Allyne Caan / January 21, 2016

Sanders Admits What Other Democrats Won’t

Socialism has always been there, but some are now admitting it.

Just as populism seems to have overtaken the Republican base, more overt socialism is gaining momentum among Democrats. The party has long had a socialist bent, but Bernie Sanders actually has the integrity to call it what it is.

Although Hillary Clinton, a closet socialist, remains the Democrat frontrunner, mentions of avowed-socialist Sanders as the potential nominee unfortunately no longer induce uncontrollable laughter. Clinton deserves as much credit as anyone for Sanders’ surge. After all, pretty much anyone stands a chance against a candidate with so many scandals under her belt that even the lefty Atlantic saw fit to print a “Clinton Scandal Primer.” And attitudes about sexual assault have changed enough on the Left that the “progressives” over at Vox have a thorough and damning recap of Bill Clinton’s history of rape accusations.

Still, the fact that a significant number of Americans would truly consider electing an outright socialist as leader of the free world moves into the realm of downright outrageous, but it’s not without precursor in American history.

How is Sanders peddling his socialist wares? As we wrote last year, he’s invoking Franklin D. Roosevelt, who “redefined the relationship of the federal government to the people of our nation” and “restored their faith in government.” One might credit Mussolini with the same, but we digress.

In truth, as Mark Alexander has noted, Sanders’ Democratic Socialism is “nothing more than Marxist Socialism repackaged. It seeks a centrally planned economy directed by a dominant-party state that controls economic production by way of taxation, regulation and income redistribution.”

This fits Sanders to a T. His view of a government-defined and government-run nation flies in the face of Liberty as expressed in our Declaration of Independence and codified by the Constitution.

Free health care for everyone? Check. Free college for all? Check. Free government-run child care? Check. Actual freedom? Oh, you’re out of luck there. Besides, free things are quite expensive. His proposal to pay for all this “free stuff” is $19.6 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years, which would represent a 47% increase in the overall burden. That defies logic and approaches insanity.

Sanders claims he wants to make the rich pay their proverbial fair share, but a look at his menu of tax hikes shows they’re being served to Americans rich, poor and everywhere in between. As the Washington Examiner reports, Sanders’ taxes include a business health care premium tax ($6.3 trillion), an end to tax breaks for employer health insurance ($3.1 trillion), an individual health care premium tax ($2.1 trillion), an increase in marginal income tax rates ($1.1 trillion), a payroll tax hike ($319 billion), a death tax hike ($243 billion), and an energy tax on oil companies ($135 billion). And that’s just a partial list.

Despite Sanders’ rhetoric, his taxes would hit regular workers, business owners, energy consumers (higher costs are always passed to consumers), and just about everyone else. Thanks to his death tax, even dying won’t rescue you from Bernie’s tax grab. Of course, as the Examiner notes, Sanders revenue estimates are highly questionable. Were he to succeed in completely dismantling the economy by taxing into oblivion everything that moves and then taxing corpses to boot, it’s unlikely he’d be able to squeeze 19 cents out of economically parched Americans, let alone $19 trillion.

Still, Sanders is plowing ahead with his open attempt to sell America on his brand of socialism. As The Wall Street Journal notes, his frankness is winning over some Democrat voters. Indeed, few can deny Sanders has shifted the Democrat primary debate decidedly left. Despite Hillary’s surname, the Democrats have fallen a long way from Bill “The Era of Big Government Is Over” Clinton.

And with Clinton looking more like the challenger in this primary race and less like the party’s favored daughter, it’s not entirely impossible that Democrats will pin their party logo to a red hammer-and-sickle flag. It would at least finally be truth in advertising.

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