Tag: Bernie Sanders

Clinton Wins

So yesterday was our seventeenth or eighteenth Super Tuesday of this electoral season and Clinton won big, taking the prizes of New Jersey and California. This morning, she is estimated to have 2168 pledged delegates. With superdelegates, she is well past the 2383 required to clinch the nomination. Barring both Sanders crushing her in every primary left and a mass revolt by the superdelegates, she will be the nominee.

(An interesting result out of California’s Senate primary: because of the way the Democrats have rigged the system, the November election will be between two Democrats with no Republican nominee. The choice is between the authoritarian Kamela Harris and the authoritarian Loretta Sanchez. The Democrats claim they changed the primary system to prevent candidates from becoming too extreme. Now we see the real reason they did it. If Texas did something like this, there would be howls of outrage and fainting spells.)

I’ll pause for a moment to note that we have the first woman Presidential candidate and likely the first woman President. OK, there, that’s all the time I’m prepared to spend basking in that accomplishment. Clinton, despite Vox’s desperate efforts at revisionist history, is a terrible candidate for President. And no, it’s not because she’s a woman and it’s hard for women to find the right balance to appear authoritative without appearing “bossy” (that is a difficulty women politicians face; it’s also a difficulty women like Margaret Thatcher have transcended for years with more skill and energy than Clinton). She was basically handed the nomination eight years ago and blew it. She was then guaranteed the 2016 nomination and almost blew it against a crackpot socialist Senator. So spare me the butt-kissing.

Speaking of that crackpot Senator … Politico has a piece up about the end game of the Sanders’ campaign. It’s worth reading in a schadenfreude way. Sanders’ staffers have been trying to tell him that the race is basically over. And Sanders refuses to accept that.

There’s no strategist pulling the strings, and no collection of burn-it-all-down aides egging him on. At the heart of the rage against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, the campaign aides closest to him say, is Bernie Sanders.
It was the Vermont senator who personally rewrote his campaign manager’s shorter statement after the chaos at the Nevada state party convention and blamed the political establishment for inciting the violence.

He was the one who made the choice to go after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after his wife read him a transcript of her blasting him on television.
He chose the knife fight over calling Clinton unqualified, which aides blame for pulling the bottom out of any hopes they had of winning in New York and their last real chance of turning a losing primary run around.

And when Jimmy Kimmel’s producers asked Sanders’ campaign for a question to ask Donald Trump, Sanders himself wrote the one challenging the Republican nominee to a debate.

There are many divisions within the Sanders campaign—between the dead-enders and the work-it-out crowds, between the younger aides who think he got off message while the consultants got rich and obsessed with Beltway-style superdelegate math, and between the more experienced staffers who think the kids got way too high on their sense of the difference between a movement and an actual campaign.

But more than any of them, Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect — all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.

This comports with my general impression over the last few weeks. I was impressed with Sanders early. But as it has became more and more obvious that he isn’t going to win, he has become increasingly strident and bitter. This isn’t a protest campaign like we’ve seen on the GOP side where someone like Ron Paul or Rick Santorum will stay in well past their expiration date because they feel like the party needs to address an important issue. Clinton has already moved way left to capture Sanders’ support. No, this was increasingly about Sanders himself. It pains me to say it, but … I think the Democrats made the right choice.

So … this is how we may end up with our first woman President. A dishonest, disliked establishment insider elected because her opponents were two septuagenarians with the combined political knowledge of a tootsie roll. That is, if she’s not indicted, which she probably would be if she were anyone other than Hillary Clinton.

So, I guess you can celebrate that. But right now, it crosses me as celebrating your victory in a marathon because you ran it in three days but all the other runners were eaten by bears.

Update:

Why is everyone acting as if this was not expected?

Blazing headline: “WEST VIRGINIA PRIMARY RESULTS

As I expected, Shillary lost. What I didn’t expect was all the hand wrining.

This was West Virginia. A state that has an economy with a heavy reliance on the coal industry. The other Clinton, stealing a page from Obama’s playbook, talked about how she would destroy the coal industry to appease the usual collectivist Gaia worshipers. Why would anyone think that the majority of democrats in that state would vote against their own interests, and cast a vote for Shillary? I certainly don’t know if she is unraveling or not, but I am loving the freak show.

This win was all but a given for the Bern-minator, and while it is a boon for those of us that enjoy the left eating itself up, there is a far juicier story, one of real criminal activity, to investigate.

Yeah, I know, wishful thinking. The DNC mouth pieces will never actually investigate anything unless they can use it to help democrats and hurt everyone else, so we are not going to see any justice here it looks like. Ain’t the fundamentally transformed America Obama promised us great?

The Price of Socialism

Holy cow:

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ tax and spending proposals would provide new levels of health and education benefits for American families, but they’d also blow an $18-trillion hole in federal deficits, piling on so much debt they would damage the economy.

That sobering assessment comes from a joint analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute Health Policy Center, well-known Washington think tanks.

The bottom line: Democratic presidential candidate Sanders would raise taxes by more than $15 trillion over 10 years, with most of that paid by upper-income earners. But that wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of his proposed government-run health care system, along with free undergraduate college, enhanced Social Security, family and medical leave, among other new programs.

As a result, Sanders would add $18 trillion to federal debt over a decade.

The Sanders campaign is trying to wriggle out of this, claiming that their healthcare plan will save lots of money because … because … well, because they want it to. But I am totally unsurprised by this. I have said it in this space a million times: you can’t pay for a social welfare state just by taxing “the rich”. There’s not enough money. Every European welfare state pays for itself with heavy taxes on the middle class — VATs, sales taxes, excise taxes, income taxes. Their tax systems are way less progressive than our because they have to be. In the end, you have to go where the money is.

This is the big problem with Sanders’ promises. You have to raise taxes on everyone to pay for them. And people don’t want higher taxes even if they supposedly come with Awesome Government Benefits. Sanders’ own state rejected socialized medicine because it was too expensive.

I’d say this would be the nail in the coffin of the Sanders campaign except that (1) many of his supporters don’t care about math; (2) I’m sure Clinton will find a way to bungle this incredibly easy and salient talking point.

End Game

Last night came very close to ending the Presidential primaries. Trump won all five primaries by decisive margins, outpacing Cruz and Kasich combined by over 300,000 votes and taking, according to one analysis, 110 of the 118 delegates. Barring a complete collapse in Indiana and California, he is likely not only to have a plurality of delegates but a majority. The hopes of a contested convention would appear dashed.

This was obvious to me a while ago when Paul Ryan took himself out of the running for a contested convention. It would have been political suicide for him to offer himself as a candidate if Trump won. I think that Ryan, being one of the smartest people in politics, saw the writing on the wall and wanted no part of that. I also think this is why Christie and others have been flocking to Trump since this election season has shown that a) endorsements don’t ultimately make a difference in the outcome; b) endorsements do make a difference in cozying up to the nominee. And, the more I think about it, the more I think Cruz and Kasich saw this as well. The last few weeks, it has seemed more like they are running for 2020 than 2016.

So this is it. Trump 2016. Despite a media insistence that it wouldn’t happen, despite an onslaught of opposition, despite constant “gaffes”. I think we can finally retire the notion that media elites know what they’re talking about.

I don’t expect this will go well. Trump might win. His opponent is Hillary, after all. But the possibility of an electoral massacre looms large. Trump is trying to pivot to the center but I don’t see that working for two reasons: Trump can’t keep his damned mouth shut; Trump is already well-known. This isn’t like Romney where he could rebuild his image to a public that hadn’t been paying attention.

There will be a lot of post mortems and I’m sure the media will find a way to blame it on Southerners or something. But make no mistake: Trump won almost everyone in the GOP tent. He won the supposedly more intelligent and urbane East Coast elites by massive margins. The only people who opposed him were midwesterners and Mormons, the latter of whom overwhelmingly rejected him. So I don’t want to hear any more crap about the supposed intellectual deficiencies of people in flyover country or the supposed craziness of Mormons. They were the only ones who kept their wits about them.

Clinton won four of five states, increasing her delegate lead to the point of being insurmountable. I’m sure there will be a lot of post mortems of the Sanders campaign, too. My take? Well, Sanders did way better than anyone expected, mostly because people don’t like Hillary Clinton. But, in the end, Clinton had too many advantages: heavy support among blacks, backing of the party elites, support from unions and special interests, name recognition. Moreover, as the campaign went on, Sanders was exposed as a guy who was long on rhetoric and short on policy detail. His foreign policy credentials didn’t exist. His plan to pay for all his new spending didn’t work. His answers to detailed questions got increasingly evasive. You can only go so far with huge glittering promises of free shit.

So here we are: the contest no one wanted. Clinton v. Trump in the contest to see who the voters dislike more. If the Libertarian Party can’t get a significant part of the vote this year …

Bernie to the Left of Sweden

Reason ran a great article this week, pointing out again that Bernie Sanders idea that we should be more like Sweden ignores the reality of Sweden is like these days:

Bernie Sanders thinks the U.S. should look to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries to “learn what they have accomplished for their working people.” The Vermont senator has said so repeatedly throughout his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, prompting GOP rival Marco Rubio to say, “I think Bernie Sanders is a good candidate for president—of Sweden.”

This reality will not endear my home country to American socialists, but it’s better to be hated for the right reasons than to be loved for the wrong ones, as the saying goes. Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.

Sanders ideas of … really, everything … seem not to have moved much from the 1960’s ground in which they were sewed. Nowhere is this more pronounced than on economic policy. He still thinks of the Scandinavian countries as bastions of socialism when all of them have moved in a decidedly laissez faire direction over the last twenty years: smaller government, free trade and economic deregulation. They are still way more socialist than the United States. But all rank as “mostly free” in the Heritage Foundation’s economic freedom, with Denmark having occasionally ranked as more free than the United States. All of them rank ahead of us on Cato’s Human Freedom Index by dint of having more personal freedom and comparable economic freedom.

I think a large part of Bernie’s success so far has been that he’s not Clinton. The party elite and the Clintons themselves went to great efforts to preclude an alternative to Clinton this year (even, some conspiracy theorists think, to the point of encouraging Trump to run). Sanders, however, is not a Democrat and is not controlled by them. So he ran a real campaign and not a token one. The result has been a surge of support because his earnestness is so refreshing by comparison to Clinton’s deviousness.

I also think a large part, however, was the novelty. It’s been a while since an avowed socialist was on the political scene and I think that appealed to a lot of Democrats. However, Bernie’s ideas are as outdated now as they were when Bill Clinton reformed the Democratic Party back in ’92. And polls have shown that support for Bernie’s ideas evaporate when people become aware of how much they will cost (as the Sweden article notes, you can’t fund a welfare state entirely on the backs of the rich).

That’s why I think Clinton will still win this thing. As the hope of spring turns into the realities of summer/fall, people will remember why we don’t elect honest-to-God socialists in this country. And they will turn away from the junk food that is Sanders to the broccoli that is Clinton.

Democratic Debate #425

Here’s the wonderful thing about Democratic Part debates. Any time I even entertain the notion of voting for a Democrat, all I have to do is watch them debate and I am instantly dissuaded. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debated again last night. I don’t know (or care) who the winner was. I know who the loser was: anything approaching sanity.

Here is a short list of the things the candidates basically agree on:

  • We should address global warming. But in doing so, we should abandon the technologies that have made the most progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions: nuclear power and fracking.
  • Government should spend yet more money making college more expensive. I mean, cheaper, definitely cheaper.
  • We shouldn’t reign in exploding retirements. We should expand them. And we can pay for that with taxes on the rich.
  • We need way more liberals on the Supreme Court.
  • Any SCOTUS opinions liberals like is “established law” and should not be touched. Anything they don’t like, such as Citizens United should be overturned.
  • We need a $15 national minimum wage.
  • Boy, do we need to spend more money. For jobs and stuff.

There is some daylight between the candidates. Clinton is more of an interventionist abroad while Sanders is more isolationist. Clinton is also a bit more hostile to civil liberties. And, to be fair, Clinton has frequently taken the opposite opinion on the minimum wage and fracking. But it was kind of scary listening to these chowderheads last night and imaging what they might do with a Democratic Congress.

On style, Sanders won. But, were I a Democrat, I would probably be voting Clinton. Sanders has the big ideas and high-sounding rhetoric. But Clinton is the one who could actually get things done. If I were a Republican, I’d probably want Sanders since even a Democratic Congress wouldn’t do all the crap he wants.

The more I turn this over, the more I think retaining Congress has to be the priority for the GOP. I’ve basically given up the White House for lost this year. I think Clinton is going to win the nomination and the election, despite her high negatives and ethical problems. I base this partly on intuition. In every election since 1980, I’ve gotten a feeling for who was going to win. It has rarely failed me. The only time I was even uncertain was 2000. I’m now getting that feeling about Clinton. I see her on TV and think, “Jesus, we’re actually going to do this thing, aren’t we?”

But I also base on the GOP, which is either going to nominate Trump or nominate someone else to lead a badly fractured party. I’m hoping it’s Cruz, since he will probably lose but would at least bring enough voters to the polls to hold Congress. But if Trump is the nominee …

This is a bad year. I’ve been watching politics since 1980. I’ve been blogging about it, off and on, for the last 15 years. I’ve never seen anything like this. Even Gore and Obama had their redeeming features. Even Bush and Dole had reasons to vote for them. I look at this field — a socialist, a criminal, a fascist and a twerp — and all I can think is, “please, someone else.”

No, You Can’t Sue

Hillary Clinton, feeling the heat of Bernie Sanders’ surging campaign, has decided to go after him for his support for the limited legal immunity given to gun owners. This attack became particularly sharp after Sanders gave an interview in which he said the families of the Sandy Hook victims should not be able to sue the gun manufacturers for damages, a statement that prompted this hysterical reaction from the New York Daily News:

LGF2440

However, this is one issue where Bernie is absolutely right and Clinton is absolutely wrong.

The liability protections for gun companies were created in the mid-2000s. The reason it was created was because Democrats like Richard Daley and Andrew Cuomo were trying to use the Courts to bypass the legislatures. They were filing massive suits against gun manufacturers to hold them liable for the cost of people getting shot. Such lawsuits have no basis in common law or American legal tradition. You can sue people for making defective products or breaking the law (or lying about their products as the cigarette companies did). But you can’t sue someone who makes a perfectly legal product because you don’t like what people do with it. This would be like suing airplane manufacturers over 9/11. Or suing Apple because someone wrote something libelous on a Mac.

Walter Olson:

PLCAA codified the common-law principles that have long applied in tort claims following shootings: if an otherwise lawful firearm has performed as it was designed and intended to do, its maker and seller are not liable for its misuse. (Exceptions permit liability in some situations where, e.g., a defendant has broken regulations or knowingly sold to a buyer intent on harm.) In other words, Congress acted specifically to preserve the law’s traditional handling of gun liability as against activists’ efforts to develop novel legal doctrine.

A good way of visualizing it was posted by Harley on Facebook earlier this week:

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While the lawsuits were bullshit and were mostly rejected by judges and juries, the hope was that either a) one jury would get stupid and open the door to multi-billion dollar suits; or b) the pressure of being sued by governments with effectively unlimited legal resources would force gun companies to make changes to their guns or sales procedures. In fact, this is exactly what happened in 2000, when Bill Clinton coerced Smith and Wesson into adopting more restrictive sales procedures. That’s what’s really going on here: having failed to get gun control through Congress, the gun grabbers want to use the threat of lawsuits to enact gun control through the back door.

And that’s why Congress was absolutely right to put a stop to it. Because allowing anyone to bypass Congress and legislate through the courts is an invitation to disaster. Once you’ve opened that door, there’s nothing to stop interest groups from using it to do whatever the hell they want. There’s nothing to stop President Cruz from effectively outlawing abortion by allowing thousands of wrongful death suits against abortion providers. There’s nothing to stop President Lieberman from enacting censorship on movies and video games by suing claiming it causes violence. When you’ve embraced the idea that companies can be sued for doing something legal because you don’t like it, the entire rule of law is upended. All that has to happen is for an industry to become unpopular and they can be crushed.

Hillary Clinton is not an idiot. She knows this. Any Democrat with two brain cells to rub together knows this. But the gun grabber hysteria on the Left is too strong right now for them to say, “Uh, no I favor gun control but we can’t upend the rule of law to do it.” This is effectively what Bernie Sander is saying. And for that, he’s being castigated by a gullible press and a desperate Presidential candidate.

The Bernie Pill

The amazing thing about the Bernie Sanders campaign is that his ideas are so … tired. Nothing he has proposed — “free” healthcare, “free” college, “free” daycare — is particularly original or innovative. Sanders admits as much, saying that he wants is to imitate the model of the social democracies of Scandinavia. Of course, that itself is an indication of how outdated his ideas are. Many of those social democracies have moved beyond Sander’s 1970’s ideal of what they really are, privatizing and shrinking government and now enjoying comparable or even superior economic freedom compared to the United States.

Matt Welch has a thorough rundown of just how bad many of his ideas area. A lot of them are things I’ve hit on these pages: how expensive socialized medicine would be, how ineffective “universal pre-K” is, how bad a federal minimum wage of $15 would be. But it also hits a few topics I haven’t gotten around to such as Sanders’ opposition to reforming the VA:

Sanders was lucky the question wasn’t about his actual track record as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. As The New York Times reported in February, “a review of his record in the job…shows that in a moment of crisis, his deep-seated faith in the fundamental goodness of government blinded him, at least at first, to a dangerous breakdown in the one corner of it he was supposed to police.” Ouch.

What was Sanders doing in May 2014 instead of holding oversight hearings and sounding the alarm bell over a national disgrace? Complaining to The Nation magazine about “a concerted effort to undermine the V.A.,” led by “the Koch brothers and others,” who “want to radically change the nature of society, and either make major cuts in all of these institutions, or maybe do away with them entirely.”

(The VA, incidentally, was long upheld as the shining model of what single payer healthcare would be like in this country. Well … they weren’t entirely wrong about that. Much of Sanders’ blind support for the VA was precisely because he wanted it to be the example for single payer.)

You should read the whole thing.

So why is Sanders so popular? Is it because America loves his crackpot ideas? No.

First, like Trump, he really isn’t that popular. He’s drawing about half the votes in a Democratic primary, which means about 10% of the vote. If he were the nominee, he’d have to get a lot more independent and conservative votes, which I don’t see materializing unless Trump is the Republican nominee.

Also, like Trump, he’s appealing to economic populism. Sanders supporters hate it when you compare Trump to Sanders (which is one of the reasons I like doing it). But they both harp on a similar message — trade is bad, Washington doesn’t work, you’re being rooked, vote for me. That sort of populism traces through a long and diverse array of politicians from Roosevelt I to George Wallace to Trump/Sanders. It never has worked out.

(Both also prefer a more isolationist foreign policy; another key element of populism).

But I think the main reason, as I’ve said before, is that Sanders isn’t Clinton. Sanders is honest about what he thinks, has stayed positive and his earnestness is almost refreshing contrasted against the calculated fumbling of Clinton. Last week, the Clinton camp said she wouldn’t debate Sanders any more unless he changed his “tone”. Even for Clinton supporters, like the ever-reliable Vox, this was laughable. Sanders’ tone has been very respectful toward Clinton. The only thing she could complain about is that he’s called her out — accurately, as it happens — on such things as her Wall Street ties, her support for the Iraq War and her role in runaway criminalization.

In any case, I don’t expect Sanders to be the nominee. But I do expect that his success will lead to an insistence that his ideas are awesome and that this country is ready for socialism. Don’t be fooled. Single payer healthcare failed to gain support in Sanders own state once it became obvious how much it was going to cost. Even Clinton’s plans are going to require big tax increases that I don’t see the public swallowing.

So let the socialists enjoy their moment. Once the extent and cost of their ideal system becomes clear, support for it will evaporate. Because it’s one thing to promise the moon; anyone can do that. It’s another to actually deliver it.

(PS – Speaking of Vox, Yglesias has another article arguing that the Democrats shouldn’t be too concerned with how to pay for their pipe dreams. Since interest rates are low, he argues, we should be borrowing to pay for “investments”.

Yglesias is usually a reasonable voice but this is one area where he, and many liberals, have lost their minds. Interest rates will not remain low forever. And when they come up, we’ll not only have $19 trillion in debt to roll over, but massive structural deficits for all this new spending. Any increase in spending increase the baseline for future spending. Deficit spending now because interest rates are low is a long walk off a short plank.

Besides, it’s not like the deficit isn’t about to explode anyway.)

The Tax Man Cometh

I’ve been remiss in posting this week. I have several draft and should post them soon.

In the meantime, Vox put together a calculator that shows you how much each candidate’s tax plan would cost or save you based on your income and status. We don’t make a huge amount of money, but we’d be paying $13,000 more a year if Bernie Sanders got his way. Keep in mind; many experts don’t think Sanders raises taxes enough to pay for socialized medicine. And we’re not in “the rich”, who would see marginal rates of 75%.

Now liberals will counter that we’re getting “free” healthcare and “free” college tuition. But the latter will only happen if the states cooperate, which they won’t. And the former is nice, I guess, but I’m dubious that my employer will roll those savings directly into my salary. So under Sanders, we’d be paying way more in taxes, getting crappy socialized medicine and “free” college at the two institutions that go along with his plan.

And, you know … there’s still a part of me that prefers him to Clinton.

(Trump and Cruz show a few thousand in tax cuts. I’m going to ignore those for the time being since I’m assuming the GOP won’t cut spending that much or blow that big a hole in the budget. But I’ve been wrong before on their willingness to pile up debt in pursuit of tax cuts.)

The Free College Fraud

One of the big promises the Democratic party is making these days is that they are going to make college “more affordable” or even “free” for Americans at public colleges and universities. Clinton is proposing $350 billion in new spending to basically replace student loans. Bernie Sanders wanted to make tuition free at public universities, which is a big reason for his support among young people. Matt Yglesias, one of the few liberals who was previously skeptical of this idea, has now come along for the free ride.

Now, never mind that we are already spending a lot of public money on higher education. States are spending more money than ever, over $80 billion, supporting their universities (per student spending is down because enrollments have swelled). Pell Grants alone have tripled over the last 15 years. And we have made a series of moves to try to make college loans more available.

The result? Higher costs, more spending, more debt. Tens of billions pumped in without college becoming one cent more affordable. Is there any reason to believe that another $35 billion a year or $50 billion a year or $100 billion a year will suddenly achieve that the previous trillions of have not?

No. Because economics exists.

Let’s imagine that you run an industry making sprockets. Let’s say that the American people are willing and able to pay about $100 billion for your sprockets. What would happen if the federal government came in and said, “Sprockets are too expensive! We will give the sprocket industry $50 billion to lower prices!” Unless they actually force you to lower prices, you’re going to now charge $150 billion for those sprockets — the $100 billion that Americans are willing to pay out of their own pockets plus the $50 billion you’re now getting from the government.

Indeed, this is what almost every economist has concluded about the cost of higher education. Massive government subsidies — through grants, state spending, scholarships and undischargeable loans — has massively increased the cost of higher education. It has resulted in universities hiring armies of administrators to do everything under the sun. It has resulted in a bloated overweight industry in which faculty hires are flat and much of the actual teaching is done by poorly-paid adjuncts.

So what’s going to happen when Clinton pours another $350 billion into that pool? Colleges will just raise the cost of higher education by about $350 billion, mainly by increasing enrollment.

And what will happen if Bernie Sanders guarantees “free” college? What’s to stop Michigan State from charging $100,000 a year for tuition? What’s to stop Georgia from enrolling 200,000 students? Even if half of those students fail, there are plenty more who will jump at a “free” education. And do you think North Carolina or Tennesee or any other university will care if they’re admitting semi-literate idiots as long as they get their money? (answer: no).

Bill James:

Anyone who believes that this program is actually going to reduce the cost of college, pardon my pointing this out, is an imbecile. Why? Because the price of anything depends on a) how much of it is purchased, and b) how much money is available to purchase it … When you make more money available to purchase anything, it simply drives up the cost of whatever is being purchased. Certain portions of our voting population, for reasons that baffle me, seem unable to learn this. Anything and everything that the government “helps to make more affordable” automatically becomes dramatically more expensive. The government makes money available to purchase health care; the cost of health care skyrockets. The government makes money available to purchase education; the cost of education skyrockets. These are, in fact, the two main things that the governments wants to pour money into, and the cost of both of them has been skyrocketing since the moment the government decided to make them “affordable” … There was a study about 15-20 years ago about the costs of various surgical proceedings; it studied about 20 different common surgeries. The study found that the normal price of every surgery that the government paid for — such as coronary bypass surgery — had gone up tremendously during the period of the study, while the price of every surgery that the government would NOT pay for, such as liposuction, laser eye surgery, and cosmetic dental repairs, had DROPPED dramatically in the same period. My memory is that every surgery that the government refused to pay for had dropped in price by at least 70% over the course of the study, while other health care costs were increasingly rapidly. Well, OF COURSE it would. Anyone who has ever taken Economics 101 should KNOW that that is what would happen, and would expect it to happen … And yet, cynical politicians like Hilary Clinton keep INSISTING, generation after generation, millions after millions, billions after billions, trillions after trillions, that they are “making health care affordable” when they pour more money into its purchase! It is unbelievable to me that anyone actually believes that this is true … Look, if you want the cost of college to drop, STOP POURING MONEY INTO ITS PURCHASE. Of course we have to help poor people get access to education; of course we have to help minorities get a fair shake. But the rest of us are NOT being helped by this insane policy.

As James noted in later discussions, the only way government have stayed out of this trap is by rationing and price-controlling. In the case of healthcare, limiting the number of procedures performed or capping doctor’s fees; in the case of higher education, limiting the number of students who go to college or limiting what universities can charge. No sane government would create a system where colleges could admit as many students as they wanted and charge whatever they wanted with a federal guarantee of payment.

Indeed, countries that guarantee “free education” send way fewer students to college than we do and limit what their colleges can spend. The problem is that this would never happen in the United States. It would never happen because academics are one of the most reliable sources of Democratic votes in the universe (95%, a level of party loyalty only seen among evangelical Christians, which make sense given that some academic sounds like they’re speaking in tongues). And it would never happen because public universities and colleges are state-controlled institutions.

Again … this is not rocket surgery. This is basic economics. No one would with an IQ larger than Donald Trump’s jock size thinks that just handing over money to an industry is a good idea. Clinton is not an idiot (Sanders might be). She certainly has people around her who understand this. The Democrats have repeatedly called for price controls or rationing in federal healthcare (they don’t call it that; they call it “negotiation”; but that’s what it is).

But when it comes to the cost controls necessary for “free” education, both candidates are oddly silent. Sanders’ “plan” is just a vague promise of free education with no sense of cost control. Clinton’s is more detailed but, if I understand it, would subsidize the states on the promise that they would control college costs. Even if the states controlled costs, they would do so by cutting their own subsidies to higher education so that they could spend it on something else (the same way that they used the lottery to fund K-12 education).

So why are Democrats pushing this nonsense? Why won’t they admit that the only this would make education more affordable is by forcing universities to cap costs or enroll fewer students? Part of this is to avoid pissing off their base of support among young people and academics. But there’s something else going on here. James again:

I refuse to believe that Hilary is actually stupid enough that she doesn’t realize what she is doing. She (and her cohorts) are deliberately driving up the cost of education in order to make the middle class dependent on the government

Give that man a cigar!

Remember a few years ago when the Obama Administration put out “the Life of Julia”? It depicts a woman going from cradle to grave with government subsidy after government subsidy directing her life. It created such a backlash that I can’t even find the original to link it. All the top links are mockeries, debunkings and parodies.

What creates more dependence? People paying $10,000 out of their own pockets for a $10,000 higher education? Or people paying $10,000 out of their pockets and getting $30,000 in government grants for a $40,000 education?

This is the Democratic vision for America — total dependence upon the state from cradle to grave with every election being an auction between two big parties promising ever greater baubles.

The bad news is that, at this point, it seems that Clinton is very likely to be the next President. And if she isn’t, Sanders might be. And if he isn’t, Trump might be and God know what Trump will do. The good news, however, is that none of this can get done without Congress.

This will be a recurring them with me for the next eight months. It would be nice if the Republicans won the White House. But is absolutely vital that they retain the House, if not the Senate as well. It’s the only way to keep a cap on this madness.