Picture credit: The Huffington Post
Recently graduating from a left-leaning university, in a left-leaning city, with a majority left-leaning friends, all of whom are overly-equipped with cuddle bears and safe spaces, every day I’ve had to suffer through hearing about the glorious socialist utopia that would come about with a Bernie Sanders presidency.
Having actually studied political science, focusing heavily on various countries’ policies and economics, I have to fight a constant urge where I don’t lower myself to the left’s standards and go on a “peaceful protest” rampage. Fortunately, it has never come to that. Being well-equipped with a basic knowledge of economics and morality, one can ask three simple questions to stun any Bernie bro.
1. How does Bernie Sanders plan on attracting business?
This is probably one of the best arguments against Sanders’ specific idea of socialism, as his views are radical even for a modern socialist.
While socialism never works in the long run, as we have seen with Venezuela’s collapse and Sweden and Denmark’s reduction in benefits and fragile economic systems, there are measures that can prolong its life.
Sweden and Denmark, both the golden standard for socialists, have some the lowest corporate tax rates in the world. In Sweden and Denmark, the corporate tax rate is 22 percent; whereas in the United States, we have a whopping tax rate of 38.9 percent; the second highest in the world. For socialism to be sustainable, even if it is only in the short run, Sweden and Denmark understood the necessity for investment. They needed incentives for companies to move to their country and employ their population.
As mentioned before, this still isn’t enough to save them from disaster that occurs from any type of economic change, which usually leads to heightened unemployment, budget imbalance and increased deficit, and the inevitable removal or reduction in welfare benefits. However, Sweden and Denmark’s policy on low corporate tax rates is something Bernie never addresses. He doesn’t understand this and seeks only to ridicule corporations and the wealthy; the very people that provide the economic means to make socialism as sustainable as it will ever be. Could you imagine a millennial wrapping his head around the idea of lowering tax rates for those evil corporations? Me neither.
This is, arguably, the biggest flaw in Sanders’ socialist dream.
2. How does one redistribute wealth and keep the economy growing?
While this should be common knowledge for a Bernie supporter, you’ll find many don’t actually know the answer or have looked at the in-depth causal effect of what is proposed.
Quoting from Bernie Sanders’ official site, he states: “There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.” While this figure is mostly accurate, there are debates about its validity. Politifact references fellow libertarian Daniel Mitchell when he argues that tax laws in the late 20th century required high income taxpayers to report capital income, while middle income citizens didn’t have to. Despite this fact, Mitchell goes on to say that the rich aren’t rich because the poor are poor; the rich are rich, because they are innovative and provide services which others want.
Back to the question at hand. While Bernie mostly relies on demonizing the wealthy, there are instances where he provides a plan to redistribute the wealth.
They consist of raising taxes on the rich, raising the minimum wage, providing government-funded youth programs, and other expensive programs, all to be billable to higher income individuals. At this time, the top 10 percent already pay 68 percent of all federal income taxes and 53 percent of all federal taxes in general.
What happens when that tax rate widens and the wealthy pay more in taxes and middle class pays less? If you believe those in the top 10 percent are millionaires, you’re very wrong. The income for the top 1 to 10 percent is between $380,354 to $113,799. In other words, essentially anyone that owns and operates a successful business. The people that took a risk with their own money, bet on themselves, and came out positive; the people that are providing jobs to the middle class; the people that have to put payroll on their own credit card and often use their own funds to invest in their company; those are the people that Bernie Sanders wants to tax even more, and he hides that fact by having the public perceive the top 10 percent as fat oil men sitting on a mountain of cash.
By redistributing wealth, you are essentially taking money from those that provide the jobs for everyone else, invest and take rise, and essentially keep the economy going. Not only is it morally wrong, but economically idiotic.
3. What’s the incentive to be successful?
The American Dream is based on an idea that anyone can succeed in this country if they have the desire to work hard enough. It is one of the major reasons that America has had the most successful economy since World War II.
The government, specifically under Reagan and Clinton, facilitated an environment where people could achieve anything, because the government would interfere as little as possible. It is why the Reagan and Clinton years (despite the Democrats’ stance on the economy today, Clintonomics was very much in favor of being enterprise-friendly and making the government smaller) were some of the best economic years in American history.
Bernie Sanders’ plan is to go against this logical concept, and label the successful and wealthy as the enemy and everyone else as the victim. So, if a successful economy is determined by innovation and a strong working class – as Reagan and Clinton proved – how do you incentivize people to take risk on themselves and open businesses or try to get a promotion and make more money, when the more money you make, the more is taken away?
* Braden Paynter is your average Joe Schmoe, who loves his country and all the freedom it entails. He has received an education in political science and international politics, being one of the few in his class to emerge without shouting leftist propaganda at the top of his lungs.