It is fair to say that Bernie Sanders has received a quite sensational surge in popularity over recent months. His increased popularity comes as a result of the idealism which he exhibits, which has appealed to many a disaffected American. However, while this surge in popularity could come as a newfound victory for American progressivism as a whole, it means that not enough people are taking the time and effort to properly analyse his economic policies, which are quite frankly ludicrous and absurd. While I admit that some of his progressive policies, such as to greatly decrease unnecessary government spending, would actually help the economy, most of the policies which he goes on and on about are simply not going to work. The first absurd policy of his, which I will hopefully try to debunk here, is the Robin Hood tax on Wall Street speculators.
In Sanders’ own words, he wants to “establish a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street speculators”, which is basically a speculation fee of just 0.03 percent on the sale of credit default swaps, derivatives, options, futures, and large amounts of stock”. According to Sanders, this “would reduce gambling on Wall Street, encourage the financial sector to invest in the job-creating productive economy, and reduce the deficit by $352 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.” The only problem with this is the fact that the tax would cost future users of the aforementioned financial products, while also shrinking the economy. The logical conclusion to garner from this is that wages would be reduced, which means that the government would actually receive less in revenue now than they would have before. The $352 billion which this policy alleges to save would be dwarfed by the amount that the government would lose from a lesser revenue in tax, so in fact, this policy is disadvantageous and would not work.
His socialist views will also mean that America’s “welfare state” would expand. As seen in Britain during the Labour era, this does not work and only serves to create a culture of entitlement. This directly goes against the purported “American Dream” where everyone can have a happy and good lifestyle if they work hard. If Sanders somehow got himself into the presidency, the American Dream would be nothing more than words on paper, as people could quite easily just sit at home, doing nothing, and still make enough money to survive. While I am not against handouts for people that need the money, such as the disabled, I am firmly against rewarding the able unemployed simply because of their laziness. I acknowledge that some people may not be able to find a job also, however the expansion of the welfare state simply means that there is no incentive to anymore. This would simply breed economic stagnation, which is most definitely bad for America, as in my opinion, it is a symptom of laziness and breeds radicalism (which I will write about in another article).
Sanders also says that he wants to “establish a currency manipulation fee on China and other countries”. He backs this up by saying “China is manipulating its currency, giving it an unfair trade advantage over the United States and destroying decent paying manufacturing jobs in the process. If we imposed a currency manipulation fee on China and other currency manipulators, the Economic Policy Institute has estimated that we could raise $500 billion over 10 years and create 1 million jobs in the process.” The problem is that China’s devaluation of the yuan actually makes imports cheaper, meaning that the U.S. consumer will be able to buy goods for cheaper prices, which can only be good for their amounts of disposable income. Sanders stopping this happening means that the working class man or woman which he so heavily identifies with will get poorer and poorer, as his or her real purchasing power is being depleted by this frankly egregious policy. One of the main policies which the Sanders campaign is striking into the hearts of everyday Americans is to help the working class man or woman. If that is the case, then why is he so eager to deplete their purchasing power? This is a question which can only be answered by the man himself, but regardless, the fact remains that this policy is counterproductive, as are all of the aforementioned, in my opinion.