The mainstream media is fond of depicting Trump as a dangerous demagogue, who plays to the basest instincts of humanity. Curiously, when it comes to Bernie Sanders, they are not applying this same type of analysis.
The reality is that Bernie Sanders (and his partner in crime Elizabeth Warren) is more of a demagogue than Trump could ever be. “Crazy Bernie” is not particularly concerned about broadcasting his demagoguery, either. Rather, he has taken the most brazen and shameless demagoguery possibly witnessed in a serious presidential contender’s campaign in a century, and tried to turn it into a morality play.
A morality play starring Bernie Sanders, courageously and heroically standing up for the common man, against the big and powerful moneyed interests who live to screw over the little guy, and exult in their own greed.
Perhaps no piece of legislation is as emblematic of the new breed of Bernie demagoguery than his preposterous plan to simply erase the student loan debt of every American. And who is going to pay for it?
The greatest villain of all: Wall Street.
Sanders proposes a tax on Wall Street that he claims will raise enough money to fund this USD $1.6 trillion government giveaway. It will entail a 1% tax on all stock transactions, a 0.5% tax on all bond transactions, and lower tax rates for derivatives.
How exactly are purchases and sales in financial markets related to higher education debt, you may ask?
Well, Wall Street owes the little guy, because Obama (and in fairness Bush as well) bailed out banks and financial institutions during the recession…and, Sanders continues in his earnest Brooklynese, this tax will have an added bonus: it will reduce Wall Street’s risky desire for “speculation” and “recklessness.”
You see, in the mind of Sanders, buying and selling equity and debt is dangerous “speculation.” He doesn’t seem to understand that our equity and debt markets are the envy of the world and the foundation of our economy for a reason, or that virtually everyone in America who has worked a real job, depends upon these markets to grow their pensions, and secure a stable retirement.
And the insanity continues…Who is really going to benefit from Bernie’s preposterous proposal to just pay off USD $1.6 trillion in student loans?
Well…those who borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to law, medical, or business school. These people are going to be earning high incomes anyway. Why should the United States government be paying for their education? They chose to invest in graduate degrees, and the first lesson that they should learn is the importance of honoring their debt obligations.
There is another class of people who will benefit: those who recklessly borrowed beyond their means to attend expensive private colleges and universities, and now are faced with student debt that they don’t want to pay off. Well, whose fault is it that they find themselves in these situations? They could have economized and gone to their local community college or state school for a fraction of the cost.
Getting a degree in womens’ studies at Oberlin College for USD $250,000 probably wasn’t all that smart, now was it?
For those who lived within their means, and attended affordable (but less prestigious) institutions of higher learning, tough luck. For those who decided to forgo college, but go into a trade instead, tough luck. For those who scrimped and saved and worked to fund their way through school, tough luck.
Sanders wants to reward the very people in the educational world, (those who recklessly borrowed money) that he claims to loathe in the financial world.
But there is another problem; an even more serious problem.
Sanders’ proposal is a living, walking, breathing example of hypocrisy.
Sanders is so concerned about the cost of higher education, and we hear about it all the time.
But his proposal does absolutely nothing to address the cost of college. How is it that leading colleges and universities are now charging a quarter of a million dollars for a four year college degree? How many of these graduates leave without marketable skills?
Sanders doesn’t actually want to talk about addressing the skyrocketing cost of higher education, because that would involve paying college and university employees (a left-leaning voting bloc that is generally sympathetic to Sanders) less money. This is, of course, where the bulk of college and university budgets go.
Sanders’ proposal will actually ensure that the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket, growing far faster than inflation. We can only imagine that in another generation, leading colleges and universities will be charging $500,000 for a 4 year education.
At least Elizabeth Warren’s plan has a USD $50,000 cap on loan forgiveness.
Sanders wants to bail out a bunch of people (soon to be very wealthy lawyers, doctors, engineers, business people) who don’t need bailing out. Why should the government be paying off the student loans of a CEO at a Fortune 500 company…of a corporate attorney, or mechanical engineer, or anesthesiologist? People who are going to be making a six figure salary, or a quarter of half a million dollars?
Where is the social justice in that?
If Sanders wants to have any credibility at all, he might come up with a plan to actually lower the cost of a college or university education. He doesn’t want to do that, though, because at this point, all he is interested in doing is buying votes by making pie-in-the-sky promises, and giving away other peoples’ money.
Even the New York Times is concerned about the program’s “unintended consequences.”