Posted on July 17, 2016
Bernie’s Truth Deficit
So much for Sanders’ “Honesty”
All those conservatives who credit Bernie Sanders with being honest must have been more than a little perplexed by his speech in which he announced his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. The socialist senator hopped aboard the bandwagon of the quintessential “Wall Street candidate,” and if that wasn’t enough of a sellout of his alleged principles, he even pretended to care about runaway deficits.
During the same speech in which he charged that Donald Trump “would increase our national debt by trillions of dollars,” he absolved the sitting president for doing exactly that when he laughably claimed, “We have come a long way in the last seven and a half years and I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession.”
Surely he’s aware that the economy has stagnated throughout the Obama administration (GDP growth under 3% every single year), while the national debt has almost doubled. By leadership, one might deduce that he’s referring to Obama’s $831 billion stimulus plan, which succeeded in stimulating nothing but federal deficits. If Trump is proposing anything that will add more to the debt than that, it would be helpful if Sanders would cite an example.
Furthermore, Sanders basically endorsed a repeat of the Obama stimulus, when he praised Hillary because “she wants to create millions of new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, bridges, water systems and wastewater plants.” Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the government actually creates 2 million jobs that pay an average of $50,000, through stimulus spending on infrastructure. That’s already $100 billion in salaries alone, for a single year. Factor in the total cost of employment, along with the materials needed for all those projects, and then assume that these jobs have some degree of permanency, and before long the plan is running in the trillions.
Bernie said Hillary Clinton “believes that anyone 55 years or older should be able to opt in to Medicare.” Sanders often advocates a “single-payer” health care system by obliviously employing the slogan “Medicare For All!” It’s as if he doesn’t realize that the program is on track to become insolvent by 2028, even without dramatically increasing the number of participants. Either that, or he just doesn’t know or care where the money’s coming from. Considering that he’s never held a steady job outside of government, we may reasonably assume the latter.
He continued, “Hillary is committed to seeing thousands of young doctors, nurses, psychologists, dentists and other medical professionals practice in underserved areas as we follow through on President Obama’s idea of tripling funding for the National Health Service Corps.” What, only tripling?
“Hillary Clinton believes that we must substantially lower student debt, and that we must make public colleges and universities tuition-free for the middle class.” Under Bernie’s plan, the federal government would pay two-thirds of the tuition for all in-state students, without any mechanism for cost containment. Does that sound like somebody who cares a whit about the national debt? Honestly.
Sanders faulted President Bush for “running up a record-breaking deficit of $1.4 trillion” in 2009, on the basis that the first-year deficit for one president results from the last budget of his predecessor. He neglected to mention that outlays from Obama’s stimulus package – which was not part of Bush’s budget, and for which Democrats were wholly responsible – made up no less than one-sixth of that year’s record amount.
Much of the rest of the 2009 deficit was caused by the subprime mortgage crash, which was the culmination of an exercise in what socialists like Sanders euphemistically call “social and economic justice.” To promote “affordable housing,” the federal government required lending institutions to make home loans to people who would likely never be able to repay them. More specifically, Bill Clinton, the husband of the candidate Sanders just endorsed, imposed subprime lending quotas on banks through his revision of the Community Reinvestment Act, and also on “government-sponsored enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through mandates from HUD. Implicit all along was the understanding that when these entities went bankrupt, the taxpayers would bail them out.
Maybe this hypocrisy doesn’t seem like anything remarkable. Democrats often get away with feigning concern for the national debt, while also devising new programs and bureaucracies that result in massive increases in annual federal spending. This is no ordinary Democrat, though. This is Bernie Sanders, who, however misguided he may be, is reputed to be impeccably honest and principled. Remember?
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