Seminal economist Friedrich Hayek quipped that “if socialists understood economics, then they wouldn’t be socialists.”
Like French Toast Crunch, overalls, and some obscure Coca-Cola beverage called Surge, socialism is making a comeback. Despite the misery it has imposed on tens of millions of victims all over the world in the last century, the numbers point to a resurgence in an ideology shared by Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, and Mao Tse Tung. It seems more people, particularly the younger generation, are not embarrassed by the socialist label, instead choosing to wear it as a badge of honor. But socialists should blush because this system is what you get when you reject reality, deny facts, and try to make everyone else believe that two plus two really equals five a la O’Brien in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
One of the most prominent socialists today is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is running for president for a second time. Although he is in the top echelon of the public opinion polls, it feels that the senator does not have the same kind of momentum he had in 2016, mainly because everyone else is mirroring his destructive policies, from higher taxes on the wealthy to free stuff bonanza.
So, how is Sen. Sanders trying to stand out from the crowd of nearly 30? That’s simple: Be even more ignorant of elementary economics. Ostensibly, Sanders has adopted the famous “I do not think that means what you think it means” meme as a new campaign strategy.
Free is Freedom
Today, the left believes that everything under the sun is a human right, whether it is health care or college education. The response to this is that you do not have the right to somebody else’s labor or property, plus whenever a good or service is declared a right, then you tend to have a shortage of it. South Africa lists housing as a human right in its constitution, but much of the country is homeless.
In an interview with the Counterfeit News Network’s Anderson Cooper and in a speech at George Washington University, Sanders demanded a “21st Century Economic Bill of Rights” that guarantees every American:
- A decent job that pays a living wage.
- Quality health care.
- A complete education.
- Affordable housing.
- A clean environment.
- A secure retirement.
Sanders ostensibly thinks that this is the only way to “achieving political and economic freedom in every community.” He then tweeted: “There is no freedom without economic freedom. #DemocraticSocialism.” Later, he told the former news network, CNN, that “economic rights are human rights.”
When considering economic freedom, what is the first thing that springs to mind? It is usually more money in your pocket, the choice to open a business, a reduction in regulations, and the liberty to do what you want with your own money. The average person is not thinking about free stuff from the government or handing over hard-earned dollars to the state. But Bernie is far removed from the average person.
Take My Money, Please
Sanders then channeled his inner comedian, telling Cooper a joke: Americans want to pay more taxes. That may have been the funniest line of the entire 2020 primary.
“I suspect that a lot of people in this country would be delighted to pay more in taxes if they had comprehensive health care as a human right. There is a tradeoff, but at the end of the day, I think most people will believe they’re going to be better off when their kids have educational opportunities without out-of-pocket expenses, when they have health care as a human right, when they have affordable housing, when they have decent retirement security. I think most Americans will understand that that is a good deal.”
All the research suggests the opposite: Americans want to pay less, not more, taxes.
What other bromides will he spout? We have another goody!
Revenue is Not Profit
Recently, Sanders tweeted a Time magazine story about a growing number of disgruntled and fatigued video game developers who want to unionize. He wrote:
“The video game industry made $43 billion in revenue last year. The workers responsible for that profit deserve to collectively bargain as part of a union. I’m glad to see unions like @IATSE and the broader @GameWorkers movement organizing such workers.”
To quote the eminent William F. Buckley, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”
Perhaps this was a typo, but Sanders must know the difference between revenue and profit – but if he’s having trouble distinguishing these two terms, then we are here to help. Revenue is the amount of money a company generates through the sale of its goods or services. Profit is the amount of income that remains after everything – overhead, labor, taxes, and other expenses – is covered.
The gaming industry did generate $42 billion domestically last year. But this is money that companies earned before deducting aspects, like employee compensation; the same workers who received a slice of that multi-billion-dollar pie. Once these workers are paid, then businesses will calculate profits.
Is Sanders to fault here? That’s tough to answer because everyone who criticizes capitalism often talks about the billions that corporations made. Oftentimes, these “people before profit” folks conflate the two terms. Despite most of the Democratic candidates shrieking about “record profits,” the data show that they have peaked and are beginning to tumble.
A Line in the Sanders
A lot of conservatives and libertarians felt bad for Sen. Sanders in 2016. His campaign was skyrocketing, his base was turning out, and he was quite competitive. Because Hillary Clinton claimed her throne, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did everything it could to ensure a Clinton victory. Would things be different today had the democratic socialist been the nominee? It’s hard to tell what a Sanders-Trump matchup would look like, aside from being highly entertaining. That said, sympathy can only go so far when a politician promises to take more from you, spend trillions, and defy basic economics.
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