As I have mentioned before here at this place, I admire the passion and dedication of him and his supporters. However, their doctrine, their philosophy, whatever you want to call it, is founded upon a considerable amount of errors.
And his opponents resort always to just saying, rather arrogantly, “he doesn’t understand economics” or “needs to buy an economics textbook” and saying nothing more. While that’s quite true, we cannot just leave it at that – we need to pinpoint and elaborate where the errors begin. Such is what I intend to do in this article, albeit briefly.
The doctrine of Sanders can be summed up thus:
- Healthcare is a right
- University education is a right
- Ensure 12 week family leave, paid vacation and sick days
- Place a tax upon emissions
- Equal “rights” for all
- Development of renewable energy
- Equal wages
- Raising the minimum wage
- Rebuild infrastructure
Is that all? Well, there are some others, but this is enough to discuss here. (I hope that those that are Sanders supporters will read these thoughts and consider them.)
Much of this doctrine comes down to granting citizens more “rights.”
So first, we must ask a most basic question: what is a right?
An immense question! Still, no need to dig out Locke, as it can be answered simply: it is that which all of mankind is entitled to, simply by virtue of being human.
We have the right to life, liberty, and our personal property simply because we are human; and the mutual recognition of these rights are essential for the continuance of human society.
Rights are typically that which can be had by everyone, with no expense to anyone. The right you have to your life, your liberty, and your property cost me nothing. Your right to exercise free speech or religion costs me nothing. We know these are rights because you and I can exercise them without expense or inconvenience to anyone.
But when we begin speaking of the right to healthcare and education, we cannot consider those things to be rights because, necessarily, in order for them to be universal public services, they cost someone something. And you can say that it is really an inexpensive proposition, that it is cheaper than all the senseless wars, and so on – while you have a point, it still does not change the fact that it just cannot be considered a “right.”
If a population gets together and decides that a certain deprivation, a certain increase in taxes is in order to bring medical care or an education to people, very well; but that would take the form of a privilege, and not a right.
While healthcare is a topic too complicated to get into here, I will say a few words as to education.
Nearly everyone has a high school diploma; high school is something that politicians long ago determined should be available to all (and perhaps mandated). As a result, a high school diploma, while an important step-stone along the path of a successful life is, by itself, meaningless. It is worthless because everyone has one; even an associates degree doesn’t mean a whole lot by itself these days. So when nearly everyone has a bachelor’s degree, what will the result be? Universal employment? No – the bachelor’s degree will become worthless.
Because the problem is not a matter of education, as relates to the job market. No, the problem, like all other legitimate problems, are economic in nature. There not being enough jobs won’t be solved by increased education, the lack of jobs will still persist. Thus, our focus is misplaced.
When there is a limited amount of jobs, and an excess quantity of labor, we should not be surprised when wages are diminished as a result, nor should we be surprised when employers are not compelled to offer stronger benefits such as family or vacation time. This, too, is a result of a bad economy, one that has not been improved much by the Bush or Obama policies (which were really the same). But to compel employers to offer such benefits by force of the law is an economic injustice and will ultimately be another cost to be borne by the consumer.
Likewise with the minimum wage. The market is able to effectively set the prices of commodities based on supply, demand, and other factors. Labor, too, is simply a commodity – only the government has arbitrarily set a true price floor, declaring all units of labor valued under $7.25 illegal. Now, they wish to increase that price floor to $15.00 an hour? We have to understand, whether it is a livable wage or not, that some units of labor just are not worth $15 an hour to employers.
What a lengthy article this is becoming! I ask you kindly, to continue reading.
It has become fashionable to demand that equal rights be extended to persons of all races, sexualities, and genders. What rights do they mean? Seldom do they go into detail. Already each of them has right to their life, liberty, and property guaranteed; they can speak, assemble, and act freely without worry of government oppression. What rights do they wish beyond that? Do they want special treatment, above and beyond everyone else? Of course, any rights above and beyond the rights currently guaranteed to citizens would equate to special privileges.
Equally as ludicrous is the “gender pay gap” myth. These figures commonly referenced are only the broad figures from all industries, professions, etc. And they do reflect an overall difference between the incomes of females and males – but this can be attributed to the different professions preferred, time worked, and many other factors. No, what we really find when we look at particular professions, and all other things being equal, women make the same as men do. There is not this widespread discrimination that everyone refers to. But this myth, I can imagine, will continue to persist no matter how many times it is disproved – for the social justice warriors and their vain battles, it is far too easy.
Only a couple of other points to make, then I will be finished.
Renewable energy, too, is a sham. The reason the economy at large has not switched to renewable energy is because we do not yet want it; it is not practical enough and too costly to render it useful at the moment. Fossil Fuels are still the most practical and inexpensive, and we know this because that is what most consumers prefer to use. There will be a day eventually when renewable forms will take the place of fossil fuels, but now is not that time.
The development of all new technologies typically come about when an entrepreneur makes a discovery, gathers an investment or invests his money, assumes the risk, and begins to make that discovery available for profit. However, when government makes investments with public money there is not the same care and attention to detail that comes with investments with private money, simply because the politicians pay no price for being wrong.
We should worry when government makes investments into private businesses. The opportunities for corruption are boundless.
My final point. When a public funded, public project brings a certain utility to the community, then it is an exchange like any other. However, if such projects bring no utility to the community and the only stated purpose is to provide employment, it is a waste.
If a bit of infrastructure is indeed crumbling then it is worthwhile to have it replaced, as that will provide utility to the community. However, we should be wary of this system turning into a form of quick job creation, which of course cannot be considered true job creation. It is temporary, and relies upon public money entirely; if billions taken from the taxpayer is spent on projects that provide no utility, workers are employed for a time, but that is the end of the matter. We should imagine instead where the money taken from the taxpayers would have done had it stayed in the hands of whom it rightfully belonged. It would have brought utility to those persons, and in the end it would have provided workers with employment, just in a different place.
We find that the entire Sanders doctrine is based upon half-truths that are coupled with emotional appeals and easy solutions always based on government action. “Democratic” socialism is still Socialism, no matter what is said about the matter. The only difference is that we can vote, but then, democracy hasn’t proved too reliable, has it?