Bread and Circuses Courtesy of Bernie Sanders




By Glenn Turner

I watched Senator Bernie Sanders’ speech on C-SPAN which he delivered last Friday to a cheering crowd in South Carolina. He touched on a lot of topics of national interest. He spoke loudly and passionately but his voice was strained and scratchy. He stirred up the crowd and had them cheering.

Regarding trade policies, Sanders says America needs to negotiate better deals with foreign countries so that America can keep more jobs and profit.

I agree! Trump agrees. We all agree. (This is about the only issue where I agree with Sanders.) He’s right, the problem is corporate greed here, no doubt. Companies are hiring foreigners more cheaply, and not taxing imports.

Here is an interesting article on the subject by Lou Dobbs, written in 2010:

Here’s a pertinent quote from the above article: “For example Dell Computer laying off 300 people at its call center and shipping the jobs to Bangalore, to Manila, simply to reduce cost in its home economy, providing the same service, the same product, but eliminating the jobs. So therefore it’s job destruction.”

So America needs to improve trade deals so that we profit. Sounds simple–I’m sure it is not.

Here are a few of Sanders’ positions:
–he is in favor of paid maternal leave of 3 months.
–in favor of paid sick leave.
–he believes college education should be tuition-free.
–wants to expand Social Security.

My reply:
Bernie’s audience apparently does not understand economics. They don’t understand that Sanders’ policies would essentially destroy what remains of the free market system. All incentives to create wealth would be removed–the wealthy would stop producing wealth in order to avoid being punished, and the poor would not need to create wealth because they would have a guaranteed income. Ever heard of Milton Friedman’s book, “Free To Choose?” I don’t think Sander’s audience has read it. It explains in simple terms how the free market system works. Money flows like water to the place it is most needed.

For instance, consider the idea of minimum wage. When the government arbitrarily increases a workers wage, the company is forced to economize in other areas–less products or lower quality, cost savings in other areas, such as firing workers! The company usually needs to increase the prices of their products. So the whole economy gets inflated, triggering a rising spiral of price increases and wage increases. Constantly increasing wages and benefits is how unions destroy big companies like General Motors.

Sanders’ proposals would only create a welfare state. How would all these programs be paid for? He would probably want to raise taxes in an effort to pay for all these entitlements. The whole system would be too complicated for anyone to oversee properly. So corruption would increase, as people bypass the regulatory system to get results.

Bernie is dangerous because he believes his own nonsense. He’s a fellow traveler, instigating class conflict. He wants to punish the rich, give unearned benefits to the poor, encouraging people to feel entitled to higher wages and benefits, no matter how much it hurts their employers. It’s the classic Marxist party line, take from each according to their ability, give to all according to their need. But it never works. It’s called a command economy, like they have in Russia. Is that what we really want?

Sanders is peddling the same ideas that Rome had centuries ago—give the masses bread and circuses (unearned higher wages and benefits) to feed and entertain them, and blame the rich people for our nation’s troubles.

It’s worrisome that so many Americans agree with him.


Candidate and Senator from Vermont: Bernie Sanders

Candidate and Senator from Vermont: Bernie Sanders



Glenn Turner grew up in Santa Barbara. He and his school teacher wife are retired and have since moved from Ventura County.

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