Bernie Sanders uses the oxymoron “democratic socialist” to describe himself. In doing so, he feigns to be philosophically attached to the European and Scandinavian family of left-wing ideology – what one might call socialist-lite.
Sanders’ latest proposal puts him a bit further left than our Euro friends, more into the realm of communist-style socialist. Yeah! Yeah! I know it is déclassé to refer to those on the far left as Communists even if their governing philosophy tends to lean in that direction. But rather than having the topic distracted by a debate on the application of the appellation ‘Communist,’ we shall just refer to Sanders as a “far left, radical socialist.”
What inspired this topic was Sanders’ most recent Communist … oops! … I mean far left, radical socialist proposal. According to the Washington Post, the senior senator from Vermont is about to roll out a proposal that would offer everyone in America a job at the minimum wage of $15 per hour. That is a double fault.
There is an old axiom in economic circles that if the government provides a guaranteed job for everyone, everyone will have a very crappy job. This is not a theory, but an established historical fact. One only need check out those nations that have made this promise a policy – and it is no coincidence that they were all hardcore Communist nations at the time. Or should I say far left, radical socialist nations at the time?
The best examples were pre-Nixon Red China and the old Soviet Union, as well as the dysfunctional regimes they spawned in places like Cuba and North Korea. Even China and Russia — in order to address the pandemic poverty that was dragging their nations down the road to ruin and revolution — had to break with their Maoist and Leninist past and introduce significant elements of capitalism and free markets. One can only hope that Cuba and North Korea will follow that lead.
While opportunity America was feeding our people and half the world, the folks in China and the evil Russian empire were literally starving to death by the millions. Jobs that provide a living wage can only be produced by free market consumption. They cannot be, and never have been, produced by government dictate.
This was ironically brought home to me in China by the secretary general of the Harbin municipal Communist Party. He posed this question to me. “Why is your nation moving so fast in the direction we are running from?” I did not have a good answer.
During a visit to Lithuania after the Communist Party had reclaimed power in a post-Soviet period, the vice president of the country told me not to worry. “The Communist Party is back, but communism will never come back to Lithuania.” Even the communists had seen the destructive nature of the old paradigm
Sanders presents himself as a socialist who believes in the American Constitution. That is not possible. Communism cum socialism is an authoritarian doctrine. While the Constitution was enacted to limit the powers and authorities of the central government, Sanders believes that an elite governing leadership class must manipulate the levers of government as a specious public benefit based on a faux sense of noblesse oblige.
In supplementing his jobs-for-everyone scheme, Sanders even promotes the destructive doctrine of having the government, rather than the market, establish wage scales. Minimum wage legislation helps no one because the market will always rule over wages.
Setting a minimum wage will reduce employment and increase the costs of goods and services for all consumers. Proponents cite benefits for those working at the low end but do consider those who will lose their jobs or not be hired. They do not consider the fact that imposed minimum wages increase the benefit of automation and robotics.
Even the small percentage of those who may see a hike in the salaries will only enjoy a temporary benefit. To compensate for the cost of labor, employers will postpone future salary increases until the market recalibrates the real minimum wage based on both inflation and demand. In other words, the buying power of the increase in income disappears.
What Sanders is really talking about is shifting jobs from the private sector to the public sector with the promise of massive public works projects and free educations for all American – and even illegal aliens, for that matter.
As wrong and destructive as the Sanders’ racial socialist plan may be, there are apparently at least two senators willing to give it a go. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) expressed interest in the idea. In fact, Brooker has announced his Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act that would set up a three-year test in 15 communities. The question to Booker is: Why would we test a concept that has proven to be disastrously unsuccessful when it has been tested so many times in the past?
One can only hope that the Sanders’ concept and Booker’s legislation will slip quietly into the oblivion they so richly deserve.