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Monday, September 21, 2015

Why Social Programs are Investment and Not a Burden

The Grand Old Party (GOP) put out a shill article in their no longer integral rag "The Wall Street Journal" on Bernie's Sander's economic proposals that make it sound like we can't afford any improvements. And given the other propaganda they put out, if they had their way they'd be cutting current programs even more. But there are many reasons why their arguments are bogus on their face. They claim that the price Tag of Bernie Sanders’s Proposals is $18 Trillion. Other pundits weighed in with all sorts of excuses to agree with the Wall Street Journal. For example the now corrupt Washington Post piled on with this gem:

"Sanders identifies significant challenges, and we support higher taxes to meet some of them. But the political barriers even to modest new spending are formidable. A true progressive agenda would seek to dismantle those barriers, not create new entitlements for the upper middle class." [Wa-Po]

Investment Pays for Itself!

However, Robert Reich explains why the Wall Street's math is not only bogus but Bull Hockey. It ought to be common sense that we need to invest in public programs to generate common-wealth so that we can all be more productive and pursue happiness.

As Reich notes:

“Bernie’s proposals would cost less than what we’d spend without them.” [Reich]
  1. “Most of the “cost” the Journal comes up with—$15 trillion—would pay for opening Medicare to everyone.” [Reich]

And he notes that the cost of doing this is more than offset by the savings:

“This would be cheaper than relying on our current system of for-profit private health insurers that charge you and me huge administrative costs, advertising, marketing, bloated executive salaries, and high pharmaceutical prices.” [Reich]

In fact going to a medicare for all would probably save billions of dollars. And Reich next notes this as he quotes Gerald Friedman:

“(Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, whom the Journal relies on for some of its data, actually estimates a Medicare-for-all system would actually save all of us $10 trillion over 10 years).” [Reich]

Our current system depends on privateering for profit providers, private banks, private hospitals, private clinics, Health Care Organizations, Drug companies and Insurance Companies. So, lo and behold:

  1. “The savings from Medicare-for-all would more than cover the costs of the rest of Bernie’s agenda—tuition-free education at public colleges, expanded Social Security benefits, improved infrastructure, and a fund to help cover paid family leave – and still leave us $2 trillion to cut federal deficits for the next ten years.” [Reich]

This is funny, and if we can explain this to our fellow citizens we can defeat these privateers. The only people Bernie's proposals threaten at all are folks who don't work for their living and who draw unearned income and have unearned privilege. We are suffering deficits because The Government doesn't bear those costs. They are passed on to the suffering and to those who can't afford them -- and then the public pays the jacked up costs of people who are more ill than necessary and a burden on the taxpayer. Robert Reich's next point thus points to the moral argument for doing this:

  1. “Many of these other “costs" would also otherwise be paid by individuals and families – for example, in college tuition and private insurance. So they shouldn’t be considered added costs for the country as a whole, and may well save us money.” [Reich]

Investment is where Capital comes from!

The trouble with conservative economic arguments is that the financial health of the country is the balance of payments and debts of the entire population of the country.

  1. “Finally, Bernie’s proposed spending on education and infrastructure aren’t really “spending” at all, but investments in the nation’s future productivity. If we don’t make them, we’re all poorer.” [Reich]

When we take care of our own we are doing investment. Henry George's definition of capital is wealth that is reinvested in the economy to further production. Investing in people is a sort of capital. We people are wealth, and wealth has no meaning without sentient beings to enjoy it.

So yes Bernie isn't as radical as those with unearned wealth and privilege would paint him. Indeed his proposals are OUR proposals. They've been on the progressive wish list since FDR was President. The only ones who might be impacted by his proposals are people who leach of the rest of us. And it turns out that they've been leaching on us using bogus economic theories all this time.

It gets even better

But it gets even better. A case can be made that not only can we afford all our social programs but we do not need to be listening to the "nattering nabobs of negativity" who are treating our country the way their predecessor Nabobs treated India as heads of the East India Company. If we end unearned privilege and take control of our money supply we need not worry about the carrying costs of carrying these people forever because we can make our own money!

For more either read my next post or read the writer/economist John T. Harvey, article, "Can America Afford Bernie Sanders' Agenda?"


Sources and Further Reading

The Bogus Wall Street Article "Price Tag of Bernie Sanders’s Proposals: $18 Trillion":
Derivative Business Insider Article:
Robert Reich's Article:
Forbes: Can America Afford Sanders' Agenda? by John T. Harvey:
Quantum of Power by Arslan Ibrahim

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