This week Vermont Senator and self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders sat down with CNBC’s John Harwood for an interview on the issues facing all the 2016 candidates. Sanders is technically running for President, and is at least keeping up the public appearance of being serious. (He told Harwood, I think we got a shot to win this thing.) With that in mind, I suppose it’s worth taking a moment to examine some of his answers and remind everyone exactly what’s lurking under the covers of the deep left wing of the Democrats.
While it may seem like a bit of a dog bites man story, Democrats are renowned for being in love with higher taxes. How does Bernie measure up on that score?
SANDERS: … If my memory is correct, when radical socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent.
HARWOOD: When you think about 90 percent, you don’t think that’s obviously too high?
SANDERS: No. That’s not 90 percent of your income, you know? That’s the marginal. I’m sure you have some really right-wing nut types, but I’m not sure that every very wealthy person feels that it’s the worst thing in the world for them to pay more in taxes, to be honest with you. I think you’ve got a lot of millionaires saying, “You know what? I’ve made a whole lot of money. I don’t want to see kids go hungry in America. Yeah, I’ll pay my fair share.”
A ninety percent tax rate. Think about that for a moment. Even the worst tax and spenders in the mainstream of the Democrat Party would never say that aloud, but Bernie Sanders at least can boast of the virtue of honesty. He’s willing to have the government come and take ninety cents out of every dollar you earn if you commit the sin of being too successful in modern America. I’m the first to admit that I’ve expressed many doubts about the practical effectiveness of the Laffer Curve in real world economics, but I’m confident that 90% falls pretty far down the starboard side of that one.
Bernie Sanders also feels that everyone is lying to the American public. But who are the liars?
HARWOOD: I read an interview that you did about the corporate media. And you said the corporate media was reluctant to call out people for lying in public debates. You’re on corporate media right now. Who’s lying in our politics?
SANDERS: I’m the ranking member of the Budget Committee, OK? Leader of the opposition. The Republican budget does the following: It throws 27 million people off of health care by ending the Affordable Care Act and cutting Medicaid by $440 billion. Have you seen that in print? Have you seen that statement? There is a reality that goes on here. And you have many people who try to be, “Oh, I’ve got to be even-handed here and even-handed there. You got the Koch Brothers there, Bernie Sanders there.” That’s nonsense. And I think a lot of right-wing people get away with murder because the media doesn’t call them out on it.
There’s a line to be drawn between healthy skepticism and outright paranoia. Wherever it is that Bernie Sanders lives inside his head, he can no longer even see that line. Some of this interview reads like a transcription of a doctor’s interview with a mental patient.
Even CBS News has had trouble painting him as anything other than fringe. Let’s remember a few of his favorite proposals from the past.
He was one of the founding members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He’s warned colleagues against being too friendly to the interests of corporate America, criticizing the close ties between some Democrats and Wall Street. He supports Obamacare but would elect to go further and institute a single-payer healthcare system. He’s proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure funding bill. He’s called for a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, far exceeding President Obama’s proposal to hike the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. He’s proposed expanding Social Security benefits and paying for it by raising taxes.
Sanders still gets an F from the NRA on gun control, though curiously he has voted on the right side of some Second Amendment issues, leading observers to call him the Second Amendment Socialist. He’s called for the seizure and nationalization of the oil and gas industry, and wants to break up the banks. The guy is so far to the Left that he wouldn’t even officially associate himself with the Democrats until he decided to run for President.
What’s the point of all this? Look… I understand that cable news has a lot of hours to fill every day, but continuing to treat Bernie Sanders as a legitimate challenger to Hillary Clinton and a viable candidate for the presidency is a disservice to the public. The man couldn’t be elected anywhere outside of Vermont and it’s time to lump him in with Vermin Supreme where he belongs.