With a few rare and now-gone voices of sanity, such as John Delaney, the Democratic Primary has largely resembled a Bizarro World auction where the participants bid against one another to see who can give away the most stuff for “free.”
“Free” is in quotes because, as every child should be taught and obviously, far too few are these days, there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” That’s been true since the dawn of time, and putting the word “Democratic” in front of “socialism” won’t change it, any more than calling useless and counter-productive gun laws "common sense" will make them common sense. Not even the schools’ “free lunch” program is free: taxpayers pay a lot for it, and the money often comes with government strings attached. Or a “quid pro quo,” to coin a phrase.
Just last night, Tom Steyer added paying reparations for slavery to the list, and earlier, Bernie Sanders tossed another new expensive “human right” on the pile: a $1.2 trillion plan called “Free Child Care and Pre-K for All.”
Personally, I can think of few ideas more chilling than every child from the age of three being put into an “education program” designed by Bernie Sanders. But I suppose we should be thankful that the cost of this one is “only” $1.2 trillion, or a little less than 1/4th of the entire current federal budget, rather than his typical plan that costs the entire US GDP.
I know that child care is very important. It’s a real problem for many low-income working people, and the government might have a role to play, although it should be on the state or local level, or better yet, handled by community organizations and churches. But spending nearly a quarter of the entire federal budget to create a new “human right” to free day care is what passes in Bernie’s mind for “common sense” government action that isn’t “radical” at all.
I know that Bernie knows the word “privilege” because when he recently declared health care to be a “human right,” he added, “It is not a privilege!” I’ve written before about how “progressives” can’t win arguments on facts or experience, so they win by rewriting the language (for instance, liberals, leftists, socialists and communists became too infamous as purveyors of tragically failed policies, so they magically became “progressives.”)
But some of us still care about the English language, and how words actually mean things. As children used to be taught, a “right” is something you are endowed with by God, such as the right to free speech. It doesn’t require anyone else giving up their rights to provide it to you. Making a speech in a public park is a “right.” Demanding that the government provide you with a free P.A. system is a “privilege.” Just as demanding that other people attend medical school or deal with government paperwork to spend their time caring for you while others pay higher taxes to cover the cost makes that a “privilege.” You may say that you think health care should be a privilege of citizenship, but by definition, it can never be a “right.” Bernie goes around finding new “rights” the way my grandkids find Easter eggs, but they don’t have a "right" to chocolate eggs: that’s a privilege of me being their grandpa.
And as long as I’m offering a remedial primer on rights, I’d also like to point out that the Bill of Rights doesn’t list rights the government gives to you. It lists rights with which God endows you and that the government has no right to take away from you.
As liberal media people start to panic at the idea of Bernie Sanders being the nominee, they’re finally starting to do some background research into his previous kooky statements (both the ones we’re all known about for years, and some that are more…exotic.) As they put it at the Instapundit blog, Bernie keeps telling you what he is; you should believe him. Mike Bloomberg reportedly plans to spend some of his riches on blasting this oppo research far and wide, like Bernie’s ideas on child care that should make anyone recoil at the idea of a government day care program created by him.
Even more concerning is Bernie’s admiration for communist dictatorships like Cuba, Nicaragua and the USSR. He claims he doesn’t admire “authoritarianism,” but socialism without authoritarianism would be like trying to make coffee without coffee beans. If the government controls production and decides what choices you get to make (and Bernie is on record as thinking capitalism gives you too many choices of deodorants), then if someone disagrees and wants to make a different choice than what the government approves, somebody has to stop them to protect the “system.” Enter the government guns and gulags.
But Bernie is the eternal optimist, always able to see the daisy growing out of the pile of bull manure. First it was Castro’s “literacy program” (which forced people to read communist propaganda), and now he’s praising communist China for lifting more people out of extreme poverty than any other nation on Earth (too bad about all the genocides, forced sterilizations and destroying of churches.)
Actually, it’s socialism and communism that put people into extreme poverty, and capitalism that’s lifted more of them out of it than at any time in history. Even China made the advances they did by allowing limited amounts of capitalist free enterprise (but not too much freedom: see “Hong Kong.”)
Bernie’s go-to model for the US is Denmark, and other “Democratic socialist” Scandinavian nations. But there are things rotten in Denmark, and Bernie just can’t smell them. The problems with his argument include…
(A.) The Nordic nations are not socialist, as their leaders adamantly insist; by some metrics, Denmark has more economic freedom than the US. Norway’s prosperity is largely thanks to off-shore oil wells, which Bernie would surely ban…
(B.) These nations are actually rolling back some of the socialist-lite programs they instituted after realizing they were unaffordable and were eroding their people’s traditional work ethic (if you’ve ever heard the stories about “Norwegian bachelor farmers” and Lutherans on “Prairie Home Companion,” you know that if socialism won’t work on Scandinavians, who are raised to work hard and expect little in return, then it won’t work anywhere.)
(C.) The image of all those Danes who are happy as larks to pay exorbitant taxes in return for those amazing government services is a delusional fiction. Read this commentary from the Bookworm Room blog, on a book written by someone who’s lived there. Example: under that fantastic Danish government health care, the author visited an emergency care center and was told he’d have to make an appointment.
One of the comments on this story includes a great quote. The writer says that when the media were touting Denmark as the “happiest place on Earth” (they’re actually #2 in Europe behind Iceland in anti-depressant consumption), he met a Danish couple applying for US citizenship. When he asked why the Danes they were leaving behind were were so happy, she replied, “Because their expectations are so low.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to replace “Keep America Great” with “Lower Your Expectations.”
The stock market is taking a dive this week amid fears of the coronavirus spreading (or as President Trump called it, “a buying opportunity.”) It’s too early to know just how bad this could become, but it’s also too early to be launching panics over it. Here’s a little information that might help put things in perspective.