Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Rebuttal to “Feeling the Bern” aka “The Free Shit Movement”

I was having lunch by myself the other day, which I do from time to time while traveling for business, and I overheard a conversation between a father and a son.  They were talking politics and the dad was asking his son who he was going to vote for in the upcoming primary elections.  Very matter-of-factly and absolutely the son responds, “Bernie Sanders of course.”  The dad probes him a bit and asks him to explain why.  The kid looks offended that he even has to explain his position as if Sanders is the ONLY logical choice.  He poses back, “Dad, do you know what a bought candidate is?”  The dad responds, “I know what you think it is.”  This kicks off a fairly heated debate where the dad essentially tells the kid that he doesn’t know shit about how the world works.  The kid stares back at his dad with disgust like he’s too old to understand the new world order.  And there in lies the great divide between millennials and those of us who are just a bit older (and wiser).  For reasons unknown to me millennials seem to be consumed with a deeper sense of purpose and creating some sort of utopia, while the rest of us are focused on reality and making the most of what we’ve got.  That said it makes perfect sense why Bernie’s message resonates so well with millennial voters. 

Let me preface this rant by stating that I’m fully in support of affordable higher education, access to adequate healthcare for all who need it, and social security overhaul (I’d like to actually collect my benefit some day).  But the manner in which Sanders plans to pay for all of this “free shit” is completely nutballs insane.  Namely through higher taxes on the “rich”: 

Sanders describes his top rate as 52 percent, but in reality top-bracket taxpayers would be paying up to 58 percent (the 52 percent base rate, plus the 2.2 percent health premium, plus the Affordable Care Act’s 3.8 percent surtax on investment income, which Sanders would keep).  Add on top of that the CA state tax (for those of us lucky enough to live in the great state of California) and the effective tax rate is north of 70 percent.  SEVENTY FUCKING PERCENT?  And this doesn’t even include Sanders’ “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions.  To say this is exorbitant is like saying that Donald Trump is only slightly in love with himself.  The kicker is how Sanders defines the “rich”.  Are you ready for this?  Anyone who earns over $250,000 a year.  What the fuck, Bernie?  I fit into this category (as do most of the people I know) and please check my bank statements because I’m fairly certain that I’m nowhere close to being “rich”.  Anyone who lives in California knows full well that if you’re only pulling down 2 ½ bills, and socking even a modest amount away for retirement, then you’re pretty much breaking even or living paycheck to paycheck (I know, cry me a river).  And this idealistic asshat wants to increase our effective tax rate to 70 percent? 

I’m no economist but just how exactly is this going to fix the economy?  Last time I checked it was the people with disposable income who were actually stimulating the economy.  It’s a pretty straight forward equation as I see it: You earn the money, then you spend the money, then small businesses thrive, then more jobs are created, then more people are working and paying taxes to the government, and everyone wins.  You see how this goes? (yes - I know I’ve dramatically over-simplified things but you get the point) The only consolation is that once all of the millennials who work in retail, food service, and hospitality vote Sanders into office, they’ll soon discover how the real world actually works.  For after there’s no money left over to buy things at retail stores, or eat out at restaurants, or take vacations and stay in hotels, all the businesses that employ said millennials will cease to exist.  And then they’ll really “Feel the Bern”.

But at least they’ll have all that “free shit” to fall back on…