As 78 year old, Bernie Sanders surges into the lead for the Democratic nomination. It’s appropriate to stop and analyze, what a potential Sanders presidency would look like. Sanders has characterized his platform, as democratic socialism.
Not much is known about “democratic socialism,” but the word socialism is a controversial topic among most Americans. Based on Bernie’s past statements and current rhetoric, he believes that democratic socialism, will uplift the middle class by providing free universal healthcare and free public college education.
As taxpaying Americans, we know that none of our entitlements are free. Social security and Medicare payroll taxes are taken out of everyone’s paycheck to fund older American’s retirement benefits.
During Sanders 2016 campaign, he heavily promoted the idea of raising payroll and individual taxes to pay for his proposed new entitlements. I recall Sanders saying, “everyone will have to pay a bit more, but in return they will get much more.”
This was an alarming statement for me, because I’m leery of allowing the government to take more of my taxes, in exchange for a government run healthcare and education system. I’ve voted Democrat, all my life, but I don’t consider myself to be a liberal — and I’ve witnessed how inefficient and wasteful government programs can be.
I applaud Sanders for initially being truthful about his plans to raise everyone’s taxes, however, in his latest campaign, he reluctantly admits that he wants to raise taxes for everyone, not just the wealthy.
This aspect of his platform is not discussed very much among his supporters. Are they ok with the government raising their taxes? Are they confident that Sanders has the political clout to deliver?
I’m a proponent of lower healthcare costs and expanded coverage, but Bernie wants to introduce Medicare-For-All — which would ideally cover every American’s healthcare needs. Many socialists countries like Sweden, France, etc., have always provided universal healthcare to their citizens, but their taxes are typically 25% higher than US rates. It’s not unusual for Europeans to pay nearly half their income in taxes.
Europeans have obviously accepted the cost of higher taxes to pay for healthcare and education, and they’re accustom to giving the government more of their hard earned money. However, Americans are skeptical of higher taxes and government promises.
Obamacare is the most recent attempt at universal healthcare that we’ve experienced, and it’s still being litigated in the courts by conservative governors, who simply oppose former President Obama’s entire agenda.
Obama was only able to get his healthcare plan passed because the Democrats controlled both houses, but it came at a steep price for newly elected Democrats from conservative leaning districts.
The biggest difference between Obamacare and Bernie’s Medicare-For-All is that Obamacare requires citizens to pay for their own healthcare, through exchanges which are supposed to provide more competition and better pricing — instead of raising taxes to fund an expansion of Medicare, which is what Bernie wants to implement.
Bernie has also struggled to explain the overall cost of his plan. In an interview last night on 60 Minutes, he struggled to articulate the math on his plan. In his prior attempt at Medicare-For-All in Vermont, he failed dramatically, because he underestimated the true costs of the plan. Vermont residents quickly realized that higher taxes did not mean better healthcare coverage.
Why are Bernie’s supporters so confident that he can deliver his healthcare plan on a national level?
If Sanders is elected and the Senate remains under GOP leadership, his presidency will be dead on arrival. None of his idealistic legislation will ever be brought for a vote in the Senate.
Even if Democrats take back control of the Senate, there’s no guarantee that they would be willing to sacrifice their electability for a self-proclaimed socialist, who doesn’t identify as a Democrat.
Regardless of Bernie’s flaws, I would vote for him over our current and corrupt POTUS. But if Bernie does win, and he fails to implement his idealistic policies, what type of leader would he become?