Sen. Bernie Sanders has said publicly that he doesn’t believe government should own the means of production. Yet he appears on national television last week and agrees there should be a “federal takeover” of the energy sector. His Marxist slip is showing.
“When I use the world socialist — and I know some people aren’t comfortable about it — I’m saying that it is imperative” to “create a government that works for all and not just the few,” the Vermont Democratic lawmaker said in 2015.
“I don’t believe,” he continued, “government should own the means of production,” which of course is a hallmark of socialism.
That version is quite different from the 1976 Sanders, who said “I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries.”
2015 Sanders is also inconsistent with the Sanders of spring 2019, who, according to People’s World, which claims to be the “voice for progressive change and socialism” in America, “will propose workers take ownership of individual plants and businesses, removing them from the hands of the bosses and financiers who back them.”
Ownership won’t change hands unless a coercive government becomes involved and socializes business. The workers can’t simply vote companies over to themselves.
Last week Sanders appeared on MSNBC, where he seemed to agree with the host that nationalization of electricity production is necessary.
While discussing “how power is generated and distributed,” Chris Hayes told Sanders “you propose essentially a takeover of the whole thing. Essentially a Tennessee Valley Authority extension for the whole country. Am I understanding that correctly?”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re in the ballpark, that’s right,” Sanders replies.
Showing an even deeper affinity for the hard left, Sanders on Tuesday declared that China has made “more progress in addressing extreme poverty than any country in the history of civilization.”
“They’ve done,” he said, “a lot of things for their people.”
To his credit, Sanders did mention China’s “authoritarian way.” But it’s not China’s slow move toward a more liberal economy that prompted him to gush. It’s his antipathy toward free-market capitalism, which in his fevered thinking promotes inequality. It somehow escapes this man that capitalism is the only system in history that’s been able to lift billions out of what legendary economist Milton Friedman called “grinding” poverty.
Sanders is well-known for supporting other socialist struggles, such as his crusade for Medicare for All, his fondness for Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government in Nicaragua, and his admiration for Fidel Castro’s “workers’ paradise.”
Socialism’s $6 Trillion Man believes he has the right to dictate how private businesses conduct their affairs, while he argues that the “exploited” among us — meaning those he is pandering to for votes — have a right to a job, health care, education, “affordable housing,” and “a secure retirement” provided by the toil of others.
Sanders tried to run away from his red roots during the 2016 election cycle because he knew the country wouldn’t vote for an outright socialist. But now it seems he’s opening up, perhaps buoyed by the fact the Democratic Socialists of America, “America’s largest socialist party,” has grown, says the Hoover Institution’s Paul R. Gregory, “from 6,000 to 60,000 dues-paying members in the last eight years and counts two members of Congress — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Rashida Tlaib — in its ranks.”
Maybe by the time the Democrats debate again, Sanders will be telling everyone that his preferred pronoun is “comrade.”
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