09 March 2016

Why I'm for Bernie — and why I can't abide the GOP

I lean left on most political issues, and I'm a registered democrat. But I consider myself a moderate, and I would seriously consider a moderate republican candidate who wanted sensible spending limitations, fair taxation, and a balanced budget while letting people's private lives stay private.

That candidate does not exist. There may not be any such politician in the current republican party at all.

Republicans are, right now, concerned with two things: first, the demonization of minorities. Trump has convinced his voters that keeping the Mexicans and the Muslims out of the country will solve our economic problems, a demagoguery that has been not-so-subtly voiced by Fox News over the years. The poor, similarly, are vilified by the right as lazy do-nothings who just want government hand outs, draining economic prosperity from middle-class Americans.

Secondly, republicans are concerned with a regulation of the private lives of citizens. This includes persistent attacks on women's access to safe, affordable family planning services, attempts to erode the teaching of science in public schools, and blurring the line between church and state. Here in Oklahoma, our government has badly mismanaged funds and, in giving huge tax breaks to the oil industry and the wealthy, has left critical services woefully underfunded. Schools are cutting bus routes, killing extra-curricular activities, increasing class sizes, and in some cases may not even be able to finish the school year due to a lack of funds; meanwhile, our legislature is debating the removal of the Ten Commandments monument in the Capitol.

These are not just misguided policies — they're a complete and total failure of leadership, indicative of a total inability to constructively address the shared economic and social concerns of the American public.

Bernie Sanders: framing public policies as moral imperatives


Bernie says that it's ridiculous that the United States, despite being the wealthiest nation in the world, is the only advanced country without mandatory paid family and medical leave. That hurts working American families, and it's morally wrong.

He says that for too long, wealthy corporations have been dodging paying their fair share of taxes with offshore tax havens, generous tax loopholes, and superfluous government subsidies. At a time when we're in desperate need of a balanced budget, these corporate payoffs are not just bad policies — the represent a deeper social injustice.

Similarly, he points out that while the median wage for middle class Americans has been falling, the wealthiest 1% has seen their fortunes absolutely skyrocket. The richest 20 Americans have as much wealth as the poorest 150,000,000 Americans combined [source]. That disparity resonates in Washington, where the marginal tax rate for the ultra-rich continues to shrink from its post-war high of 91% to today's number of under 40%, which the wealthy are often able to avoid with generous deductions and loopholes. Bernie recognizes that providing living wages for the working class, eliminating the aforementioned loopholes, and a more progressive tax on the richest of the rich are all not just smart policies, but the morally right thing to do. 

Above all, Bernie recognizes that America's problems are those of public morality, not private morality. Americans don't need restrictions on access to contraception, or court battles over religious monuments, or fights over the private lives of gay people. We need policies that address the issues of economic morality that threaten the prosperity of millions of working Americans. And that, in a nutshell, is why I #feeltheBern.

By the by, this was very concisely summarized by Robert Reich in a recent video:


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