Besides Bernie Sanders, the most notable “democratic socialist” is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was elected to an unprecedented four terms. Would today’s voters, transported in time to the Great Depression, have voted for FDR? Hell yes. Would voters in 1932, transported to 2016, vote for Bernie Sanders? Double hell yes. Why? Because they have the benefit of hindsight. They were saved by FDR’s socialist New Deal and second New Deal.
They got jobs and their dignity. It stopped worker abuse. They became economically secure. Their life savings in banks were protected. They could buy homes. With social security, seniors no longer perished in old age. FDR’s GI bill created the largest middle class the world has ever seen, resulting in the greatest and most prosperous country in the world.
The days when one provider with one job working 40 hours a week could own a home and support a family are but a faint memory. Why would anyone oppose restoring that aspect of yesteryear? The consciousness of who caused the Great Depression and how we emerged from has long been erased. The depression-era profligate and abusive practices of the rich has re-emerged, throwing American families into poverty, joblessness and debt once again.
This time the rich pit brother against brother to distract blame from themselves. Their greatest fear is the reincarnation of FDR in Bernie Sanders. Sanders wants to restore a vibrant middle class and carry on FDR’s unfulfilled dream of the Second Bill of Rights where every American has a good job, adequate wage, a decent living, medical care, economic protection during sickness, accident, old age or unemployment and a good education.
Socialist tagging isn’t sufficient, so the henchman have taken a new tack. They brand Bernie as being an idealist, impractical, and unpragmatic. He is giving away free stuff. It’s not affordable.
The greatest achievements in history start with idealism. Accepting impracticality is having a defeatist attitude. Where would we be if not for idealists like FDR and Lincoln? Where would America be technologically if not for visionaries like Apple’s Steve Jobs, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk rejecting impracticality?
Bernie plan includes rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, putting 13 million Americans to work. Free college for all who qualify and free vocational training for those choosing another track. An educated workforce not buried in debt makes America strong, as did FDR’s GI bill. Expanding and extending social security, preserving its current form without putting your social security at risk and making you work till you are 70. A youth jobs program employing 1 million teenagers. Protection from suddenly losing your private or public pension. The world is moving to renewable energy and Bernie wants America to lead that transformation.
He wants to protect workers in the coal, nuclear, and oil by funding their transition to energy jobs of the future. Medicare for all. It is cheaper to administer and reduces cost for the government, corporations and small business. Can we afford to do this? See for yourself at https://berniesanders.com/issues/how-bernie-pays-for-his-proposals/. A better question would be can we afford not to do it?
Bernie critics play on the American ethos that nothing is free and we must earn it. I agree, but they play that tune only when benefits accrue to the average American but remain silent when that largesse flows to the rich.
Let’s examine the largesse the rich and powerful have enjoyed freely for decades. Anytime a new sports stadium is built, the city pays most of it. Oil companies get California oil for free. Ranchers get grazing rights for a pittance. Banks borrow money from the Federal Reserve for practically 0% interest, do you?
The banks and Wall Street got bailed out, did you? Most companies pay no federal income taxes ( http://www.cbsnews.com/news/most-companies-pay-no-federal-income-tax/).
Decades of free stuff that businesses, Wall Street, corporations and the rich have gotten were paid for by us. It’s time we got something back. In keeping with the American ethos, we earned it.
They say with this recalcitrant Congress, Bernie couldn’t pass his plans. FDR’s fireside chats sold Americans on the New Deal. Bernie can do the same with the Second Bill of Rights. Congress will act or pay the consequences.
This is what makes America strong. This is the America we deserve. Learn about Bernie’s plan and platform at a Bernie Sanders forum 3-5 p.m., May 28, in the community room of the Oakhurst Branch Library. Watch for the event in the Sierra Star calendar section.