Until Wednesday night, Americans could save a lot of money on sleeping pills by turning on the TV while Democrats running for president stood on a stage congratulating each other and rattling off the details of their schemes to spend trillions in taxpayer dollars. But the NBC debate featured a $64 billion ex-elephant in the room named Michael Bloomberg.
As Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota began her closing statement, “this has been quite a debate.” She’s viewed as the moderate in the race who isn’t a septuagenarian like Joe Biden, but more than any previous debate, last night’s exposed the fact that in today’s Democratic Party, extremism masquerading as centrism is no vice.
Former New York City Mayor Bloomberg, not surprisingly, was turned into a pin cushion, most conspicuously when Sen. Elizabeth Warren bloodied him over buying the silence of female employees who claimed to be victim of sexist abuse. “Elizabeth Warren cleaned his clock on that exchange,” noted Fox News media reporter Howie Kurtz. But if we transcend the flying sparks and consider the reality of one of the six debate participants replacing Donald Trump in the White House, the message to the country last night was very clear. Socialism vs. centrism is a charade. The only choice among all these candidates is between Bernie and Bernie Lite.
For instance, Klobuchar’s biggest advertisement for the moderation she purportedly offers was her pointing out that she supports the “public option” rather than the Medicare For All supported by Warren and the new frontrunner, Sen. Bernie Sanders. The public option, however, a decade ago couldn’t gain the support of a Congress dominated by Democrats, with a new, popular Democratic president ready to sign it. That was because it was clear it was the slippery slope to single-payer, European-style socialized medicine. A public option would wreck the private health insurance industry by offering artificially low prices it can’t match.
After years of dissatisfaction with Obamacare minus the public option, the ever-mobile middle of the party now embraces the public option – or, more accurately, it embraces government-run health care via incrementalism. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, attempting to sell it to his party’s radicalized base, described it last night as “the biggest, most progressive reform we’ve had in health care in 50 years, just so long as we don’t force it on anybody.” Mayor Pete neglected to mention that when all the insurance companies are put out of business once the federal government becomes their direct competitor, it will most certainly be forced on everybody, by default.
“When you see some troubled waters, you don’t blow up a bridge; you build one. And so we need to improve the Affordable Care Act, not blow it up,” Klobuchar argued, oblivious to that law making an already over-regulated pre-Obama U.S. health care system far worse.
So the actual choice is: socialism now or socialism later. Meanwhile, President Trump frequently reiterates his assurance that the U.S. will never become a socialist country.
The Cost of Doing Bernie’s Business
Another manifestation of the false differentiation between Democrats in the supposed middle versus those on the left came from Buttigieg taunting Sanders about the astronomical cost of his socialist agenda. “He’s said that it’s impossible to even know much it’s gonna cost, and even after raising taxes on everybody making $29,000, there is still a multi-trillion-dollar hole,” Buttigieg pointed out. “As a matter of fact, if you add up his policies all together, they come to $50 trillion. He’s only explained $25 trillion worth of revenue, which means that the hole in there is bigger than the size of the entire economy of the United States.”
Sanders retorted that Buttigieg’s public option (inevitably leading to single payer) was “a maintenance continuation of the status quo.”
The Vermont socialist also tried to assuage worries about the Green New Deal, the cost of which could exceed $90 trillion, by promising it would provide “up to 20 million good-paying jobs as we move our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” adding, “this is a moral issue, my friends.”
Nothing empowers collectivists like a crisis, and what bigger emergency requiring massively-expanded government could be conceived than the planet itself being in peril? “The scientists are telling us that if we don’t act incredibly boldly within the next six, seven years, there will be irreparable damage done … to the entire world.” With that, Bernie managed to halve the 12-year countdown to Armageddon announced a year ago by his most famed supporter, New York City Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Sanders and Warren may be perceived as the ones on the fringe, but on health care, environmentalism, and the massive tax increases needed to finance their ideological crusades – so massive that the new levies will by necessity hit the middle class hard and devastate the economy – the others have left the now-uncool, too-cautious Barack Obama far behind. Klobachar, Biden, and Buttigieg too, despite his apparent concern about costs, are really all socialists in deed if not name.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg, with his strong authoritarian tendencies, seeking to dictate what size soda New Yorkers are allowed to drink and imposing aggressive police tactics – two policies that were both knocked down by the courts – may actually be the most frightening Democrat of all. Because if he could do the harm he’s done with tens of billions of dollars of his own money, imagine if he were allowed to spend trillions of dollars of other people’s money.
— Written by Thomas McArdle
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