Politics

Sanders Praises Red Chinese but Credits Capitalism

Bernie praises China's communists for lifting millions out of poverty. He's wrong.

Thomas Gallatin · Aug. 28, 2019

Cranky Bernie Sanders lost himself at least one vote after he and his campaign team stopped at a famous California restaurant in San Francisco for dinner. John Konstin, the owner of John’s Grill — which opened back in 1908 and was famously used as a backdrop of the 1941 movie “The Maltese Falcon” — was none too impressed with the socialist Democratic presidential candidate, stating, “It was all very nice, except for cranky Bernie. He was just rude, not friendly. I think he was hungry and just didn’t want to be a politician. He lost my vote.”

Contrast Sanders’s behavior to that of President Donald Trump, who has been described as warm, friendly, and engaging on the campaign trail. As The Atlantic reported back in 2016: “The 70-year-old Republican nominee took his time walking from the green room toward the stage. He stopped to chat with the waiters, service workers, police officers, and other convention staffers facilitating the event. There were no selfies, no glad-handing for votes, no trailing television cameras. Out of view of the press, Trump warmly greets everyone he sees, asks how they are, and, when he can, asks for their names and what they do.”

Perhaps Sanders’s crankiness and rudeness toward the peasantry can be explained by his longtime affinity for totalitarian regimes — which should give every Liberty-loving American serious pause. The man who honeymooned in the Soviet Union is now crediting China’s communist regime for pulling millions of Chinese out of poverty. In a recent interview, Sanders asserted, “China is a country that is moving, unfortunately, in a more authoritarian way in a number of directions. But what we have to say about China, in fairness to China and it’s leadership, is, if I’m not mistaken, they have made more progress in addressing extreme poverty than any country in the history of civilization, so they’ve done a lot of things for their people.”

What Sanders failed to mention was what China did to lift millions of people out of poverty. The reality is that, in 1979, Beijing abandoned socialist economic controls and started to embrace capitalism, which, distorted though it was, quickly ignited a massive economic turnaround — leading to a rapid reduction in the nation’s poverty rate. Ironically, Sanders’s mention of China’s pulling people out of poverty undercuts his own claims that socialism is the way to greater prosperity and economic freedom.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out what Sanders conveniently ignores — Chinese communist dictator Mao Zedong’s solution to poverty was to force a socialist economy onto the populace at the expense of an estimated 65 million lives. As The Heritage Foundation notes, “Anyone who got in his way was done away with — by execution, imprisonment or forced famine.”

(Edited.)

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