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Feel the Bern

Today marks the pinnacle of pathetic pandering in NYS as “we” head to the polls to annoint the latest power-mad, megalomaniacal people with our blessings of awesomeness. In that spirit, check out these 10 core principles from the “Bern’s” website:



  1. Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020. In the year 2015, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.
  2. Putting at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $1 trillion over five years towards rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs.
  3. Reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs. If corporate America wants us to buy their products they need to manufacture those products in this country, not in China or other low-wage countries.
  4. Fighting for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. It is an outrage that women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.
  5. Making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America. Everyone in this country who studies hard should be able to go to college regardless of income.
  6. Expanding Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000. At a time when the senior poverty rate is going up, we have got to make sure that every American can retire with dignity and respect.
  7. Guaranteeing healthcare as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system. It’s time for the U.S. to join every major industrialized country on earth and provide universal healthcare to all.
  8. Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and 7 days of paid sick days. Real family values are about making sure that parents have the time they need to bond with their babies and take care of their children and relatives when they get ill.
  9. Enacting a universal childcare and prekindergarten program. Every psychologist understands that the most formative years for a human being is from the ages 0-3. We have got to make sure every family in America has the opportunity to send their kids to a high quality childcare and pre-K program.
  10. Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act. One of the most significant reasons for the 40-year decline in the middle class is that the rights of workers to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits have been severely undermined.

Is there greater evidence that (1) the economics profession has utterly failed; and (2) that people actually are engaged in symbolism and not serious thinking? If you were to conduct a poll of all of the economists at the top 50 economics departments in the country, and people were able to answer honestly and anonymously, not a single department would generate anywhere near reasonable levels of support for any of these positions, except possibly #9.

Say what you will about “science deniers” on the climate side, we are a nation of economic science deniers, and we are proud of it. The next time NASA wishes to send a probe into space, instead of relying on the science, I think we should allow populist politicians to enact mission plans and engineering plans based on populist impressions of how science works. If you think populism is reasonable economic policy, please tell me why we should not practice populist space propulsion or populist medicine? Anyone have a loved one with cancer? Use homeopathy! Anyone want to make a campfire? Use the phlogiston!

Have a nice day.

4 Responses to “Feel the Bern”

  1. Scott says:

    ‘Say what you will about “science deniers” on the climate side, we are a nation of economic science deniers, and we are proud of it.’ Laugh or cry?
    I am working toward my MBA, even while acknowledging the limited academic legitimacy of such a degree, I’m shocked by how often I need to defend my belief in returning maximum value to shareholders, that not all businesses are short-term focused, property rights are the best way to protect the environment, the labor market can value maternity leave instead of government policy, increasing the price of pharmaceutical drugs increases private investment into healthcare R&D. These principles are not debates, they are truths of the world we inhibit. We’ve replaced logic and reason with a greeny religousy set of principles that make us feel good because nothing is our fault, and we are owed more than we have.
    I find it bizarre that those ‘feeling the bern’ are the same that tell me thing like ‘money can’t make you happy’. Then why do we need to raise the minimum wage? Why do we need paid maternity leave? If money isn’t everything, how come so much of their message is centered around money?

  2. Scott says:

    And the worst part of socialism isn’t that it makes us all poorer. The worst part is it limits the human spirit, limiting individuals striving to become overachievers and producers, when the path to prosperity necessitates whining, bragging about how hard things are for you, and complaining that your neighborhoods have too much.

  3. sherlock says:

    Can you say he’s wrong though? If the goal, as stated, is to “REDUCE INCOME AND WEALTH INEQUALITY”, I think those policies would accomplish it. Of course it does that by making everyone poorer, however.

    • wintercow20 says:

      It’s a good point Sherlock. Of course, I would argue that empirically those policies ended up producing MORE inequality in the past. In the extreme, take the inequality in the Soviet Union. While the working class was surely equally poor, the inequality between the leadership class and the working class was surely substantial. Robert Conquest’s books go into some pretty gory detail on this.

      On a somewhat more benign level, i believe the tax literature shows that “nominal” inequality is higher in the presence of redistributive income taxation. For example, the U of R pays me more, nominally, than it otherwise would have to, in order to compensate me for the higher taxes that I pay. I would gladly accept a smaller salary commensurate with lower taxes. And given that not a huge chunk of government programs actually transfer resources in a means-tested way, it would seem reasonable to expect that inequality is higher when we try to address it the way we currently do.

      I am sure the Bern has thought deeply about that.

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