally misunderstands what’s going on.

        Keep in mind that public services to the working and middle class have not been prioritized in the US in decades. Even getting the kinds of systems supporting healthcare and education that are normal in Western Europe is a serious longshot in America and would remain so under a Sanders presidency. Instead the debate between mainstream actors tends to be whether the safety net and public services should be gutted entirely or old systems mostly established in the 40s-60s should still be propped up with minimal investment, despite being increasingly outdated and inadequate. Corporate welfare and expensive expeditionary wars as well as the means to conduct them is of course never on the chopping block or more than minimally open for discussion, including when the party theoretically more sympathetic is in power.

        So what’s happening is that the stock market is strong, employment is solid, but most people, even really successful ones are perpetually walking a tight rope over financial ruin without savings or support. You or your spouse gets sick? Good chance you’re fucked. Market downturn? Good chance you’re fucked. Want your kids to go to college? Sure but youll need to roll the dice with debt and hope for the best with no safety valve if it doesn’t work out.

        This is why people support Bernie. They don’t want the federal government running entire industries but they do want their (dare I say class) interests taken seriously by a government that continuously refuses to respond. Trump tapped into a version of this as well, probably unwittingly. Until it gets addressed by more mainstream actors it will continue to come out via personalities who under normal circumstances would be out on the fringes.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD
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          So what’s happening is that the stock market is strong, employment is solid, but most people, even really successful ones are perpetually walking a tight rope over financial ruin without savings or support. You or your spouse gets sick? Good chance you’re fucked. Market downturn? Good chance you’re fucked. Want your kids to go to college? Sure but youll need to roll the dice with debt and hope for the best with no safety valve if it doesn’t work out.

          This is why people support Bernie. They don’t want the federal government running entire industries but they do want their (dare I say class) interests taken seriously by a government that continuously refuses to respond. Trump tapped into a version of this as well, probably unwittingly. Until it gets addressed by more mainstream actors it will continue to come out via personalities who under normal circumstances would be out on the fringes.

          This is the most true statement this year on OT. And if Democrats don’t want Bernie as their nominee they need to get off their high horses and deal with this stuff, raw and messy as it may be.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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            I’ll second this. The flip side of a “dynamic” market and “market-based solutions” to things like retirement and healthcare is that people are forever insecure and vulnerable to the slightest tremor in the marketplace.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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              Exactly, which is why very few people support pure laissez-faire or market anarchy as a policy. People do not like the feeling of instability and don’t like living like a tight rope walker where one small mistake can be fatal.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD
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          I think the laissez-faire answer, which I don’t believe, is that every government program is destined to become out dated and only the mystical magical every flexible market can change rapidly enough to meet changing times.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to James K
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        I think there would still be supplemental insurance even if Sanders somehow got his wildest dreams. That being said, I am not surprised that a lot of his supporters have something more like NHS in mind. The American right has shown itself unrelenting in its wish to destroy Social Security and Medicare completely.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
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      Sanders isn’t proposing new additional spending so much as he’s proposing redistributing federal spending and actually taxing the economy to pay for it.We currently spend as much on defense as the next 6 or 7 countries combined – which includes China and Russia. Much of what he wants to do could be funded by dropping that to the next three or four countries combined and reallocating funds.

      As to taxing capitol – we have 40 years of data that says reducing corporate taxes and keeping capitol gains taxes low doesn’t trickle down. So why not tax it like we did in the 1950’s when, you know, America allegedly had its golden age?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Philip H
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        We currently spend as much on defense as the next 6 or 7 countries combined – which includes China and Russia.

        As an aside, one of the more blatant inconsistencies in Trump’s policy agenda is that he wants to pull American troops from foreign bases thereby reducing the scope of US power-projection while *simultaneously* wanting massive increases in military spending. I’ve never been able to square those two things (except cynically, of course) and haven’t seen anyone hammer him – from the left or the right – on his rationale for doing so.

        Seems like a really simple issue to address: “Mr President, if your goal is to withdraw US troops and bases from foreign countries why does Congress need to *increase* military spending? I’ll wait.”Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
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        Your first paragraph is not even close to being correct. You’re literally off by a factor of 10 or so. Totally eliminating the military would free up enough money to fund about 20% of the new spending Sanders is proposing.

        Regarding your second paragraph, I don’t want to be a dick about this, but I doubt you’ve personally looked at the data (as seen above, you’re not even vaguely familiar with government spending patterns), and even if you have, I’m even more skeptical that you have the background necessary to interpret it correctly. For one, we don’t have 40 years of evidence on low corporate tax rates. Until three years ago, the US had one of the highest corporate tax rates in the OECD. Aside from that, you don’t know the growth path the economy would have taken in a counterfactual world where taxes had been where Sanders wants them to be, so you can’t tell whether the growth path we’ve actually seen is higher or lower than that.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
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          Could Coronavirus help reduce Entitlement Spending?Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
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          wow. Make unfounded assumptions much? Let’s see where to start . . . .

          His spend plans are over a decade, not all at once. If you actually read about how he intends to have it paid for, you could halve (not eliminate) the DoD budget (which is the biggest chunk of discretionary federal spending) and get to a lot of it. The rest is more then made up for with his tax plans – which are also projected out over a decade. So yeah you could actually reduce defense spending and do what he wants to do.

          Second – I don’t recall questioning your bona fides at any point so its insulting that you’d come after mine. As it happens I’ve read more then a few studies of the economic data, talked to economists I know personally about it, and even downloaded raw data from the various federal agencies that record it and run some basic best fit analyses (that minor in statistics from grad school has its uses). So yeah, you were a dick, and I’ll thank you in advance for your public apology.

          That aside – the data we have since Reagan shows that every corporate and personal tax cut over the last 40 years has both underperformed in terms of real growth versus projected, and over delivered in terms of deficit and national debt increase. EVERY SINGLE ONE. That’s hard data , and while it may not fit your perferred political narrative its all out there.

          As to your counterfactuals crap – I could care less about what may have happened. I care greatly about what is happening. and I care as much about how me make it better for the people we live with in this society and nation. Counterfactual arguments are all well and good at the bar at the end of day in an academic conference, but hey don’t mean crap to the guy who is working two jobs and still behind on his payments to the hospital that treated his daughter’s cancer. Those are the people whose lives aren’t made better by the cut taxes and hope the magical growth unicorn does it this time fairy.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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            It always amazes me how when a social welfare program is proposed, the chorus arises “HOW WILL WE PAY FOR UMPTEEN TRILLION DOLLARS?” but when a war of choice is proposed which will cost 4 trillion dollars and counting, we don’t hear a peep.

            I’ve proposed before a Mouse That Roared strategy where the ungovernable tribal regions of America blow up some government facility somewhere, then we can have a War On Terror right here, where the government carpet bombs Compton and East LA with pallet loads of shrink wrapped hundred collar bills in an effort to pacify the warlords, and where we open federally funded hospitals and schools and medical clinics in the rural areas of Alabama and Mississippi, in an effort to win their hearts and minds

            Sure it would cost trillions, but you can’t really put a price on security amirite?.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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              i said 20 years ago that my home state of Louisiana could get its road paved, its hospitals revamped and its universities and schools made first class by seceding from the union, nationalizing the refineries and signing trade agreements in short order with Russia and China. the Marines and Army would take care of the infrastructure and USAID would fund the rest.

              But we won’t do that voluntarily because it helps people of color and woman and there’s little profit to be made of it.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
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                Check closely, because I’m pretty sure step 2 of that Venezuelan-style plan of nationalizing the oil industry, signing trade deals with Russia and China, and thumbing your nose at the US – definitely depends on underpants gnomes living in the Bayou. ^_^Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
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                Considering that Mardi Gras was yesterday, the gnomes are sleeping off their hangovers.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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                Barney Frank mentioned one time how almost all military bases and procurement systems are justified by self-described fiscal conservatives not on security needs, but on their stimulus effect on local economies.

                They would tout the miraculous benefits of pumping massive amounts of government money into local economies which would have knock on effects on local housing, retail stores and ancillary businesses.

                This echoes what I heard some leftis saying years ago, how in the Cold War era you could get almost anything you wanted, so long as you could plausibly tie it to “National Security”.

                So like, highways and bridges had a national security benefit of moving troops, school lunches made healthier recruits, public schools produced better military engineers and so on.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        “So why not tax it like we did in the 1950’s when, you know, America allegedly had its golden age?”

        It’s always funny to me when people cite the 1950s as America’s golden age in the course of trying to make a progressive political point.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to j r
          Ignored
          says:

          I was being mostly facetious. From a taxation perspective we regrew our economy pst war with very high personal income tax rates that didn’t impact economic growth one iota. Which means the republican mantra that we need to have ultra low top end taxes to grow the economy is horse pucky.

          Socially the 1950’s were a rabbits warren of misogyny and bigotry such that white males claimed an outsized place in society and politics. I have no interest in recreating that part of the age, merely in pointing out that the economic arguments against fair taxation for government services are belied by an earlier economic era.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            ” From a taxation perspective we regrew our economy post war…”

            hah. so all we have to do is bomb most of the developed world flat and then run our industry at top speed rebuilding it?Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              Y’know, I keep seeing this, the line that the explanation for the post-war prosperity was because our trading partners were destroyed.

              Which is weird, isn’t it?

              Instead of saying that the post war prosperity was the result of capitalism and free markets lifting everyone out of poverty in a win-win dynamic system;

              Instead of saying that prosperity was due to a mixed system of regulated markets and a robust social welfare system and trade unions;

              No, this thinking goes, prosperity is derived from a win-lose system where we can only get ahead if our trading partners are made weak and unable to produce.

              This idea seems to ask a lot more troubling questions than it answers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Not really. You just have to make distinctions between Absolute Goods and Positional Goods.

                Positionally, America was in the best position for a good long while.

                On an Absolute level, however, we are exceptionally better off than we were back then. Positionally, we are not.

                And we compare ourselves positionally rather than absolutely.

                When you see that we’re not as well off as we were at any other point in time, just double check to make sure that you’re not comparing positionally. If you are, maybe compare absolutely.

                Free markets did an *AMAZING* job of lifting everyone out of poverty. Absolutely.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So is it also true to say that regulated markets with a robust safety net and trade unions also did an *AMAZING* job of lifting everyone out of poverty?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                In some places it did, in other places, people were lifted out of poverty without these things.

                India and China, for example, have had an *AMAZING* turnaround in the last five decades.

                I’m not sure that the safety net or the trade union had anything to do with that.

                I’ll repeat myself:

                “When you see that we’re not as well off as we were at any other point in time, just double check to make sure that you’re not comparing positionally. If you are, maybe compare absolutely.”

                So when you ask “So is it also true to say that regulated markets with a robust safety net and trade unions also did an *AMAZING* job of lifting everyone out of poverty?”, I’d ask if you’re talking about positionally or absolutely.

                (And if you’re saying something like “I’m limiting my observation to this group or these two groups”, I’m going to guess that you’re talking positionally.)Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                lol

                the reason why we were able to derive so much economic growth from rebuilding the world was that the government did step back and allow industry to best determine the methods of achieving the government’s desired goals.

                that there is an opportunity does not mean that the method by which one takes advantage of that opportunity is immaterial.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Certainly true that in the postwar economy the government lifted some of the command and control mechanisms it had during the war.
                But also true, that part of the economic boom was the generous helping of government benefits for the massive population of GIs like free college and subsidized mortgages and veterans health care?

                For example, a lot of GIs went to government funded college, then became private sector entrepreneurs and flourished.

                See, this is the thing- You can’t disentangle the market effects from the government effects.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “You can’t disentangle the market effects from the government effects.”

                haw haw

                that doesn’t mean the answer is “therefore, it’s all government”

                and considering that the OP here is about how libertarians can absolutely make common cause with socialist-flavored actions if they’re the right ones for the circumstance…Report

  10. Avatar Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    The thing that’s finally come into focus for me is that way too many libertarians and conservatives will accept the type of socialism Trump and the Republicans offer. It isn’t a deal breaker for them. It’s only a deal breaker when someone wants to do some of those socialist-y things in ways that benefit marginalized people. In a choice between Sanders-style socialism and Trump-style socialism, they don’t sit it out or vote third party—they go with Trump. And I think that’s an ideological dissonance libertarians and conservatives should examine.

    I always admire libertarians who can acknowledge the world doesn’t work the way they want it to. So thanks for that.

    But your lede here – which you did a fantastic job of burying – is problematic, in that a main reason that we have government regulation (particularly of the environmental kind) is that we have along history in the US of market based approaches to things not actually accounting for true costs, and thus creating market failures. I won’t go down the boring tragedy of the commons rabbit hole, but its a real thing, and no libertarian I have every talked to (albeit a small number) has ever had any real reasonable response to that. Perhaps it would merit a follow-up post on your part.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m pretty annoyed that the CDC is interfering with the market-based solutions to Caronavirus.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      Libertarian here. In principle, I have no objection to governments stepping in to correct legitimate externalities. When you think about it, that’s what law enforcement is for. If someone steals my stuff, that imposes a negative externality on me. If someone keeps dumping trash on my lawn, I think it’s reasonable to ask the government to intervene there; polluting the commons is like dumping trash on everyone’s lawn. I mean, if lawns were air, and trash were also air, but an inferior kind.

      I think that the fundamental truth that the non-aggression principle is trying to get at is that negative externalities are bad, and that it’s legitimate for government to intervene to prevent those. Uncompensated positive externalities are also bad, hence we get libertarian support for things like IP law. Sometimes I think I should call myself an anti-externalitarian, but nobody knows what that is, so I just stick with libertarian, which is the closest of the major political philosophies. A lot of libertarians get stuck at the non-aggression principle, but most of the thoughtful ones have moved to a position closer to anti-externalitarianism, even if only implicitly.

      That said, we live in a fallen world where everything is broken, especially politics, and thus we can’t have nice things. The ideal interventions are not the interventions we get in the real world. Instead of a carbon tax, we have income taxes. Some jackass politician is even pushing for a wealth tax now. So I don’t want to use the government to try to fix every little market imperfection, just the big ones where any even approximately correct intervention will be an improvement.

      Also, there are a lot of leftists who think that “market failure” is an incantation you can recite to magically justify any government intervention you want. It doesn’t work that way.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        No it doesn’t work that way. But the economic history of my life time (last 5 decades should you care) is littered with examples where markets were pronounced self regulating and then collapsed, with the government holding the collective bag at a cost far greater then the regulations themselves imposed. Humans are irrational actors – no matter what economists tell you, and completely free markets will thus behave irrationally on the best of days.Report

  11. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    If humans are irrational actors, what makes you think humans in government wouldn’t act with equal irrationality, and on a larger scale? Indeed, the worst disasters in the 20th century all came from government ideas about how to “rationally” re-order societies or economies. Part of the purpose of government’s law-enforcement function is to stop people who action rationally in their own self-interest – to the detriment of others. People rob banks because that’s where the money is. Cops pursue bank robbers because the rest of us suffer if such cheating occurs.Report

  12. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    I was over at 538 today and noticed that their model for Bernie’s probability of winning in the Super Tuesday states — for primary values of “winning”, of course — has California at 89%, Utah 87%, and Colorado 83%. Those are on the order of double his probabilities for states in non-western parts of the country. Excluding Vermont, for the obvious reason. Back in 2016, Bernie did quite well against Clinton in the western states, winning several and making a respectable showing in the rest (his worst was 41.1% in Arizona).

    Don’t know if it’s his socialism, or just vote-by-mail.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      Well in 2016 a vote for Bernie was a vote for “not Clinton” in equal to or greater proportion to it being a vote for Bernie himself; in 2020 a vote for Bernie is a vote FOR BERNIE and pretty much nothing else. So when you consider that it isn’t surprising at all how his numbers have changed.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Depending on how the field winnows out, Bernie might become “not Bloomberg” later in the race.

        His vote totals and percentages have dropped from 2016 because there are so many more candidates now.

        2016 Democratic primaries.

        In 2016 Bernie won 49.6% in Iowa, 60.4% in New Hampshire, and 47.3% in Nevada.
        This cycle he’s won 26.5% in Iowa, 25.6% in New Hampshire, and 40.5% in Nevada.

        So the “not Hillary” effect is large. However, some of that drop is also certainly also due to several other candidates running on Bernie’s socialist platform, often with even less candor about how much all the free stuff is going to cost.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        The thing about Bernie just has me wondering what in the heck could happen. I could see arguing that if Bernie gets 240 EVs, I’ll eat a bug.

        I could see saying that about Trump instead.

        I have no idea what to think!Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I think* he’s most likely to lose the electoral vote and the popular vote though neither in a landslide. I suppose he could eke out a win, but he’d have to display a lot more political chops than I’ve seen him muster so far and the economy would probably have to tank.

          *But I was quite wrong about 2016.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            There are a lot of assumptions that you can make in favor of Trump:

            He’s the establishment guy who is sufficiently reined in by the Deep State and the Senate. He’s the conservative (old definition) choice. He’ll have the establishment media on his side. He won’t run out of money due to the sheer number of people on his side in the face of Socialism. The suburbs will go to him for fiscal, not just culture war, reasons.

            There are a lot of assumptions that you can make in favor of Bernie: He’ll inspire people to show up who never had reason to show up before. His arguments against inequality will resonate with everyone except the upper class who find support for Trump to be unfashionable. Bernie wins the working classes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin on nothing more than health care (see Nevada!).

            It, seriously, could go either way.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Possibly so, but a lot of Bernie’s arguments should have had visible effect in the primaries so far and they haven’t. He’s not winning the electorate, just winning his slice while the moderates (and the vanity billionaires damn them to hell) divide up the rest. The hordes of new young voters Bernie is claiming he’ll turn out haven’t turned out in the arenas most congenial to their involvement. And, of course, very few have lost an election betting on the voting turnout of the elderly and fearful vs the young and idealistic. That speaks in favor of Trump.

              I’m not saying Bernie can’t win (Hell, if he gets the nod I’ll vote for him myself) nor that Bernie would be a horrible President (he’d probably be a harmless one, maybe even mildly beneficial) but anyone saying Bernie is the candidate with the best odds of winning? Well they gotta show their work.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                “[A] lot of Bernie’s arguments should have had visible effect in the primaries so far and they haven’t.”

                Before the primaries started people were confidently predicting that Sanders was done, that he couldn’t handle competition that wasn’t Hillary Clinton, that anyone who voted for him in 2016 was a misogynist, that as soon as the primary votes happened he’d disappear, just look at the polls!

                And that, uh, hasn’t happened. In fact he’s in the lead. “oh but not OVERWHELMINGLY so” is true, but as a criticism it’s manure in light of how bad they expected he’d be doing.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                In the lead with his plurality, sure. The only reason he’s in the lead is because he’s been gifted with near a half dozen moderates (and vanity idiot billionaires) dividing up the majority that doesn’t support him. But Bernie promised he’d bring droves of new young politically engaged voters to the contest and, so far, they haven’t shown up.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            …and the economy would probably have to tank.

            Ssh. Apple and Microsoft both issued earnings warnings this week, due to the coronavirus. There are an increasing number of stories quoting small manufacturers saying “I can’t get my parts from China because the factory is closed due to the coronavirus and the other sources are five times as expensive.” Firms in Europe that sell things like machine tools to China are starting to get twitchy.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain
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              says:

              A pandemic could change the outcome of almost any campaign, since it upends everyone’s lives and causes a massive amount of fear and anxiety, but in this case I think it would more than likely help Trump, because he’s the a**hole we want standing on that wall. Trump would have to utterly botch the virus response to lose ground, since Democrats like Warren were quick to viciously attacking him for stopping direct flights from China. That now looks extremely wise.

              If the crisis abroad worsens (which it will), the worst case for Democrats is if it makes it into Latin America while the handful of US cases remain under successful quarantine. Then voters will note the illegal immigration problem, with Central Americans able to pour across the border, and think “OMG. We’re all going to die!”

              If we then have a major outbreak due to such uncontrolled border crossing, I doubt we’ll see any current Democrat elected President in our lifetimes because they’ve spent years demanding open borders, virtually unrestricted travel, lax enforcement, catch-and-release, and all the rest. If several million Americans across all demographics and regions die as a result, the finger of blame will point very sharply.

              However, if the virus arrives in some unforeseen and politically neutral way, such as some random tourist returning from Germany via Canada who happened to have crossed paths with an infected Austrian who caught it in Italy, then I don’t think it would much affect either party unless the response is totally botched by one side or another.

              There’s a fairly high risk that a politically correct bureaucrat at the city or state level, especially on the coasts, could be the one who screws up by letting some infected disadvantaged minority or homeless person run loose, but that could also happen in the most conservative of middle American towns where local officials can be equally clueless.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                ” Trump would have to utterly botch the virus response ”

                This is how you get Sanders.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Your lack of faith in Minister* of Health Pence is troubling.

                *And by Minister, we mean just that, a guy who waves his hands and prays loudly.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                He has appointed Mike Pence to handle the potential coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has already announced that the coronavirus vaccine might not be affordable for all Americans.

                https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-administration-says-coronavirus-vaccine-may-not-be-affordable-2020-2

                They are either going for the Masque of the Red Death approach or have more or less announced that they can and will screw up any way possible.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                And that’s why Democrats should definitely not be in charge. They don’t understand supply, demand, and price, just like their hero Hugo Chavez who made stores sell food below cost, resulting in starvation.

                We’re going to need virtually ever drug company capable of making the vaccine making the vaccine, and they won’t if they think they’ll go bankrupt doing it because the government mandates that they just give it away. Development and production will slow to a crawl so they lose less money per day.

                And all American’s don’t need the vaccine. Right now perhaps only a few hundred do. The first stocks of the vaccine will probably be shipped to China, South Korea, Italy, and other countries to focus on limited the spread by vaccinating anyone who came in contact with an infected person, plus vaccinations for all the involved health care workers and direct responders.

                If Democrats instead insist that all the vaccines have to be sold below cost to random urbanites in Chicago or Kansas City who can’t have even been exposed, then we would indeed have a pandemic that wipes out millions. That’s what happens when one party gets elected on “fairness” and victimology instead of intelligence or effectiveness.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                George, there are times when laissez-faire economics does not apply. Pandemics is one of those times. A coronavirus vaccine should be provided free of charge if the disease is as deadly as experts fear. The law of aupply and demand doesn’t really apply to vaccines because people need the vaccine while they don’t need say a Tesla. Its something that everybody should get. No exception.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s sounds great, but just who is supposed to supply it, McDonald’s? How often do you see companies lining up to go bankrupt?

                Supply and demand works great in a crisis because the market sends rapid signals. Democrats (and plenty of Republicans) decry this as price gouging, but vast resources don’t generally move if the people who could move them are going to lose their shirts. Everybody finds an excuse to focus on something else, and the people who do show up are often just volunteers who don’t bring anything.

                What the government can do is take the $8.4 billion Schumer offered (in the biggest own-goal since John Kerry’s Syrian red-line offer to Putin) and throw that money at all the drug companies to rush production.

                People don’t have to worry about cost because it’s either going to be covered by the government, by their insurance plans, or it’s going to be provided free because we’re not going to let Typhoid Mary walk around unvaccinated.

                But for some reason Democrats are so fixated on “fairness” that they haven’t bothered to see how previous vaccination campaigns worked. I’m sure next week they’ll be claiming that minorities won’t be able to get the vaccine. It’s how they roll.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not sure. Sanders says we should reduce our population to help fight climate change. Plus, he’d probably argue that we don’t need more than one kind of vaccine.

                Trump’s press-conference slam of Pelosi and Schumer was excellent, hitting them as incompetent and disrespectful of the world’s top medical personnel, playing partisan politics when lives are at stake.

                Then he used ju-jitsu on Schumer’s whining that $2.4 billion isn’t enough and the number should be $8.4 billion. “I’ll take it!”

                Of course Schumer likely had no idea how much CDC would need or how they would spend it, he just waited for Trump to name a figure so he could triple or quadruple it and use it as an attack. Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, and Tip O’Neill didn’t screw up like that.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Blah, blah, blah… can’t pre-spin out of this.

                ” Trump would have to utterly botch the virus response ”

                Response will either be good or not. I hope its good, I hope the virus peters out, I hope the disruption is minimal… but if its not, no one is gonna blame Schumer or Pelosi.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                George will find a way to blame Schumer and Pelosi.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh, well sure… I shouldn’t say “no one” but those numbers are already baked into the cake.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                They’ve already had a case of unknown origin in Northern California. It’ll be pretty had to blame that one on Republicans. One the bright side, if it strikes up the coast, tech workers will have to stay home and everybody can probably break out of Twitter and Facebook jail. ^_^Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Trump isn’t responsible for the virus…just the response.

                Keep your eye on the ball.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Michael Cain
              Ignored
              says:

              I’d rather the Dems whup Trump and the GOP on their own terms and not just on the back of a viral econnomic slump. But I’ll happily accept Trump and the GOP being whupped either way. Just don’t think it’s a good idea to depend on an economic slowdown.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            Which Hilary voters in 2016 are going to go Trump in 2020 because Bernie is the nominee? State all facts.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
              Ignored
              says:

              Facts will only be in the past tense but predictions? You can have some prediction guesses.
              Who could Bernie lose?
              Suburban moderates who don’t fancy having their insurance banned or their taxes tripled. Or they could simply stay home and not vote the way lefties scream that they’ll do if they don’t get Bernie.
              But, hey, maybe Bernie will run up his totals on the coast enough to win the popular vote again. That’d be swell.Report

  13. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Well in 2016 a vote for Bernie was a vote for “not Clinton” in equal to or greater proportion to it being a vote for Bernie himself; in 2020 a vote for Bernie is a vote FOR BERNIE and pretty much nothing else. So when you consider that it isn’t surprising at all how his numbers have changed.Report

  14. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    One of the more amusing and annoying things about reading libertarian responses to Sanders or any other Democratic candidate really is how they are trying to pose as the true champions of the people because none of the Democratic candidates have any respect for your personal plans and want to map out your life for you or something. I have no idea how anybody can extrapolate that from calls for universal healthcare or universal pre-K education. To me the later seems more champion of the people like because you aren’t going to have to plan for everything or worry about one thing screwing everything up.

    The paleo-libertarians like Rothbard had the virtue of at least knowing their policy preferences were very unpopular and a certain amount of trickery or force was necessary to impose them.Report

    • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      You pretty much explain it yourself here. You [my citizen friend] will, by government fiat, partake in this ‘very good and nice and helpful’ program operated by the government is, well, literally the opposite of a libertarian view.

      I mean, what don’t you understand? If you are not talking about Libertarians and really talking about ‘people who vote who arn’t libertarians, but have some of those tendancies’, well sure go ahead and split those logs man.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Ozzzy!
        Ignored
        says:

        Libertarians like to believe that the state/government is always separate from the people/demos no matter how democratic the state/government is while believing the laissez-faire market is always of the people regardless of how many people don’t want laissez-faire. The type of programs that get implemented in a functioning democracy get implemented because the people tend to want them.

        I suppose that the champions of the people rhetoric is also off putting because of wanting to have your case and eat it to. They like to present themselves as champions of the people despite also like making fun of the masses for not being libertarians.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
          Ignored
          says:

          I think Libertarians are more into the “if you give the government more power, someone like Trump will end up in charge of it” kinda “told you so” position.

          And then they boggle in unbelief as they watch people not agree that the government shouldn’t have that power. But argue something to the effect of how they just need to make people like Trump not be president.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Old school libertarians and many current news willingly formed alliances with people like Trump or believed he was less worse than a liberal or leftist because market freedom and taxes.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
              Ignored
              says:

              That assertion doesn’t really square with the Libertarian vote that happened in 2016, though. .99% became 3%.

              I mean, if .99% became something like .49%, it might make sense to say “libertarianish people jumped to Trump!”

              But it seems that the Libertarians not only voted for the Libertarian, a whole bunch of people abandoned their old political party and voted Libertarian as a protest vote instead of jumping to Trump.

              I suppose we could make the argument that all of that new 2.01% that showed up for the libertarians were never-before voters… but we know that ain’t the case, don’t we?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I meant more in a philosophical sense, how the early self-identified libertarians supported the right dictators during the Cold War or with the Right on issues like the CRM because communism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, but, here… they didn’t do that. Indeed, former Democratic/Republican voters appear to have abandoned their party in order to support the Libertarians.

                Indeed, if I went through Vox’s archives and you went through Reason’s… who do you think would come up with more “Trump isn’t that bad!” articles?

                (And that’s without getting into whether anti-anti-communists were, in a philosophical sense, communist supporters.)Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            “I don’t believe in Magic Sky Daddies,” say the people who are terrified at the idea that there might not be someone in charge of them telling them what to do.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      I have no idea how anybody can extrapolate that from calls for universal healthcare or universal pre-K education. To me the later seems more champion of the people like because you aren’t going to have to plan for everything or worry about one thing screwing everything up.

      The extrapolation is pretty easy, at least in regards to Bernie and the DSA crowd. Rightly or wrongly, people seem fond of their private health insurance and don’t want it abolished. What most people want is some kind of universal coverage floor, paired with price controls and the ability to supplement coverage on the private market. Yet for Berners, the public option constitutes some form of neoliberal sellout.

      Likewise on childcare, there are more Americans working who would rather be home with their kids than there are Americans home with their kids who would rather be working. Yet progressives, and on this issue its more than just the leftists, continually try to sell universal childcare as some sort of moral imperative. In reality, a solution that respected what people wanted would look much different that what’s on offer, probably something like a universal child credit and/or targeted childcare subsidies. Universal childcare as it is currently pitched by progressives is something that seems most suited for upwardly mobile, two-career urban households.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        I’d take all of that in a heartbeat. I think a lot of people would. But let’s be real about whose actual fault it is we can’t have a normal policy conversation on these issues. It ain’t the Democrats. If there was a normal center right party interesting in addressing workaday problems Bernie would still be an amusing anomaly for the Sunday morning shows and Donald Trump wouldn’t be president.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to InMD
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          says:

          I have no problem blaming the GOP for abdicating its role in sane policy formulation. That is another conversation, or at least another part of this conversation.

          I just want people to stop be honest about plans to drastically re-order whole sectors of the economy in ways that may not be very popular or are only popular if you give half the story.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        “…people seem fond of their private health insurance and don’t want it abolished.”

        I think what people are fond of is the idea that they can Just Go To The Doctor, who will Do A Medicine and it will Fix The Problem.

        Their fear is that under a national healthcare system / single-payer / Medicare For All setup, they won’t be able to Just Go To The Doctor. And the only person who ever said that wouldn’t happen was Barack Obama, and it turned out he was wrong.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        I think your second paragraph gets at something very significant.

        The challenge the far left has is that broadly shared interest in populist/communitarian goals that could cross parties run into a blindspot where the left thinks they’re helping people to “live their best lives” but really its (perhaps unconsciously, perhaps) coming across at helping people to live “my best life.” Counter-intuitively the best communitarian approaches have to be less centralized rather than more. I know a lot of folks in my faction are somewhat receptive to the goals, but turned off by the policy.

        That’s the Sanders trap he needs to avoid… how to be communitarian without being, well, “communist”.

        [In this context, by communist I mean centrally prescriptive (in addition to Govt. centric)]Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          This assumes the far left to be acting in a primarily outcomes oriented manner as opposed to an ideological manner. I don’t think that’s true and ever will be true. Their support is just being inflated because they actually have proposals to address real live problems. They may not be the best, the most popular, or even well grounded in the numbers. But they are proposing something other than a mix of identitarian idiocy and half hearted split the difference defense of legacy programs from bygone eras or substance-free neo-Randian critiques that have never once solved a problem for a real human being.

          It reminds me of a conversation I had with a relatively conservative friend of mine in Spring 2016. He said that while he disagreed, often vehemently with Sanders on a policy level, Sanders was the only candidate in either primary whose perspective on the world was actually based in reality.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
            Ignored
            says:

            I think I’m agreeing with you that the Left is too oriented to ideological responses/policies rather than addressing the broad consensus of goals. My “warning” charitably assumes they might not recognize the blindspot and might be willing to triangulate. I mean, that’s the point of sharing similar goals if not similar policies.Report

          • Avatar J r in reply to InMD
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            says:

            I don’t buy that. Bernie and the leftists are as bad, if not worse, on housing as the GOP is on healthcare. It’s the same disconnect: ideological opposition to pragmatic solutions and the failure to deliver anything. National rent control and build more housing projects have to be two of the worst ideas in all of public policy right now.

            Also, I question the median voters assessment of reality.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J r
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s the same disconnect: ideological opposition to pragmatic solutions and the failure to deliver anything.

              I’m curious! What policies has the GOP offered on healthcare and housing? My mental inventory contains absolutely *no* positive proposals on either policy front other than Repeal the ACA.

              What policies have the Democrats offered on healthcare and housing? Well, currently on the table for healthcare are (atleast) 1) expanding Medicare, 2) expanding Medicaid, 3) a public option, 4) Medicare for All. On housing, some Dems are proposing rent controls, but at a level where (IMO) it isn’t taken seriously by anyone in the party but I’ll concede it’s a bad idea.

              Add: I just remembered Lindsay Graham proposing a Medicaid blockgrant program which would, as I recall, not increase federal Medicaid funding but redistribute existing funding across all fifty states (even the ones that chose to not expand Medicaid under the ACA). So I guess there’s that…Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J r
              Ignored
              says:

              Social Darwinism.Report

  15. Avatar Stillwater
    Ignored
    says:

    OT. From Josh Rogin:

    Hey guys, a NATO country is at war with Russia, sorry to interrupt: Turkey strikes Russian, Assad regime bastion Latakia, other targets in Syria with missiles

    Good thing we pulled out 200 troops to make America great again! I mean, just imagine if they were still there?!!?

    I read a report the other day about Syrian children from Allepo freezing to death as the confilct reaches new levels of horror. Trump, natch, gave Erdogan the greenlight to invade. So proud to be an American!Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      Honest question;
      In a fight between NATO and Russia, whose side is Trump on?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Exactly what I was thinking Chip. Turkey attacking Russian bases (etc) is a pretext for increased Russian aggression. This could escalate quickly.

        Add: tho not being on any side could be construed as a pro-Russian given the power imbalance… {{Which is classic Trumpism in action, yo.}}Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      Retired four star Army General Barry McCaffrey:

      Turkey raises death toll to 33 troops in Syrian airstrike — VERY SERIOUS TURKISH ARMY CASUALTIES. This may be a turning point. Assad and Russians will make a serious misjudgment to take on the powerful Turkish Army.

      Hmmm. What the hell are they fighting over?Report

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