I've stayed out of politics during these primaries because of work and the insanity of these primaries.
But this social media post got me writing.
I really like what Bernie has to say. A lot.
And I think he could beat many of the GOP candidates in the general election (probably not Rubio or Kasich).
But I will not vote for Bernie for two important reasons.
First, Bernie's promise of a political revolution - the revolution that would allow him to overcome opposition to his agenda - is deeply problematic.
The Tea Party made a similar promise and sent a bunch of idiots to Congress in an attempt to overcome Beltway gridlock. To be fair to them, I'll cite two examples to support calling Tea Party representatives idiots.
1) They shut down the government and
2) They threatened to defaut on the nation's debt.
Many Tea Party people actually still think those were good ideas, and when you ask them why, they'll tell you it's because "the system is broken."
Bernie wants to sweep aside any opposition to his bold plans by ushering in a political revolution that will put new like-minded people in Congress. So, who are those people?
Seriously. I'm asking. I don't know who will fill those seats.
Is Bernie planning to bring in the Left's version of the Tea Party? That's what it sounds like, and I want no part of that.
Governing is challenging and complex work that requires compromise. The revolution Bernie is calling for fails to see that. It is uncompromising in its vision. I don't like that.
When I think of Obama's greatest achievements, I see bold plans that were blunted and bruised by the process, but they moved forward.
Second, even if Bernie's economic plans work in the long term (which I don't think they will), they will cause so much economic disruption that my generation will live in a very insecure economic environment. I'm raising kids. I have a great union job working for the State of California. The level of upheaval Bernie is proposing at the national level would create stress that might lead to backlash at the state level.
Now, I recognize some people in the US are struggling more than I am, and I understand this is a serious issue - one that should drive the decision about how we all vote. But when I look at Bernie's supporting evidence for his argument about how he'll pay for all this, I am not convinced.
|From how Sander's will pay for College for All|
Here's a screenshot from a white paper on how Sander's would use a tax on Wall Street to pay for his 'college for all' plan. In it, the economist assumes trading volume would fall by 50%. Ummm... That's kind of a big deal. If you were looking for a way to fuel income inequality, this unintended consequence is an excellent way to do that, because it would make it so only the wealthy could afford to invest in the US economy.
It's a bad plan. I'd love to see 'college for all' happen, but this is not a workable path to that idea.
This op-ed from Fareed Zakaria gives a sense of what the broader community of economists think of Sander's plans. The entire set of plans "assumes that per capita growth would average 4.5 percent (more than double the rate over the past three decades), and that the employment-to-population ratio would suddenly reverse its long decline and reach 65 percent, the highest ever. Even more magically, productivity growth would rise to 3.18 percent. As Kevin Drum has pointed out in Mother Jones, 'there has never been a 10-year period since World War II in which productivity grew by 3.18 percent.'"
These are not viable plans.
So, why are we listening?
Because these plans are what we want to hear. We want someone with bold ideas to come and fix a deeply flawed system.
But here's the thing. The system always has been and always will be deeply flawed, because it is a human system. We don't get to fix that without some kind of Skynet event.
The rise of Bernie's vision and others like it have been fueled by a belief that our system's flaws are leading us to some kind of destruction.
I get nervous when a politician tells me we have to follow his plan or else our world will fall apart. That's a desperate rhetorical trick.
Our world is not ending; it's changing.
The system is not broken, it's imperfect.
And no, Bernie, it is not a disgrace to live in an America with imperfect healthcare.
Sure, it might be a little embarrassing at times, but it is not a disgrace.
I wish we took better care of the poor. I wish we supported a stronger education system. I wish we did more to fight economic inequality.
But those are stars to navigate by; they are not policy goals for a first term.
And the thing is, we are actually doing an okay job... if you're willing to take the long view.
Our large and diverse nation is navigating changing times as well or better than the rest of the world.
We have 4.9% unemployment with some upward pressure on wages.
Our investment markets have been crazy, but they are functioning despite uncertainty out of Europe, China, Japan, Russia, and Brazil (to name a few).
At the end of last year we passed a huge infrastructure bill.
More people have healthcare.
It looks like people might start buying homes again.
Marriage equality is here to stay.
We've ended No Child Left Behind.
I could keep going, because we are moving in the right direction. It takes time, work, and patience, but that's how progress works.
The argument that we need a major upheaval is an appeal to emotion with very little basis in fact, and that is why I won't vote for Bernie.
And the length of this post is why I've been trying to avoid political conversations for the last few months. If you've stuck with me this long, thanks