The Hamster Wheel

Brooklyn’s own Bernie Sanders (purported Democrat; ruler of as yet

Bernie's version of the ideal Republican. (Not pictured: The permanent tax spigot attached to the hamster, er, man's wallet.)

Bernie’s version of the ideal Republican. (Not pictured: The permanent tax spigot attached to the hamster, er, man’s wallet.)

undisclosed underground kingdom populated with lumps and proles) was taking a swing through New Hampshire recently to help the downtrodden better understand the meaning of Labor Day.  The irony of a man whose entire existence – virtually of his lifetime earnings – are taken from the earnings of others through taxes seems to be completely lost on Sanders.  Although maybe as part of Lenin’s Vaunted Vanguard ™ he’s perfectly aware of the irony, but he’s OK with it.  An omelet and eggs, you see.

Let’s take a brief sampling of Bernie’s words to his adoring crowds in the “Live Free Or Die” state, which, if they continue to support Sanders, will get one of those two options in their state motto delivered more quickly than the other.

“Working people and their unions fought for a more responsive democracy and built the middle class,” Sanders said in his prepared remarks in Manchester. “Today we can and we must follow their example. It’s time to rebuild the crumbling middle class of our country and make certain that every working person in the United States of America has a chance at a decent life.”

First of all, the majority of the industry in the US prior to the 20th century – and well into it – was agriculture, which wasn’t unionized.  Farmers don’t have time to picket.  Secondly, unions never reached more than 35% of the labor force – in 1954, 60 years ago – and have declined steadily ever since:

In 2014, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 11.1 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.6 million, was little different from 2013. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.

Workers built the middle class, not unions.  If unions are such a great idea, why are they at their lowest ebb in US history?  Wouldn’t now be the time when union membership should be surging?

If Bernie wants to “rebuild” the middle class – and I can picture a another “stimulus” package coming with that exact wording slapped onto it – then cut their taxes.  Cut corporate taxes to make them more profitable so they will hire more people.  Rescind your call for taxing repatriated earnings and you’ll see a couple of trillion dollars in corporate cash brought back to the US where it will be invested and spent.  Instead, corporations are borrowing money for cash requirements now – due to the ZIRP policy the Fed has imposed – and avoiding tax penalties for bringing earnings home that have already been taxed once.

For Bernie, though, taxed once, twice, three times – it doesn’t matter.  Corporations must obviously be punished for turning a profit:

“At a time when almost all new income and wealth is going to the people on top while millions of Americans work longer hours for lower wages,” he said, “the time is long overdue for us to create an economy which works for the middle class and working families of this country, and not just the 1 percent.”

And how would Bernie create this magical re-distributive economy?  By increasing corporate costs and reducing productivity!

Stimulus: It's Crumbilicious!

Stimulus: It’s Crumbilicious!

Today, the Democratic candidate for president said, workers in the United States must be guaranteed paid medical and family leave and paid sick time and vacation time. With real unemployment at more than 10 percent, Sanders proposed a $1 trillion program to rebuild America’s crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects and create 13 million decent-paying jobs.

Ah-HA!  Another stimulus program!  Wasn’t that the one Joe Biden was put in charge of in 2009?  Where did the near trillion-dollar spend go, Bernie?  Who’s to say that a new stimulus, paid for by taxing and borrowing, will again fail to reach the middle-class that needs to stop

Bernie's version of successful stimulus spending.

Bernie’s version of successful stimulus spending.

crumbling like an over-excited coffee cake?

Like all federal spending, special interests, often (gasp!) in the form of organized labor or state governments, received the bulk of federal largesse.  In a sort of world-turning-upside-down sense of logic, the 2009 stimulus spent more on propping up state and local government spending ($58 billion) than it did on aid to people affected by the economic downturn ($37 billion).

Bernie’s essentially arguing to fund his voting constituencies money out of the taxpayer’s pocket.  And since the bulk of taxes paid are not paid by the bottom half of income earners in this country, Bernie is using rich people to buy poor peoples’ votes via a ‘stimulus’.

How would increasing health care costs, by imposing paid sick time, family leave, etc., make corporations more competitive?  How would a corporation that depends largely on labor and has labor as a predominant cost be able to maintain a margin of 3% annually if their labor costs increase?  Bernie seems to think that profits are evil, but profits are what allow a corporation to exist in the first place.  No profits, no jobs.  Sure, it’s not as sexy as “No Justice, No Peace”, and looks lousy on a hemp-based t-shirt, but it’s perfectly true.

If you reduce profits and the margin, then fewer people will be employed.  How would that build anything other than an increasing dependency on the government?

Which, in the end, is Bernie’s goal:  A nation of hamsters spinning on stimulus-built wheels.



One thought on “The Hamster Wheel

  1. It’s amazing to see how many people get riled by Bernie and don’t know any of what you’ve written here in great detail and backed by facts. Looking forward to your next piece.


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