For America’s sake, don’t be a Bern victim



Illustration by Asha Cummings

If you are a glutton for disappointment, have I got a candidate for you. Florida Senator Marco Rubio hit it on the head when he said, “Bernie Sanders would be a great president … of Sweden.” The potential Democratic nominee has advocated policies that are unrealistic and infeasible. So while some Democrats say that Sanders is trying to help this country, in reality, he would hurt it for many generations to come, or at least until we elect a president who could fix his mess. A Sanders presidency would do nothing to secure our borders, stimulate economic growth or unite our country.

Let’s start with his tax plan. I will use the 90th percentile of income, or people who make an average of $135,000 a year, as my example. Currently, they pay an 8 percent effective income tax (of course the marginal tax rate is much higher), which is roughly $11,000 a year. Sanders is proposing a 13 percent effective income tax for people within that income bracket, which would be around $18,000 a year. That may not sound like a drastic increase, but that is only his income tax plan. It’s probable that the Vermont senator would want increases for other taxes such as payroll, capital gains, etc.

My problem with Sanders’ theory that raising taxes on the wealthy and middle class will redistribute money to the lower class is that it will reduce incentive for people to work, invest, innovate and consume―the driving forces behind our economy. Like Ronald Reagan, I believe a much better approach is to lower taxes and get more money circulating within the American economy.

Potentially his most discussed policy is his healthcare plan. Sanders is proposing a single-payer system (in which the government pays for all health care, but also implements restrictions to control cost) that he says would save America $6 trillion. Here, Sanders is clearly stretching the truth. University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor Gerald Friedman calculated that the plan Sanders is suggesting would cost over $15 trillion, meaning that Sanders’ plan would plunge the nation into even more debt.

Also, as Huffington Post correspondent Nate Jara put it, “You’d have to be kidding yourself to think that the grand overhauls of healthcare Sanders lauds in his speeches would make it through a Republican-controlled legislature.” No conservative in the legislature would go for Sanders’ policies. Not to mention that in addition to the tax mentioned above, every single American household would be required to pay an additional 2.2 percent tax solely for healthcare.

My issue with Bernie is that he is making empty promises. His home state of Vermont attempted to implement this single-payer system, and it failed. In an article titled “Why single payer died in Vermont,” Sarah Wheaton of Politico stated that Governor Peter Shumlin was all for the system until “the governor admitted what critics had said all along: He couldn’t pay for it.” If a single-payer plan cannot even work in ultra-liberal Vermont, there is no chance of it working for the rest of our country.

Sanders would also like to make all public college free by—you guessed it—raising taxes (to be exact, by an additional $3.5 trillion per year). There is no point to this program, because there already are many highly affordable options for higher education. For example, the out-of-state tuition at the University of Nevada, Reno is $5,745. And Sanders is trying to tell us that is too expensive? College is a choice, and people should have to pay for the privilege.

Let me give you another example. Next year I will be attending the University of Alabama, where my tuition is about $21,000 since I am an out-of-state student. However, for residents of the state of Alabama, the tuition is only about $12,000. In addition to the numerous financial aid opportunities available today, the in-state applicant price is very reasonable. There is also something called junior college, which is already free and provides great education, but I guess that doesn’t cut it for Sanders.

If Sanders were elected, this country would also be a haven for the politically correct and easily offended. As an American citizen, I would hate to see this happen. In my opinion, political correctness is a disgrace and needs to be forgotten. It greatly hinders our ability to speak freely and honestly about the state of our country. With this movement for political correctness, our free speech is being threatened like never before and Sanders would only perpetuate this culture of hypersensitivity.

Bernie Sanders’ popularity is based on fantastical ideas and a vision that is completely at odds with reality. You and I both know (and I suspect Sanders does, too) that his policies could never become reality in today’s political climate. I urge you to not give your vote to the man who is proposing policies that will negatively affect you and the many generations that follow. If you want your Constitutional rights to be safe, your tax rates to be reasonable and your way of life to be the same, do not “Feel the Bern.”