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Full Disclosure, Bernie Sanders is not a radical leftist

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I read this article the other day and I thought it was well written and gets right to the point so I thought I'd share it.

It's entitled, Bernie Sanders Isn't a Radical - He's a Pragmatist who fights to Un-rig the System

 

Mark Weisbrot
MarketWatch, February 11, 2020

See article on original site

As Bernie Sanders continues to increase his standing in the Democratic primary, and his opponents in both parties feel the pain, there is an effort to paint him as an extremist of some sort: someone who might even lose to Trump because of this alleged “radicalism.” But it’s not that easy to make the case on the basis of facts. He has a 40-year track record as a politician. And the things he is saying now are mostly what he has shouted from the mountaintops for pretty much the whole time. The main difference is that now, other Democratic politicians have joined him: on a $15 minimum wage, student debt relief, free tuition at public universities, expanding Social Security, reducing income inequality, and some even on Medicare for All.

His actions speak even more consistently than his words: he seems to understand that politics is about compromise. He tends to fight hard for what he has promised to voters, but then takes the best deal he can win if it will advance the ball down the field; and prepares to fight again the next day. That’s why he supported Obamacare when it was the best deal on the table — expanding insurance coverage to 20 million Americans, without the life-threatening exclusions for “preexisting conditions.” This despite the fact that Obamacare was still quite a distance from Medicare for All — “health care as a human right” — that had been his passion and signature issue for decades.

But he is a “socialist,” his opponents cry, leaving out the first part of the term “democratic socialist” that Sanders always uses when this issue is discussed. There is much room to induce confusion here because the term “socialist,” in English, has a number of different definitions that have all become common usage over the years. It can be used to mean anything from “Communist,” as in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), to the European social democratic or socialist parties that have governed for much of the past 70 years in countries such as France, Germany, Spain, and the UK, not to mention the Scandinavian countries.

It should be clear to anyone who is not trying to frighten voters that Sanders is a social democrat of the latter, European variety. There will be no US government takeover of the means of production under a Sanders administration. The biggest expansion in “government” will be in public funding of health insurance. Like traditional Medicare, where less than 2 percent of expenses are administrative costs, public health insurance will be much more efficient than the current six times as much spent by the private insurance industry. And we won’t have 8 million people falling into poverty every year due to medical expenses, or worse: tens of thousands actually dying because of lack of access to affordable health care.

Sanders’ program is mostly targeted at correcting a very harmful transformation of the US economy that has taken place over the past 40 years. Unlike the first three decades after WWII, when income gains were broadly shared as the economy grew, most of the increase in income has gone to those who already had much more than their share. Since 1993, for example, the top 1 percent of families captured an astounding 48 percent of the growth in this country’s income. No wonder so many Americans feel like the system is rigged against them.

That right-wing transformation was mostly launched by the Reagan team, but it came to be accepted, and in various ways even deepened, by some liberal political leaders as well. Perhaps this normalization of the radical changes of the past few decades is why some commentators perceive Bernie’s program — designed to reverse this damage — as “radical.”

Here it is important to note that the fight over this right-wing transformation has never been so much about “the market” versus “the state.” Almost every economy in the world is a mixture of both. But the Reagan “revolution” and the counter-reforms that followed (e.g., the WTO, NAFTA, financial deregulation, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, anti-labor legislation and practices) were not so much about changing the relative weight of market and government.

Rather what changed most is that both markets and government were harnessed vastly more to redistribute income and wealth upward. The result is an America that is unique among high-income countries in the percentage of people who are employed full-time and yet struggling to get by; not to mention more than 10 million children in poverty and more than half a million homeless people.

Sanders, in his reform program, seeks to use both markets and government to reverse this massive redistribution of income and wealth.

Of course, government has to take the lead with public investment where private investment would not be forthcoming — as in the transformation of some energy infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions. But other important parts of Sanders’ program move the economy away from government toward more market-based solutions: for example, reducing the role of government-granted-and-regulated patent monopolies in driving up the price of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and health care costs. Or breaking up other monopolies in favor of more market competition, in the technology and financial sectors.

Sanders also favors a less interventionist role for the Federal Reserve in the labor market, as the Fed has triggered almost all US recessions since the end of World War II (except for the last two) by raising interest rates when this was unnecessary. And he has led the way to reduce one of the most powerful and destructive abuses that our government has unleashed upon Americans and the world: the terrible, unnecessary, “forever wars” that most Americans now reject. Some of his best allies in this fight have been conservative Republicans who are skeptical of this aspect of “big government” — as has been true in the historic fight to stop US military participation in Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen.

In short, Sanders is much more pragmatic and less ideological than his opponents would like to admit. But we can expect to hear more — from various quarters — of this labelling him as a “radical,” if he continues to gain on his competitors in the Democratic primary.

Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of “Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong About the Global Economy” (2015, Oxford University Press).

CEPR1901_Headshot_Mark_400x400.jpg 

Mark Weisbrot | Co-Director

 

Mark Weisbrot is Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He is also the author of “Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong About the Global Economy” (2015, Oxford University Press).

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And another thing, Noam Chomsky is not a radical leftist either. Critical thinking is something any ordinary person can learn to do. Journalism has not gone down the tubes, rather, great journalism is more widely available today than it has ever been. Many of us, myself included, were given the short shift regarding the true history of this country, and world history in public school. 

Today, if you work at it, you can learn a lot about the truth, and it's well worth the effort. If you use your critical thinking skills and find just one very good trusted source, it will likely lead you down the path to many more. But you have to be honest yourself, you have to see what effects you locally, and you have to believe in the people around you as well. 

 

Chomsky is not a radical in my book. Frankly, I see him as just the opposite. And we have lots of stuff going on, stuff that has gone on for quite a while that is extremely radical. But now, that is a long long long discussion which is always ongoing, and the most important thing everyone should always consider is this,  the truth is, actions do speak louder than words.

Peace!

 

 

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He is not a all of his main policies that he is putting forth is supported by a majority of Americans.

 

People need to get there heads out of there ass and finally start to realize that Bernie is the candidate for the People and not just the "Radical Left". 

 

People are just so ignorant it is mind-boggling 

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The radicals on both sides work aggressively to marginalize the massive middle.  If the overwhelming majority of Americans who just want to work and live in peace dominated politics things would be much less interesting, and much better in every way.

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6 hours ago, splunch said:

The radicals on both sides work aggressively to marginalize the massive middle.  If the overwhelming majority of Americans who just want to work and live in peace dominated politics things would be much less interesting, and much better in every way.

We are a full-blown plutocracy. Government of, by and for the rich. So what does the "middle" even mean? A little bit of plutocracy? Where? On what issues?

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2 hours ago, Zaro said:

We are a full-blown plutocracy. Government of, by and for the rich. So what does the "middle" even mean? A little bit of plutocracy? Where? On what issues?

 

People need to Realize this point that you bring up Zaro, our democracy is crumbling before our eyes in the name of protecting the few on top while everyone else gets the short end of the stick. 

 

We have and will always continue to get the short end if we do not elect someone that is willing to fight for everyone and not just the people on top. Our Plutocratic society needs some real change. 

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10 hours ago, zkyllonen8 said:

 

People need to Realize this point that you bring up Zaro, our democracy is crumbling before our eyes in the name of protecting the few on top while everyone else gets the short end of the stick. 

 

We have and will always continue to get the short end if we do not elect someone that is willing to fight for everyone and not just the people on top. Our Plutocratic society needs some real change. 

I'm not so sure that's true.  I'm fairly convinced the mass of people has almost always gotten the short end of the stick, and democracy has always been massively compromised.  For 100 years, there were actual slaves in America.  And de facto slaves for nearly 100 years after that.  Black and white, the poor have borne the brunt of the hard work, the physical risks and damage over time, while a very few people have taken home most of the proceeds.

 

If anything, the awareness of this has grown, and we are actually pushing towards something better.  

 

Other than the brief moment where Americans had won WWII, had free access to the resources of most of the planet, and was driven by a population that had been largely mobilized to win that war, and riding on the efforts and ideals of The New Deal, plutocracy has been the status quo for pretty much all of history.

 

 

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4 hours ago, splunch said:

I'm not so sure that's true.  I'm fairly convinced the mass of people has almost always gotten the short end of the stick, and democracy has always been massively compromised.  For 100 years, there were actual slaves in America.  And de facto slaves for nearly 100 years after that.  Black and white, the poor have borne the brunt of the hard work, the physical risks and damage over time, while a very few people have taken home most of the proceeds.

 

If anything, the awareness of this has grown, and we are actually pushing towards something better.  

 

Other than the brief moment where Americans had won WWII, had free access to the resources of most of the planet, and was driven by a population that had been largely mobilized to win that war, and riding on the efforts and ideals of The New Deal, plutocracy has been the status quo for pretty much all of history.

 

 

 

Yes I agree with all of your points my man. 

 

We actually have the chance to change the way the system works I sure hope that Democrats in Washington do not mess this one up.

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18 hours ago, zkyllonen8 said:

 

Yes I agree with all of your points my man. 

 

We actually have the chance to change the way the system works I sure hope that Democrats in Washington do not mess this one up.

 

I'm actually vaguely hopeful that we can achieve something like a good balance between the Haves and the Have Nots again.  As I like to say, I harbor some fairly conservative ideas, and one of them is that a lot of people really just don't want to be bothered with much.  Having somebody like Elon Musk, who is highly motivated and a talented engineer, in charge at Tesla is a good idea.  Having a single person focusing energy, directing resources, enables us to achieve things we could not otherwise achieve.  There have to be people who are not in charge, people who have roles to play, and that's all, and that's actually totally fine with a ton of people.

 

But there has to be some sort of mechanism to keep the people in charge from just taking everything they can, squeaking out a little bit more and a little bit more for themselves every day until their employees are struggling to survive, the middle class starts to lose some of the characteristics that make it so powerful and so economically important, especially in the long haul.  A large middle class with access to good education, and with enough free time that they can direct some of their own resources, this is where we get upwardly mobile people, future Elon Musks.  These people can produce game-changing ideas and jump into the fray to compete with established players.  We have the resources to accommodate a large, educated middle class with time to participate in their communities, start their own businesses, make their own discoveries and inventions. 

 

The fact that a bean counter cannot account for every penny spent paying these people against some sort of production ledger is not the only thing to consider.  Business has to feed the community, not just vice-versa.  You have to plow some resources back into the ground or there will be less and less to show for your efforts.  Farmers know this.  We leave millions of acres lying fallow every season because if you don't you'll destroy the source of your livelihood.  It's not impossible to account for the benefit, in dollars, that leaving fields fallow delivers to farms.  But it's not a direct, bottom-line, income generating thing, either.  You have to take the larger picture into account.

 

The right-wing version of capitalism religiously denies this, and blindly asserts that, in a nutshell, might makes right.  The market will always do the most efficient, most effective, and therefore ultimately the ethical and moral thing for society.  To which I have to say, "Kansas".  

 

Quote

Whatever your take on Rockefeller’s politics, he didn’t subscribe to the “money is the only thing that matters” ethos that marked Wall Street’s next generations. When Rockefeller was in his nineties, his granddaughter Miranda Kaiser remembers accompanying him to a meeting at the bank. “Jamie [Dimon] was presenting with all the other top officials to a very select group of investors,” she recalls. “All of their presentations were very focused on one thing: how they were going to maximize returns. Grandpa was the last one to go. ‘All that is great,’ he said, ‘but let’s not forget our social responsibility as a major corporation.’ He was not well-received — as I remember, there was a lot of glowering. The guys in the expensive suits, they looked jazzed-up when Jamie was talking about returns, but when Grandpa was talking they looked profoundly uncomfortable.” 

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/jpmorgan-chase-bank-biggest-investor-fossil-fuels-956927/

 

Conservatives, actual super-rich, old white dude conservatives, used to understand that companies had a symbiotic relationship with the general population.  But in the 1980's we entered an age when that relationship is much more like a host and a parasite, or a virus.  I definitely think more people are starting to understand this.  And now, 150 years after Marx and his friends were dreaming their utopian dreams, there are plenty of examples in the world of highly-developed nations implementing a successful system that is a hybrid between those radical fantasies and the right-wing dogma of the free market.  If Germany can do it, if Sweden can do it, etc, etc, then we can do it, too.

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Wanting every single citizen to be able to see a doctor if they need to (without ending up homeless, in collections, or in bankruptcy court) is NOT a radical idea.

 

Wanting everyone to be able to get a college education (without ending up in debt until their 50's) is NOT a radical idea.

 

Wanting our government to work for ALL it's citizens, not just the wealthy donors, the lobbyists, and the large corporations is NOT a radical idea.

 

Wanting to reform our currently cruel and dysfunctional immigration system to create a pathway to citizenship and provide newcomers to our country the ability to thrive is NOT a radical idea.

 

Wanting to address climate change is NOT a radical idea.

 

Wanting to meaningfully address the growing wage inequality in this country is NOT a radical idea.

 

 

 

I agree with the OP.  :)   Bernie is not a "radical" at all.  All these things are needed.  We need a leader like Bernie Sanders in the White House.

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, splunch said:

We need a LOT of leaders like Bernie Sanders.

There goes my people. I must follow them for I am their leader.

 

Mahatma Gandhi

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