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One of my neighbors recently wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper lamenting that someone had stolen his Bernie Sanders sign from the end of his driveway. While I do not support Sanders — I prefer candidates who have a basic understanding of the economy — it is despicable to remove political signs. The thief is not only interfering with my neighbor’s right to political speech but also violating his right to private property. A few weeks ago someone stole a pumpkin from the end of my driveway. A pumpkin! Speaking of thievery, Mr. Sanders is a self-described socialist. Under socialism, there is no right to private property and no free speech.
Mr. Sanders does not understand how the economy works. He believes it is “rigged” in order to benefit the “billionaire class.” What Mr. Sanders does not grasp is that no one can control the economy. Socialism seeks to exert control but fails, miserably and inexorably, every time. It’s not that “real” socialism has never been tried, as its defenders often assert, but that real socialism has been implemented repeatedly and has repeatedly degraded the human condition.
One need look no further than the difference between North and South Korea for the truth. Or consider that under socialism, life expectancy in the USSR fell while in the West it rose. Or look to Venezuela, where they don’t even have toilet paper any more — that is what an economy rigged by socialism looks like. In Cuba, dissidents seeking to exercise free speech are beaten in the streets by Castro’s thugs, jailed on trumped-up charges, or killed. Indeed, more than 100 million people died under socialism in the 20th century alone.
Like all socialists, Mr. Sanders peddles envy. “These” people have “this,” but you don’t. Therefore, “they” are bad, and we will take what “they” have and give it to you. The Jacobins vilified the monarchy and the clergy; the Bolsheviks blamed the Tsars and other aristocrats; the National Socialists scapegoated the Jews; the Khmer Rouge and the Red Chinese both denounced the intellectuals. The results were: dead kings, dead priests, dead Tsars, dead Jews, dead anyone-who-could-read-and-write.
We are $18 trillion in debt and Mr. Sanders proposes adding an additional $18 trillion in spending over the next ten years. Since we already run a deficit each year of approximately $500 billion, give or take, Mr. Sanders would like the national debt to be approximately $41 trillion in 2025. To pay for this, he speaks loudly about taxing the “millionaires and billionaires.” A trillion is a large number. It’s hard to imagine. But try for a moment. One trillion is equal to one million million. Mr. Sanders wants to tax “millionaires and billionaires” to pay off a multi-trillion dollar debt.
But this is lunacy. In 2010, the top 20% of income earners paid a whopping 93% of the federal taxes collected that year. The hated top 1% paid 37% of the income taxes. All “millionaires and billionaires,” right? Wrong. The top 20% bracket starts at about $90,000 a year, the top 1% at around $350,000 a year. Even if we were to confiscate all the wealth of all the “millionaires and billionaires” in the country, we could not even begin to pay off our current debt, let alone the additional debt Mr. Sanders proposes. In fact, even Mr. Sanders admits this impossibility. On ABC’s The Week, he recently endorsed a Senate bill authored by Kirsten Gillibrand (D–NY) that would increase the payroll tax, which is levied against all workers.
I completely disagree with my neighbor’s desire to put a socialist in the White House, but he should be able to put up a sign professing his support for a monstrous ideology nonetheless.