When I was a smart-aleck college student, I had a sign on my dorm-room door that read: “Reality is for those who can’t handle drugs.” Maybe the 2016 version should go like this: “Bernie Sanders and socialism are for those who can’t handle reality.”
Socialism’s comeback is mystifying to most clear-thinking people. Do people who support Sanders and socialism walk around with shutters over their eyes so they don’t have to observe the reality of what is happening in the world around them? The remarkable thing about the rise of Bernie Sanders is that his popularity runs in the counter-direction to how socialism is actually working.
Liberals used to point to places such as France, Italy, Greece and even Cuba as workers’ paradises that offer citizens lots of free things: child care, health care, higher education, food, housing and a guaranteed income with high minimum wages. Today these places are basket cases, and in many of these nations the government bonds are given junk status.
Greece, of course, is modern socialism on steroids. The nation is in de facto bankruptcy because Athens can’t cover the runaway costs of all the free things the government offers: pensions, paychecks, medical exams and welfare benefits. Fifty percent of young people don’t have a job, and more than half of Greeks retire before age 60. The wagon is full, and no one is left to pull it.
Greece isn’t alone. Argentina, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France — as well as the United States — experimented with quasi-socialist governments in the past decade. Almost all these countries are in recession or have anemic growth.
The comeback of socialism and the obsession with redistributing income and wealth through confiscatory tax rates helps explain why so many of the wealth producers and employers are on strike. Who wants to invest when the political leaders are threatening to take most of the earnings away to spend on the “common good”?Read the rest of Stephen Moore's op-ed HERE.
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