The Wall Street Journal’s article by Laura Meckler that ran on September 16, 2015, started out correctly enough- “Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history.” (see footnote 1)
Let’s read that last bit one more time- the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history. This is ambitious, and noble, and long overdue. This is a man who cares about the people of this country even more than they care about themselves, it seems- given how many people will vote for officials who would strip them of their rights and their well being.
What this article asserts, in a very broad sweep, is that Bernie Sanders is proposing “at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade- a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even more Democrats pause.”
Wrong-o. This is a little prestidigitation on the part of the writer. By slipping in one little three letter word, she flips the whole script. “New” spending is incorrect- unless you want to talk about monies that would already be spent being spent in a new and innovative way- and in a way that ends up saving about $5 trillion. Says Gerald Friedman- whose research was cited for this WSJ article (and was misinterpreted, hence his “An Open Letter to the Wall Street Journal on Its Bernie Sanders Piece” –“The Journal correctly puts the additional federal spending for health care under HR 676 (a single payer health plan) at $15 trillion over ten years. It neglects to add, however, that by spending these vast sums, we would, as a country, save nearly $5 trillion over ten years in reduced administrative waste, lower pharmaceutical and device prices, and by lowering the rate of medical inflation.
These financial savings would be felt by businesses and by state and local governments who would no longer be paying for health insurance for their employees; and by retirees and working Americans who would no longer have to pay for their health insurance or for co-payments and deductibles. Beyond these financial savings, HR 676 would also save thousands of lives a year by expanding access to health care for the uninsured and the underinsured.
The economic benefits from Senator Sander’s proposal would be even greater than these static estimates suggest because a single-payer plan would create dynamic gains by freeing American businesses to compete without the burden of an inefficient and wasteful health insurance system. As with Senator Sanders’ other proposals, the economic boom created by HR 676, including the productivity boost coming from a more efficient health care system and a healthier population, would raise economic output and provide billions of dollars in additional tax revenues to over-set some of the additional federal spending.” He goes on to say that given the nearly $10 trillion in savings, it is possible to fund over $4 trillion in other services. (See footnote 2)
So here we have a proposal that give relief to the people, that answer the issue about how this would be paid for with a response that this would actually SAVE this country and its people money, and that money can go towards things like fixing the country’s infrastructure and in so doing giving people jobs. Oh yeah- and sending kids to college.
Or, as Thom Hartmann says via Truthout- “ It‘s not 15 trillion dollars that Bernie’s plan would cost the country – because we as a people will spend that amount – and more – on health-care costs anyway.
It’s 5 trillion dollars that we the people will save with Bernie’s plan – and get back – by adopting an efficient – and affordable – single payer health-care for all system. And that would be good for everyone – and the economy as a whole.
Unfortunately, The Wall Street Journal’s analysis of Bernie’s proposals isn’t just another routine example of shoddy corporate journalism. It’s an example of how the corporate media tries to discredit and discard anyone who they can’t control. And that’s not just bad news for our political process. It’s also bad news for the Fourth Estate, which really should at least try to be honest in its critique of policy issues.” (see footnote 3)
It’s hard to understand how any one of us, the American citizens and taxpayers of this country- the people who do all the “working and saving and living and dying in this town” (to quote a great scene in It’s a Wonderful Life, when George Bailey goes head to head with Mr Potter) would go out and vote for anyone NOT proposing this. How? Why? This needs to be talked about. Not the political attacks, not the name calling and the disparaging remarks that simply solidify the great divide between the parties- but actual dialogue about this. I know people who are currently on Medicaid and Social Security, and they are staunchly Republican. Do they realize that the GOP wants to cut their funding they rely on to live? So they can continue to subsidize corporations? I know people who are looking for work and on unemployment or getting some assistance from the government. These same people go on a rampage when it comes to the topic of ‘socialism’, and yet they are benefiting from the most socialist programs this country has to offer. I don’t think people fully understand they are actually voting for Mr Potter, who wants them to live in shanties, when George Bailey wants them to have nice little homes and food on the table. THIS is an even bigger conversation. We do not want to preach to the converted. We want to talk to those who are still blinded by this illusion, masterfully crafted by the Republican party, that allows people to remain blind to the reality even as they suffer from it. We want the good for all, for the citizens of this country of all parties and persuasions and colors and religions. Share this blog, share it with people who might not agree with it and get the discussion open and talk to them, don’t chastise them or mock them or make them wrong. Just debate the issues, gently and with facts. Bernie Sanders himself has said this campaign is not about bashing the other party. It’s about being good enough that you don’t have to. Lets all be that. Bernie Sanders is setting a very high bar, not just for the political system, but fir all of us. He is about fairness, about opportunity, about health of the individual and the family, about education and the Middle Class, about the environment and getting money out of politics. He really is the modern-day George Bailey. He is looking out for my kids, and yours. One big reason why I write these blogs and am committed to doing everything I personally can to help him get into the White House- my two kids. I shudder to think of their future if we can not get this man into office. They deserve the chances his proposals will give them. And so do yours. And so do the kids of the Republicans who remain faithful to their Masters who keep them shackled to a future of diminished opportunity. Lets help them all. Bernie Sanders 2016!!!!! (For a clip of George Bailey taking on Mr Potter and the Building and Loan, see footnote 4)
- George Bailey taking on Mr Potter in Its a Wonderful LIfe