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What Is The Price Of Doing Nothing?

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Bernie Sanders opponents criticize his policy proposals because of what they might cost.  Pete Buttigieg estimates the cost at 50 trillion dollars and Larry Summers, economic advisor for Barack Obama put it at 60 trillion.  The mere mention of the numbers is intended to convey a message of grandiosity.  But focusing only on the costs of doing something about these problems without mentioning the costs of doing little or nothing is misleading.


The problems Bernie is addressing desperately need fixing:


A Green New Deal might be expensive but doing nothing about climate change will almost certainly cost far more. California is already burning, the midwest and south are flooding, New England is eroding, Florida is sinking.  If we don't launch something as bold as a Green New Deal, we'll end up spending far more than the cost of prevention.


Medicare for All will cost a lot, but the price of doing nothing about America’s increasingly dysfunctional healthcare system will soon be in the stratosphere.


Investing in universal childcare, public higher education and woefully outdated and dilapidated infrastructure will be expensive too, but the cost of not making these investments would be astronomical.


A related criticism of Sanders and Warren is that they haven't come up with a way to pay for their proposals.  But their wealth taxes would go a long way to pay for their plans.  But even if only a small part of Sanders/Warren's plans are covered, it is imperative to spend more for the good of our Nation and the World.


We can no longer pretend that climate change, a wildly dysfunctional healthcare system and a yawning deficit in public investment pose insignificant challenges.  Doing nothing or doing too little will make them far worse. Obsessing about the cost of addressing them without acknowledging the cost of failing to address them is dangerously irresponsible.


I have abridged and paraphrased the preceding from a Robert Reich piece in "Inequality Media".

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Pete is on the dole.  Larry Summers is one of the architects the current economic rat's nest we find ourselves in today, wherein the entire economy is chained to the well-being of a handful of TBTF banks and insurance companies (if you can even tell them apart anymore).


Their interests are totally at odds with any sort of agenda that would undo Summers' own handiwork, including the repeal of Glass-Steagall.


That said, neither Warren nor Sanders is running for Supreme Ruler Of Congress.  They're running for President.  From the White House, they may steer the conversation, push forward ideas, wield political influence.  But they cannot just enact massive legislative changes like re-building our entire healthcare industry or rolling out the Green New Deal.  


I hope that eventually we can elect enough people to Congress that we can legitimately challenge the propaganda from the corporate puppet masters who insist that we cannot do things that other advanced, diverse nations have already done around the world.  For now, Sanders/Warren/Yang would be an excellent step in the right direction.  


The only thing right-wingers need to fear from them is that they CAN halt the worst of the lurches to the right with a veto, perhaps.  So worst case scenario for your corporate types:  you can't keep flogging the horse over the edge of the right-wing cliff for a few years.

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