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Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Sanders’

Dems Change Mind On Border Wall After Realizing It Will Keep People From Leaving When We Switch To Socialism

Posted by M. C. on July 1, 2021

https://babylonbee.com/news/dems-change-mind-on-border-wall-after-realizing-it-could-be-used-to-keep-people-in-once-country-switches-to-socialism

U.S.—The nation’s Democratic leaders announced Tuesday they are reversing course on Trump’s proposed border wall, since “it will keep people in once we switch to socialism.”

“We thought the border wall was a bad, racist idea,” said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “But then this light bulb turned on over my head. It was actually just a light bulb though, not an actual idea, which was disappointing. But that got me thinking about trying to have an idea. And I got an idea: when we switch to socialism, everyone’s gonna try to run away. But what if there’s a big, solid object along the border? Then they can’t run away. I mean, they could try to climb, but we could shoot them.”

Senator Bernie Sanders said in his experience, walls are “absolutely necessary” to keep a socialist country’s citizens from fleeing. “The Soviets had it right: big wall in Berlin, the symbolic Iron Curtain, shooting people who try to flee. It’s all necessary to a healthy socialist state.” Besides, Sanders added, politicians like him would be exempt from the “no running away” rule and he could fly out any time he wanted on a government plane.

Dems suggested maybe the border wall could use some upgrades such as landmines on the U.S. side, outposts with guards armed with AK-47s, and attack dogs. It will also need to be extended to surround the entire country and “maybe also a big dome around the top.”

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Why Biden Wants a Cap on State and Local Tax Deductions | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 22, 2021

The deduction was introduced to avoid federal encroachment on state and local tax prerogatives and, equally important, to avoid double taxation. The question that still needs to be answered is whether it is morally okay to tax income that isn’t really income at all, but funds that must be paid toward state and local taxes. Sure, progressives, socialists, and communists would like to take away as much money as possible from the rich, but it is problematic, to say the least, to tax income that is not even in the hand of a taxpayer anymore. That is, taxing funds already taken by state and local authorities is essentially taxing hypothetical income and earnings. This would be similar to taxing the paper value of an investment portfolio value instead of the realized gain from the sale of an investment.

https://mises.org/wire/why-biden-wants-cap-state-and-local-tax-deductions

Georg Grassmueck

When the Trump administration pushed capping the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), the plan was billed as a way to punish Democrats in high-tax states. But the move also increased federal revenues by as much as $100 billion. Now the Biden administration is showing little enthusiasm for undoing Trump’s cap. The cap means more federal revenues to help pay for Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Nonetheless, Democrats in high-tax states like California, New Jersey, and New York are now threatening to hold up President Joe Biden’s plan in the hope of eliminating the cap on the SALT deduction. The SALT deduction divides the Democratic Party between socialist activists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who oppose the repealing of the SALT deduction as a “gift to billionaires,” and other representatives of New York and New Jersey, who want an elimination of the cap. However, in the debate on whether SALT is a tax break for the rich or a lifeline for middle-class families in high-tax states, most politicians forget that a tax takes away money from an individual regardless of income. The cap on the SALT deduction also essentially paves the way for the federal government to tax income twice. 

The SALT tax deduction allows state and local taxes—like property taxes—to be deducted from federal taxes. State and local taxes and other taxes have been deductible since the inception of the federal income tax in 1913 to avoid federal encroachment on state tax prerogatives and to allow the federal government to tax income that has already been confiscated via taxation by more local levels of government. Changes in 1964, 1978, 1986, and 2004 have mostly taken away the ability to deduct certain state and local taxes, with the exception of the 2004 change, which reinstated the original ability to deduct sales taxes. However, the biggest change came in 2017, when the SALT deduction was capped at $10,000 under President Trump’s tax reform bill. However, that provision in the law is scheduled to expire after 2025.

Unfortunately, many conservatives argue in favor of the cap and claim that the SALT deduction benefits higher-tax states like New York, New Jersey, and California at the cost of those living in lower-tax states like Texas, New Hampshire, and South Dakota. The Tax Policy Center provides a good overview of who claims the SALT deduction and its effects. Similarly, the Tax Foundation provides an overview of benefactors of a SALT deduction and its consequences. Politicians use this discrepancy in impact to justify the elimination of the deduction on the grounds that it is an unfair subsidy to high-tax states.

However, most analysts seem to look at the consequences of the SALT deduction without looking at the reason for the SALT deduction: state and local taxes. Whatever one might think about the original federal income tax, at the least the original federal income tax statutes in 1913 answered two questions about the deductibility of state and local taxes quite clearly. The deduction was introduced to avoid federal encroachment on state and local tax prerogatives and, equally important, to avoid double taxation. The question that still needs to be answered is whether it is morally okay to tax income that isn’t really income at all, but funds that must be paid toward state and local taxes. Sure, progressives, socialists, and communists would like to take away as much money as possible from the rich, but it is problematic, to say the least, to tax income that is not even in the hand of a taxpayer anymore. That is, taxing funds already taken by state and local authorities is essentially taxing hypothetical income and earnings. This would be similar to taxing the paper value of an investment portfolio value instead of the realized gain from the sale of an investment.

The second argument for eliminating the cap on the SALT is that the cap grows the role of the federal government at the expense of more local levels of government. In other words, the SALT deduction lowers the amount of income to be taxed by the federal government, while imposing a limit on the SALT deduction is to increase federal revenue.

This is especially problematic, since federal taxes are already a major part of households’ overall tax burden. Moreover, federal taxation is less likely to go to services that taxpayers might actually use, such as highways. Federal spending mostly goes to welfare programs. Keeping the cap on the SALT deduction actually increases federal tax revenue and decreases decentralization. More importantly, any increase in federal taxes reduces the ability for taxpayers to “vote with their feet,” leaving high-tax states and localities for lower taxes in another state or locality. (See this article by Ryan McMaken.)

Some advocates for keeping the deduction cap—but who also claim to be for low taxation—argue that by exposing taxpayers in high-tax states to higher levels of taxation, taxpayers would finally come to their senses and revolt against state taxation. This is essentially a “do evil that good may come of it” argument. This is an odd position to take for anyone claiming to oppose government power and taxation.

The debate on the SALT deduction needs to be rephrased as a debate on the morality of taxing unrealized income. In addition, it is important to consider the repercussions of handing over more taxing authority to the federal government. While the uncapped SALT deduction reduced tax revenue by about $100 billion a year, President Biden has kept the limit on the SALT deduction because it will increase federal tax revenue to pay for his ambitious spending agenda. His keeping the SALT deduction exposes President Biden’s real agenda and ethics. President Biden does not care about the morality of taxing income twice, he likes the idea of more tax revenue at the cost of ethics and transferring more power and more money to the federal government. Author:

Georg Grassmueck

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Bernie Sanders’s case for raising the minimum wage falls apart – American Thinker

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2021

Bernie doesn’t seem to realize that before the advent of this vicious legislation, in the 1930s, the unemployment rate of whites and blacks, youngsters and the middle-aged was about equal; all were within a few points of each other.  But due to the minimum wage law, the unemployment rate of teens is double that of adults, and blacks suffer twice the rate of unemployment of whites.  Black young people suffer from quadruple the unemployment rate of middle-aged whites!

Why is this?  It is due to the fact that wages are not determined by employer generosity, as socialists like Bernie seem to believe.  Rather, these levels are predicated upon productivity.  LeBron James earns a large remuneration not because the Lakers are nice guys.  The person who pushes a broom or washes dishes is at the bottom of the economic pyramid not due to skinflint bosses.  Those just starting out in the labor force have lower productivity than others with more experience.  The point is that black teens are priced out of the market by this malicious legislation Sanders is supporting.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/04/bernie_sanderss_case_for_raising_the_minimum_wage_falls_apart.html

By Walter E. Block

“[I]n my view, it all comes down to this.  Are you on the side of the working people in America who desperately need a raise?  Or are you on the side of the wealthy and the powerful who want to continue exploiting their workers and paying starvation wages?  It ain’t more complicated than that.”

This is a comment from my high school fellow track team buddy, the junior senator from Vermont.

Bernie Sanders is wrong; it is quite a bit more complicated than that.  If it were that simple, why, oh, why do advocates of this pernicious legislation merely call for a stinking, lousy, cheap-skatey $15 per hour?  Wouldn’t an hourly $25, or $50, or $150 show even more support for the working class?  The senator from Vermont is forever waxing eloquent about a “living wage.”  Surely these other figures are more “livable” than his $15!

But even with regard to that niggardly $15, Bernie says this: “I am offering an amendment today with Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Ron Wyden, and many others in this Chamber to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.”

But why gradually?  According to his lights, the poor are suffering, grievously, by presently being underpaid.  Why, oh, why do they have to wait until 2025 to be completely rescued?

Senator Sanders says: “Nobody in America can survive on $7.25 an hour, $9 an hour, or $12 an hour.  We need an economy in which all of our workers earn at least a living wage.”  How does he square this with his espoused gradualism?

If there were someone in need of a full dose of penicillin, Dr. B. Sanders would administer it to him right away, this minute.  He would not do it gradually, bit by bit, more each year until the full dose finally reached the patient in, of all years, 2025.  Enquiring minds want to know about this present postponement.

In Bernie’s recent Senate speech, he also said this: “For too long, Congress has responded to the needs of the wealthy and the powerful.  Now it is time to respond to the needs of working families — black and white, Latino, Native American[.]”

Bernie doesn’t seem to realize that before the advent of this vicious legislation, in the 1930s, the unemployment rate of whites and blacks, youngsters and the middle-aged was about equal; all were within a few points of each other.  But due to the minimum wage law, the unemployment rate of teens is double that of adults, and blacks suffer twice the rate of unemployment of whites.  Black young people suffer from quadruple the unemployment rate of middle-aged whites!

Why is this?  It is due to the fact that wages are not determined by employer generosity, as socialists like Bernie seem to believe.  Rather, these levels are predicated upon productivity.  LeBron James earns a large remuneration not because the Lakers are nice guys.  The person who pushes a broom or washes dishes is at the bottom of the economic pyramid not due to skinflint bosses.  Those just starting out in the labor force have lower productivity than others with more experience.  The point is that black teens are priced out of the market by this malicious legislation Sanders is supporting.

Suppose I were to pass a law saying black kids had to be paid at least $10,000 per hour.  Would I be doing them a favor?  Surely, people with even a modicum of common sense can see that none of them, ever, would be added to any payroll.

Bernie favors foreign aid to poor countries, right?  Why not end this on humane grounds and just tell them to institute, or raise, their minimum wage levels?  Evidently, he does not have all that much confidence in this nostrum of his.

All men of goodwill should use their best efforts not to raise the level of the federal minimum wage from its present $7.25, nor even to stand pat on this, nor even to lower it.  Instead, they should call for its total elimination.  At present, it ensures that those with productivity levels of less than that are forever unemployable.  Why would anyone pay this amount to someone with a productivity level of $5?  He’d lose $2.25!

Bernie has shown courage in not backing away from socialism when this policy was far less popular than at present and at calling for voting rights not only for ex-cons, but for those presently incarcerated.  He should show some moxie now!  His voice on this issue is so powerful that he alone can turn the tide and end the permanent unemployment of the least skillful in our society.

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“Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on March 24, 2021

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/tomorrow-it-could-be-somebody-else-bernie-sanders-comes-out-against-trump-twitter-ban

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Sen Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) came out against the Twitter ban of former president Donald Trump yesterday.  Sanders expressed his discomfort with the role of Big Tech in censorship viewpoints, a sharp departure from his Democratic colleagues who have demanded more such corporate censorship. In an interview on Tuesday with New York Times columnist Ezra Klein, Sanders stated that he didn’t feel “particularly comfortable” with the ban despite his view that Trump is “a racist, sexist, xenophobe, pathological liar, an authoritarian … a bad news guy.” He stated “if you’re asking me do I feel particularly comfortable that the then president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter? I don’t feel comfortable about that.”

I would hope that Sanders would take the same view of a non-sitting president or an average citizen. They should all be able to speak freely. Sanders does not go as far as that “Internet originalist” position, but he at least is recognizing the danger of such censorship. He noted that “we have got to be thinking about, because if anybody who thinks yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned and tomorrow it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view.” He stated that it is a danger to have a “handful of high tech people” controlling speech in America.

I have long praised Sanders for his principled take on many issues and this dissenting view is most welcomed by those in the free speech community. It is in sharp contrast to his Democratic colleagues who celebrated the ban and called for more censorship. One of the leading voices of censorship in the Senate is Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) chastised Big Tech for waiting so long to issue such bans: “The question isn’t why Facebook & Twitter acted, it’s what took so long & why haven’t others?”

As we have previously discussed, Democrats have abandoned long-held free speech values in favor of corporate censorship. They clearly has a different “comfort zone” than Sanders.  What discomforts many Democratic members is the ability of people to speak freely on these platforms and spread what they view as “disinformation.”

When Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey came before the Senate to apologize for blocking the Hunter Biden story before the election as a mistake, senators pressed him and other Big Tech executive for more censorship.

In that hearing, members like Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., HI) pressed witnesses like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey for assurance that Trump would remain barred from speaking on their platforms: “What are both of you prepared to do regarding Donald Trump’s use of your platforms after he stops being president, will be still be deemed newsworthy and will he still be able to use your platforms to spread misinformation?”

Rather than addressing the dangers of such censoring of news accounts, Senator Chris Coons pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter, admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

“Robust content modification” has a certain appeal, like a type of software upgrade. It is not content modification. It is censorship. If our representatives are going to crackdown on free speech, they should admit to being advocates for censorship. Indeed, leading academics had the integrity recently to declare that they believe that “China is right” about censorship.

Sanders clearly does not believe “China was right,” as least as it applies to a sitting president. Hopefully, Sanders will continue to speak out on free speech and expand on this principled stand to oppose the unrelenting push from Blumenthal and others for corporate controls over speech on the Internet.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Why forgiving student debt is a bad idea

Posted by M. C. on November 30, 2020

About once a year Jonah comes up with a winner. Of course he neglected to mention one of the main causes for increased debt. Increased tuition due to to easy Fed loan money. Easy money lets schools jack prices and pay for ever increasing admin positions, safe rooms and worthless (no real world job possibilities except teaching it again) PC approved majors.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=20d7666bc

One good rule of thumb is to judge parties and politicians by their priorities. Politicians often pretend to be for every good thing under the sun, so the best way to judge them is to look at which things they actually work to achieve or spend political capital on. This will tell you not only what they’re really for, but which constituents they really care about.

By that metric, it will be very revealing if one of Joe Biden’s first actions as president will be to forgive student debt.

That’s an idea swirling around Democratic circles — particularly among the progressive base, which is worried that Biden might actually mean all that centrist and moderate stuff he said during the campaign. The base turned out for Biden, and now they want their pay-off — literally so, in the case of massive debt forgiveness.

Last week, a coalition of 236 progressive groups led by teachers unions called on Biden to cancel student debt on his first days at the office. Biden himself has already urged Congress to cancel $10,000 as part of a pandemic relief package.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have called for even greater debt forgiveness. Sanders’ plan would cost an estimated $1.6 trillion dollars.

I think it’s a bad policy, and bad politics.

Let’s start with the policy: As economists on the left and right will tell you, the economic cratering caused by the pandemic is not like a typical recession. In normal times, bailing out failing businesses is a bad idea because, among other things, it creates what economists call “moral hazard” — incentivizing bad decisions people make when they think someone else (i.e. taxpayers) will pick up the tab.

A restaurant that was profitable before COVID-19 hit did nothing wrong. Trying to keep such businesses, and their employees afloat during the pandemic, which Washington did on a bipartisan basis, was a good idea.

Proponents of loan forgiveness are claiming this is just like that. Well, before the pandemic no one was calling for a mass bailout of small businesses, but lots of progressives were calling for student debt cancellation. In other words, they think the pandemic is a crisis that shouldn’t go to waste.

That doesn’t automatically mean they’re wrong, but it doesn’t make them right either. Student loan forgiveness, even according to formulae that exclude the very well-off, has very few broader economic benefits. As Jason Furman (Barack Obama’s chair for the Council of Economic Advisors) notes, debt forgiveness would be taxable — which would cut into any stimulative effect on the economy.

Think about it this way: If you only have $1.5 trillion to spend, what policy would help the most people actually struggling right now? I don’t think cancelling student loans would rank in the top 20.

Which brings me to the politics. Most Americans, especially most poor Americans, don’t have student debt, because most of them didn’t go to college in the first place. Moreover, most people who did go to college have no or very little student debt.

According to the liberalleaning Brookings Institution, roughly 30% of undergrads have none.

Another 25% have up to $20,000 in loans. Despite what you may have heard about the student debt crisis, only 6% of borrowers owe more than $100,000. Virtually all of them borrowed so much because they attended graduate school.

You can argue that people who choose to get graduate degrees — including many young doctors, lawyers and engineers in training — deserve relief. But do they deserve help more than truck drivers, mechanics or short-order cooks?

Heck, do they deserve relief more than the doctors, lawyers and engineers who chose to pay off their loans?

One reason teachers unions — a huge source of donations and political organizing for the Democratic Party — want loan forgiveness is that teachers and administrators can boost their pay by going back to school to get advanced degrees. Other municipal and federal workers — another major constituency for Democrats — have similar rules.

Whether or not you think that’s a good overall policy (I don’t), using the pandemic as an excuse to reward workers who are far less likely to lose their jobs and more likely to find new employment if they do, seems awfully self-serving.

The popularity of this idea stems from the fact that the Democratic Party has increasingly become the party of educated professionals, as the GOP has become more working-class. Lots of poor people are still Democrats, but they aren’t a major source of power within the party — the bureaucrats claiming to speak for them are. And that’s who Democrats are prioritizing.

Jonah Goldberg is editorin- chief of The Dispatch and the host of The Remnant podcast. His Twitter handle is @JonahDispatch.

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Rent Control Is Nuts – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2020

And according to Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist, “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing.” Almost as a follow up, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach averred: “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by the very low rents.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/05/walter-e-block/rent-control/

By

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th District) has called for nation-wide rent control. AOC’s plan is to not allow rent increases larger than 3% per year. This is somewhat surprising, given that she majored in economics at prestigious Boston University. I – along with virtually every other economics professor in the country — am always at great pains to present in my introductory to micro-economics courses the familiar supply and demand diagram. It demonstrates that rents below equilibrium levels create shortages. I suppose she missed that lecture. If so, she really should have obtained the class notes from someone else, and/or perused her introductory textbook.

Senator Bernie Sanders has, if anything, done her one better: he is calling for a national rent control policy. California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law a policy along similar lines: rent increases shall be limited to 5% annually, in addition to any inflationary increases; this is coupled with making it more difficult to evict tenants.

Present New York City policy is very much in keeping with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan. It has recently worsened its previous rather Draconian rent control legislation. The presumed aim is to help tenants. But, there is something in economics called “unintended consequences.” Translation: “the plans of mice and men often go astray.”

Suppose, instead of exacerbating its rent control regulations, that the city council of this great city had tried this sort of thing with a different consumer good. Suppose the Big Apple had passed a law placing a ceiling of $1 on a fast food meal.The obvious result would be that McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and their ilk would pretty much vacate the entire city. Posit that the city council mandated that gas stations charge no more than $1 per gallon. A similar result would ensue. Denizens of the New York City would be greatly inconvenienced.

Mr. DeBlasio would never institute any such ridiculous initiative. He would be laughed out of office if he did. Why, then, does the mayor think he can get away with inculcating analogous rules for residential real estate? This is because while burger and gas emporiums can easily locate elsewhere, the same is not true for buildings. If the owners had their ‘druthers, and this were economically and legally possible, they would hoist their real estate holdings upon onto giant wheeled vehicles, and roll them out of the city as soon as possible. New York City would then have no more accommodation for tenants than it would have fast food outlets or gas stations, under our hypothetical contrary to fact scenarios.

Of course, landlords can do no such thing, much as they would like to; heck, they would give their eye teeth to be able to cock a snook at the politicians in this manner.

But this inability of landlords does not mean that rent controls have no adverse effects upon local residents. They can certainly build less new capacity than would otherwise be the case. They may be legally compelled to upkeep and maintain presently existing apartments, but they will do so only reluctantly. “The customer is always right” which prevails in most industries, and will continue to do so for commercial and industrial real estate, which lack such unwise price controls, but will not apply to residential units. They will fight like the dickens to convert their holdings to condominiums and cooperatives. They will have incentives to – how can I put this delicately – not to be too unhappy if their buildings accidentally catch fire. Do we really want to promote such incentives, whether or not they actually become implemented?

Vacancy rates will plummet even further, with these new dispensations. This will have negative repercussions on labor mobility, when occupants fear to give up their rent controlled units. There will be a tendency to convert apartments to stores, to industrial and commercial uses. New laws will have to be enacted to prevent this, and will not be totally successful. Landlord – tenant relations will plummet even further (not of course for non-controlled, non-residential units.) New York City already has special courts charged with solving these confrontations. This is something not at all needed in any other industry. These costs are substantial, and the money misallocated in this direction could have been far more wisely spent.

The economics profession is not unified on too many issues, but this one is an exception. Opposition to rent control stretches all the way from Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek on one stretch of the political spectrum, to several scholars on the very opposite side. For example, in the view of Nobel Prize winner in economics Gunner Myrdal, “Rent control has in certain western countries constituted, maybe, the worst example of poor planning by governments lacking courage and vision.” And according to Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist, “In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city except for bombing.” Almost as a follow up, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach averred: “The Americans couldn’t destroy Hanoi, but we have destroyed our city by the very low rents.”

It is urged in favor of this policy that tenants are poorer than property owners, and, often, are compelled to spend an inordinate percentage of their salaries on rent. But, with fewer buildings being constructed, and more of them falling into disarray due to reduced maintenance, upward pressure on rent levels, paradoxically, will tend to be the result. It is an economic truism that the less supply, other things equal, the higher the price. There are no exceptions for housing, or based on the fact that this expenditure plays a large role in the budgets of poor and middle class householders.

In any case, we do not single out textile manufacturers and insist they alone help clothe the impoverished, that only grocers and restaurants feed them, that automobile, air conditioner and television purveyors all on their own make these products available to those who cannot afford them. All of these income transfers come out of general funds. I do not at all favor any of these policies, but fair is fair. Why should housing be any different? Why should landlords, alone, have to bear the entire burden of housing the poor?

Not only should these latest violations of private property rights be rescinded, but the entire notion that rent control can alleviate housing shortages and high fees should be confined to the dust bin not only of history, but of economics too. From a legal point of view, this is a taking. Landlords should be compensated for this seizure of the (value of) their property.

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The Libertarian Case for Bernie – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2020

Sanders may have 3 admirable qualities but only foreign policy is anything close to being Libertarian.

No libertarian can support Bernie’s economic policy. Socialism will cost our country hundreds of billions in terms of lost productivity. But his foreign policy prescriptions will likely save trillions. Not only in the cost of weapons, but also in terms of lives saved.

Considering the choices we are allowed, you gotta take what you can get.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/walter-e-block/1293-63-the-libertarian-case-for-bernie/

By

There are several reasons for my stance.

1. Courage

Bernie has the courage of his convictions, something not all that prevalent amongst our politicians. He has never “run away from” any of his heartfelt principles. He didn’t “run away from” the economic philosophy of Socialism, in 2016 and before, when it was far less acceptable than it is now, thanks in no small part to his own advocacy of this system. He never “ran away from” his backing, not for allowing ex-convicts to vote in elections, but also prisoners now incarcerated, despite the extreme unpopularity of this viewpoint. Nor has he shrunk from his positions on any number of other issues which are extremely out of favor in many quarters: abortion, taxing the wealthy, labor unions, $15 minimum wage, Medicare for all, free college tuition, etc. Senator Sanders knows full well that if he garners the Democratic nomination he will have to face an electorate a large part of which vociferously disagrees with him on these issues. Does he pull his punches? To ask this to answer it: of course not.

In fact, I can think of only one thing, well, person, from whom he does indeed “run away from”: me. We were both members of Brooklyn’s James Madison High School track team a few decades ago and ran in the same long distance events. Senator Sanders was one of the best track athletes in the entire city at the time, I was a mediocre runner. We both began every race at the same starting line, but when the gun sounded, he soon “ran away from” me.

2. Desert

I don’t say my old buddy Bernie deserves to become President of the United States.  But he certainly warrants the nomination of the Democratic Party. Why? In a word: Hillary. The leaders of this party in the 2015 run-off pressed their big fat thumbs on the balance wheel of justice in her favor until they blistered. If Bernie had enjoyed fair treatment in this nomination race, he might well have beaten Hillary. In the event, she won, but there will always be an asterisk placed next to her victory in this regard. Fair is fair. If there are any reparations for this unseemly practice, it would be to award Bernie the nomination.

3. Foreign policy

Of all the major candidates, Bernie has by far the best policies in terms of U.S. relations with other countries. Everyone else acts almost as if you don’t want to risk a nuclear exchange with Russia, you are practically an agent of that nation. Not Bernie. This Vermont Senator has also

. voted to end U.S. funding for the Saudi war in Yemen

. voted to decrease U.S. military aid to Israel

. inveighed against U.S. efforts to topple the Maduro regime in Venezuela

. come out against our “long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries

Speaking in 2017 at Westminster College, he opposed U.S. interventions in Iran, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Vietnam. He advocated adopting a policy predicated on “partnership rather than dominance.” He challenged the notion of “American exceptionalism.”

Here’s Bernie on Hillary: “I do question her judgement. I question a judgement which voted for the war in Iraq; the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of the country.”

More from Bernie on this crucially important issue:

. “A sensible effective foreign policy recognizes that our safety and welfare is bound up with the safety and welfare of others around the world.”

. “Every person on this planet shares a common humanity. We all want our children to … live in peace.”

He descried

. “… almost 7,000 young Americans being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and tens of thousands coming home wounded in body and spirit from a war we should never have started.”

. “… hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan dying in the same war.”

. The fact that “… we already spend more on defense than the next 12 nations combined…”

He supported Eisenhower’s warning about the takeover of the “military industrial complex.”

Bernie is not a radical libertarian on this issue. He favors the United Nations. My old high school buddy never quite calls for bringing all the U.S. troops home, every last one of them, but of all the major Democratic contenders, he is clearly closest to the libertarian ideal of non-interventionism, anti-colonialism, opposition to imperialism. The U.S. has almost 700 military bases in almost 130 foreign nations. The Vermont senator would sharply move us in the direction of sanity.

4. Economics

No libertarian can support Bernie’s economic policy. Socialism will cost our country hundreds of billions in terms of lost productivity. But his foreign policy prescriptions will likely save trillions. Not only in the cost of weapons, but also in terms of lives saved.

Go, Bernie! Well, compared to Biden, in any case.

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Socialism’s Past – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/walter-e-williams/socialisms-past/

By

Senator Bernie Sanders’ call for socialism has resonated among many Americans, particularly young Americans. They’ve fallen prey to the idea of a paradise here on Earth where things are free and there’s little want. But socialists never reveal what turns out to be their true agenda. Let’s look at the kind of statements they used to gain power. You’ll note that all of their slogans before gaining power bore little relation to the facts after they had power.

Vladimir Lenin promised, “Under socialism all will govern in turn and will soon become accustomed to no one governing.” That’s Friedrich Engel’s prediction about “the withering away of the state.” Lenin also promised, “Communism is Soviet power plus electrification,” and “No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses.” Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, said, “Advance towards socialism cannot but cause the exploiting elements to resist the advance, and the resistance of the exploiters cannot but lead to the inevitable sharpening of the class struggle.” He also said, “Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union,” and that “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.”

Then there’s China’s Chairman Mao Zedong, who said: “Socialism must be developed in China, and the route toward such an end is a democratic revolution, which will enable socialist and communist consolidation over a length of time. It is also important to unite with the middle peasants, and educate them on the failings of capitalism.” Mao advised: “A communist must be selfless, with the interests of the masses at heart. He must also possess a largeness of mind, as well as a practical, far-sighted mindset.”

Cuban dictator Fidel Castro said: “Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the morality, nor the ethics to solve the problems of poverty. We must establish a new world order based on justice, on equity, and on peace.” He added, “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating… because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.”

Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez promised: “I am going to do my best to try to create a country in which children are not living in poverty, in which kids can go to college, in which old people have health care. Will I succeed? I can’t guarantee you that, but I can tell you that from a human point of view it is better to show up than to give up.” Adding, “I am convinced that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism, the path is socialism.”

His successor Nicolas Maduro said: “Fidel Castro represents the dignity of the South American continent against empires. He’s a living legend: an icon of independence and freedom across the continent.”

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants. Sanders says, “Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America,” and “We need to change the power structure in America, we need to end the political oligarchy.”

Stalin’s campaign didn’t mention that he would enact policies that would lead to the slaughter of 62 million people in the Soviet Union between 1917 to 1987. Mao Zedong didn’t mention that his People’s Republic of China would engage in brutal acts that would lead to the loss of 76 million lives at the hands of the government from 1949 to 1987. The late Professor Rudolph J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documented this tragedy in his book “Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900.”

Because socialism is a fight against basic human nature, it requires brute force in the attempt to reach its goals. The best warning about socialism comes from Aesop, who said, “Those who voluntarily put power into the hands of a tyrant … must not wonder if it be at last turned against themselves.” We shouldn’t ignore Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

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The Criminality of the Democratic Party. DNC Maneuvers to Derail Bernie Sanders – Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

The other side of the same dirty coin that stole Ron Paul votes.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/criminality-democratic-party/5705869

By Donald Monaco

The utter and complete corruption of the Democratic Party is on full display as the DNC desperately maneuvers to derail the insurgent candidacy of Bernie Sanders by denying him a majority of delegates to the July convention in Minneapolis.  Winning a mere plurality of votes in primary elections will deny Sanders a first ballot nomination and allow the DNC to use their super-delegates to support the conventional candidate, Joe Biden, on a second ballot.

Hillary Clinton and the DNC already conspired to successfully deny Sanders the nomination in 2016.  The mere fact that the party installed super-delegates after the factious anti-war candidacy of George McGovern in 1972 should sufficiently illustrate the party hierarchy’s contempt for democracy.

The opposition of the political establishment to the Sanders’ campaign stems from its programmatic support for a rabid neoliberal agenda against the Senator’s proposed New Deal liberal reforms.  The Democrats have been moving to the right in American politics for the past three decades and have no desire to reverse course.

Beginning with the Clinton presidency and continuing throughout the Obama regime, the Democratic Party initiated a new Cold War with Russia, imposed neoliberal economics globally, abandoned class politics for identity politics, deregulated the financial industry and the media, bailed out Wall Street at the expense of main street and presided along with the Republicans, over the greatest transfer of wealth to the top 1% of the population in American history.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party is viewed by many of its supporters as a ‘lesser evil’ than the Republicans. Furthermore, in this election season, Trump and the Republicans are so terrible, the thinking goes, that anybody the Democrats nominate will be a better president than the orange billionaire.

Prior to evaluating these assumptions, a little lesson in political history is in order.  To begin, it is important to identify the class nature of the Democratic Party and to illustrate its principal functions in American and international affairs.

The Democratic Party is one of the two partner parties of American capitalism.  As with the Republicans, it is primarily financed by the corporate rich and represents their class interests.  The policies it implements are cohered within a vast policy formulation network of foundations, think tanks and policy discussion groups that have been set up for the purpose of legitimizing the policy choices of the corporate community and its military industrial security complex.

Since the Great Depression, one of the major functions of the Democratic Party has been to diffuse popular discontent by advocating concessionary policies in times of social unrest.

Exaggerated wealth concentration and financial speculation during the 1920’s led straight away to the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  Worker militancy, mass industry wide unionization, sit-down strikes, secondary boycotts, factory occupations and pitched battles with the police brought Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of 1935 along with the Wagner Act, the Magna Carta of the labor movement that same year.

Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr

Institutional racism, legal segregation, violent social repression, urban ghettoization and systemic police brutality resulted in the emergence of a civil rights movement and black liberation struggle that organized bus boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience, pickets, urban rebellions, armed self-defense and a mass march on Washington that produced Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Fair Housing Act of 1968 and War on Poverty in 1965.

A genocidal war in Vietnam, a compulsory military draft and staggering American casualties in that war generated an anti-war movement whose tactics included the burning of draft cards, mass marches on the Pentagon, campus rebellion, student strikes and a radical resistance that involved the bombing of government targets undertaken in solidarity with the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people.  These struggles brought forth the anti-war candidacies of Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy.  Their entry into the presidential race of 1968 led to the decision of the war’s chief proponent, Lyndon Johnson, not to seek a second term as president.  Johnson’s decision signaled the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in the war as his successor, Richard Nixon, was compelled to promise an end to the war so he could secure his election victory over Johnson’s Vice-President and war advocate, Hubert Humphrey.  Nixon subsequently began troop withdraws and ‘Vietnamization” of a conflict that was subsequently abandoned along with the military draft in 1973.

In short, the Democrats operate as the shock absorber of American capitalism whose main function is to diffuse, absorb and co-opt social opposition and political dissent during times of upheaval caused by economic and social crisis.

A corollary function of the Democratic Party is to periodically impose domestic political repression on various sectors of the American population that refuse to be co-opted in defense of a persistently rapacious capitalistic and virulently racist social order.  In this respect, the Democrats alternate with the Republicans when it becomes necessary to quash incipient rebellion.

Woodrow Wilson’s administration produced the Sedition Act of 1917, Espionage Act of 1918 and Palmer Raids of 1919, 1920 initiating the first Red Scare; Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated FBI investigations of the Communist Party for domestic subversion in 1936 and ordered the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942;

Harry Truman mandated loyalty oaths, signed the National Security Act creating the National Security Council and the CIA, signed the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act and began the second Red Scare in 1947;

John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson continued the murderous FBI COINTELPRO program begun in 1956 during their tenure in office from 1961-1968; Johnson declared a ‘War on Crime’ in 1965 integrating the federal government with local law enforcement;

Bill Clinton’s administration produced the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 resulting in the exponential growth of mass incarceration, a militarized police force, accelerated executions on death row and the evisceration of civil liberties;

Clinton’s Justice Department under Attorney General Janet Reno organized the deadly ATF/FBI/military raid on the compound of Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993;

Barak Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act in 2012, section 1021 of which effectively terminated habeas corpus, defended the NSA’s Prism program of mass surveillance in 2013 and used the Espionage Act to indict whistleblowers from 2010-2012; the majority of Congressional Democrats supported the Patriot Act from 2001-2020 further eroding civil liberties.

Internationally, the Democrats along with their Republican cohorts have conducted wars, instigated covert interventions and imposed political repression in countries around the world as part of their defense of global capitalism and corporate hegemony under the pretexts of fighting communism, interdicting terrorism and making the world safe for democracy and human rights.

Wilson invaded Haiti in 1915 and brought the United States into World War I in 1916; FDR entered World War II in 1941;

Truman dropped Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, intervened in Greece thus beginning the Cold War in 1947, recognized Israel in 1948 and started the Korean War in 1950;

Kennedy unleashed the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion and Operation Mongoose in Cuba along with implementing the doctrine of counter-insurgency in Asia and Latin America in 1961;

Johnson backed a coup d’état in Brazil in 1964, escalated the Vietnam War and invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965; Carter endorsed the CIA’s Operation Cyclone that armed the Islamic Mujahideen in Afghanistan in 1979 and supported repressive governments in Zaire, Angola, East Timor, Guatemala and El Salvador from 1977-1980;

Clinton enforced sanctions on Iraq from 1993-2001 killing one and a half million Iraqi civilians, bombed Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 and bombed Yugoslavia in 1999;

Obama presided over coup d’états in Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2014, bombed Libya in 2011, waged proxy war in Syria in 2012, imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014 and conducted drone warfare across the Middle East and North Africa.

A cursory examination of the foregoing political history reveals that the Democratic Party, no less so than its Republican counterpart, represents the interests of the American corporate plutocracy not the American people.

The idea that the Democrats are a ‘lesser evil’ is pure fiction.  The belief that a ‘political revolution’ can be waged from within the Democratic Party is an illusion.

The Democrats are a party of criminals.  They are a war party.  They serve Wall Street.  A vote for the Democrats is a vote for American imperialism, an empire that has committed crimes against humanity too vast to comprehend.

Likewise for the Republicans.  The American political class should not be supported or respected.  It should be imprisoned.  But that would take a genuine ‘political revolution’ to accomplish.

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Rights Versus Wishes – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2020

Let’s apply this bogus concept of rights to my right to speak and travel freely. In the case of my right to free speech, it might impose obligations on others to supply me with an auditorium, microphone and audience. It may require newspapers or television stations to allow me to use their property to express my views. My right to travel freely might require that others provide me with resources to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations.

When God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that He did not mean, “Thou shalt not steal — unless there is a majority vote in the U.S. Congress.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/03/walter-e-williams/rights-versus-wishes/

By

Sen. Bernie Sanders said: “I believe that health care is a right of all people.” He’s not alone in that contention. That claim comes from Democrats and Republicans and liberals and conservatives. It is not just a health care right that people claim. There are “rights” to decent housing, decent food, a decent job and prescription drugs. In a free and moral society, do people have these rights? Let’s begin by asking ourselves: What is a right?

In the standard usage of the term, a “right” is something that exists simultaneously among people. In the case of our U.S. Constitutional decree, we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our individual right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness imposes no obligation upon another other than the duty of noninterference.

As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess simultaneously. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. Again, that right imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference.

Sanders’ claim that health care is a right does impose obligations upon others. We see that by recognizing that there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy who gives resources to government to pay for medical services. Moreover, the money does not come from congressmen and state legislators reaching into their own pockets to pay for the service. That means that in order for government to provide medical services to someone who cannot afford it, it must use intimidation, threats and coercion to take the earnings of another American to provide that service.

Let’s apply this bogus concept of rights to my right to speak and travel freely. In the case of my right to free speech, it might impose obligations on others to supply me with an auditorium, microphone and audience. It may require newspapers or television stations to allow me to use their property to express my views. My right to travel freely might require that others provide me with resources to purchase airplane tickets and hotel accommodations. What if I were to demand that others make sacrifices so that I can exercise my free speech and travel rights, I suspect that most Americans would say, “Williams, you have rights to free speech and you have a right to travel freely, but I’m not obligated to pay for them!”

A moral vision of rights does not mean that we should not help our fellow man in need. It means that helping with health care needs to be voluntary (i.e., free market decisions or voluntary donations to charities that provide health care.) The government’s role in health care is to protect this individual right to choose. As Senator Rand Paul was brave enough to say, “The basic assumption that you have a right to get something from somebody else means you have to endorse the concept of theft.”

Statists go further to claim that people have a “right” to housing, to a job, to an education, to an affordable wage. These so-called rights impose burdens on others in the form of involuntary servitude. If one person has a right to something he did not earn, it means that another person does not have a right to something he did earn.

The provision by the U.S. Congress of a so-called right to health care should offend any sense of moral decency. If you’re a Christian or a Jew, you should be against the notion of one American living at the expense of another. When God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment — “Thou shalt not steal” — I am sure that He did not mean, “Thou shalt not steal — unless there is a majority vote in the U.S. Congress.”

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