Bernie likes to use the northern European nations as examples of “Democratic” Socialism – emphasis on “Democratic” in his speeches, but “socialism” in reality. Interestingly, he fails to mention the many other “Democratic Socialist” states that are basket cases.
These nations are never held up for scrutiny of the “dividends” of socialism. Why, is that, ask you? Because answer I, these nations are left with large and growing populations of have-nots who constantly demand more – when there is no “more” to be had – and refuse to step back from their desire to maintain their “free stuff” — their nation be damned! (Not very “altruistic” – I guess they didn’t get the memo about the socialists’ requirement to be “altruistic!”) Republican candidates need to talk about Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela and other socialist, populist, egalitarian “paradises” every time Bernie mentions Denmark – not that Denmarkk is doing so well.
Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela provided oodles, scads, slathers, and slews of free stuff. Today they are basket cases. They struggle with anemic growth, recession and bankruptcy. Their government bonds have turned to “junk” that no sane investor wants.
[Source: Needed: Economic Literacy 101, by Paul Driessen]
Today, 59% of young Greeks are unemployed. Youth unemployment is 56% in Spain, 42% in Italy, 38% in Portugal. In Brazil, electricity rates soared 51% last year, food prices rose 15% and overall inflation stood at 11% – a vast improvement over its 5000% annual inflation rate (!) in the early 1990s but still awful. In all of Latin America, only Argentina at 27% and Venezuela at 200% had worse inflation.
Millennials are now the largest voting block in the US — outstripping the vaunted “baby boomers.” They surely like the idea of free tuition (currently > $1 trillion in student loan debt). But, let’s look backwards instead of forwards at “free tuition.” City University of New York had that for a while, until 1976, when it ran out of money and the city nearly went bankrupt. Sanders plan would cost $750 billion over ten years. Today, we talk trillions, but 750 billion is still quite a lot of money. A number of states have also tried “free tuition” to college. The results leave much to be desired (particular attention to Louisiana).
Let’s do some simple arithmetic. In total, there are 171.3 million individuals and married couples in the USA — or tax units, as they are defined by the Tax Policy Center. Bernie is after the top 1% in his speeches, but let’s say that he plans to plunder the top ten percent in reality – that equals 17.13 million “tax units.” That means the top 10% of tax units must cough up an additional $438,000 each over the next ten years, or $43,800 per year. The top ten percent of “tax units” earn an average income of $140,000 – not bad.
However, The top 10 percent of income earners already pay 68 percent of all federal income taxes. But let’s look at the dollars. The chart above shows that the average-top-ten-percenter currently pays $29, 353 in federal taxes. Just to pay for the “free tuition” (forget the other freebees) would add an additional tax burden of $43,800. ($29,353 + $43, 800 = $73, 153). Toss in the additional $19,490 for state income tax (I’m a Californian), Social Security, and Medicare and the total rises to $92,643 (66.2% of total income). And, of course, that doesn’t include property tax, sales tax, fees and licenses. Would you go to work the next day?
Does anyone believe that even Bernie Sanders could push that through Congress. Let’s be serious millennials. It’s never going to happen.