The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Leader of the Pack

Activists on the left and their trained hamsters in the media are quick to throw out a descriptor such as "extremist" when making reference to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. I don't like either GOP candidate, but it does seem odd that the word "extremist" is never applied to Bernie Sanders.

Sanders world view comes straight out the hard left. I have referred to him as a "cryto-communist" in a number of posts, and I stand by that description, even though the media prefers a softer euphemism, "democratic socialist."

On the surface, Sanders is a populist, fighting the good fight for "social justice" and "economic equality." He rails against "millionaires and billionaires," promoting the canard that the economy is a zero sum game—that is, the more money "millionaires and billionaires" make, the less money is available to everyone else. That's blatantly untrue, but it ties in nicely with his overall class warfare strategy. His solution is reconstituted communist rhetoric out of the last century—redistribute income and wealth so that the "rich" are forced to pay more of what they've earned while the middle class and poor get more because ... well ... just because.

There's only one problem with Bernie's ideas. They are fantasy. Time and time again, real world results (i.e., modern history) indicate that they do not work—ever! High taxes ruin an economy, concentrate power in an often corrupt and reliably incompetent central government, hurt the middle class and poor by limiting economic growth (i.e., jobs) and create a ever growing dependent class. Bernie's suggestion that government should manage the economy via regulation and legislation is a strategy that leads to shortages, warped markets, and ultimately to breadlines. Then again, years ago as Mayor of Burlington Vermont, Bernie said: "Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing. In other countries, people don’t line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

Okay ... not sure how to respond to that.

That's why Bernie and his acolytes on the left celebrate Cuba or Venezuela, countries that have been ruined by socialist policies—slave wages for make-work projects while the infrastructure crumbles, shortages of everything from food to toilet paper, and a communist (leftist) elite who live very, very well while the people live in squalor.

We've seen Bernie's ideas in action during the past century. In virulent form—violence and death follow (think: Mao or Pol Pot or Stalin or Castro). In less virulent forms, ruined economies, imprisoned opposition, and wrecked lives (think: Chavez), and in more benign forms, economic stagnation and extreme debt (think: Greece).

But Bernie's legions of young people have no historical perspective and have been propagandized by a left-leaning university system that romanticizes the socialist ethic. His older followers simply refuse to accept the reality that socialism is a demonstrably failed ideology better suited to theory than practice.

So when you hear people talking about "extremists" during this election season, recognize that some of Trump and Cruz ideas might be aptly characterized in that manner, but the leader of the extremist pack is Bernie Sanders.

UPDATE (4/8/16):

Daniel Henninger adds an interesting aside by citing the Panama Papers as an example of leaders of socialist states who set up "legal" tax dodges in foreign lands to avoid the high taxes they themselves impose on ordinary citizens in their own countries. He writes:
After World War II, the governments of the West established tax regimes to support the reconstruction of their nations. Six decades later, that tax machinery, which runs the social-welfare states in the countries Bernie Sanders cites in every campaign stop as a model for America, has run totally amok—an unaccountable, devouring monster. Billionaires aren’t the only ones who run from it.

Most governments, including ours, overtax their citizens to feed their own insatiable need for money. Then the legal thieves running the government and their cronies, unwilling to abide the tax levels they created, move their wealth offshore to places like Panama. Arguably, all the world’s people should be able to move their assets “offshore” to escape governments that are smothering economic life and growth, which has stalled in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Speaking of crocodile tears, Barack Obama spent Tuesday bragging that corporate tax inversions are akin to Panama Papers’ tax avoidance. Mr. Obama said “corporations,” another swearword invoked by Bernie Sanders at every stop, are “gaming the system.”

Well what about that “system?” Mr. Obama is saying, with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in his echo chamber, that U.S. corporations should suck it up on the U.S.’s 35% corporate tax rate, the world’s developed highest, and simply send that money to him. Why? Because he’s gotta have it. To spend.
To Bernie and his supporters, "corporations" are rapacious, "profit" is evil, and "capitalism" is akin to devil worship. Yeah, "extremist" is not at all inappropriate when describing Bernie Sanders.