Senator Bernie Sanders, who recently suspended his presidential campaign, offered a self-described “Democratic Socialist” plan for America. To realize Sanders’ ideals, it would have cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars.
In peak 2020 irony, the Congress and Senate signed a unanimous bipartisan fiscal stimulation plan that dwarfs Sanders’ socialist agenda. The multitrillion-dollar package is both a corporate and individual socialist-type plan of unprecedented magnitude.
In a true capitalistic society, companies would be allowed to fail and go out of business. American citizens would have to tighten their belts and not expect any handouts from the government. This is not happening.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who served four terms starting from around the Great Depression through World War II, enacted unheard-of social programs, such as the establishment of Social Security. Over the years, we’ve continued to adopt more empathetic social programs. Now, we’re doing this on steroids.
The following is a comparison of Sanders’ presidential platform versus what’s inside the business, economy and individual bailout program, officially called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Sanders, from his official website, called for the following:
- Create a Medicare for All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service.
- Guarantee tuition and debt-free public colleges, universities, HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions and trade-schools to all.
- Cancel all student loan debt for the some 45 million Americans who owe about $1.6 trillion and place a cap on student loan interest rates going forward at 1.88%
- Expand Social Security benefits for all recipients and protect pensions.
- Protect tenants by implementing a national rent control standard, a “just-cause” requirement for evictions, and ensuring the right to counsel in housing disputes.
- Free, high-quality child care and pre-kindergarten for all.
The Cares Act is the largest program ever enacted in America’s history to directly inject money into our economy that’s been decimated, in part, by our federal and state governments’ delayed response in dealing with COVID-19.
Congress has authorized an unprecedented $2 trillion dollars to aid American citizens and companies. The mandated closures of business and stay-at-home decrees have dealt a near-fatal blow to individuals and companies alike. In the last three weeks, nearly 17 million people—10% of the workforce—filed for first-time unemployment benefits. The numbers are believed to be even higher, as state offices complained that they were so overwhelmed with people attempting to file for their benefits. Phone lines and websites were so overrun that they couldn’t process everyone. The Federal Reserve Bank predicted we can soon see nearly 50 million people unemployed.
Here is what both large corporations and everyday people will receive:
- Individuals who earn $75,000 or under that amount will receive direct payments of $1,200. Married couples who earn up to $150,000 will get $2,400.
- On top of this, $500 per child will be added to that number.
- About 90% of Americans would be eligible to receive full or partial payments.
- Unemployment benefits will be greatly enhanced. This includes extending unemployment insurance by 13 weeks along with an additional $600 per week, over and above what the recipient would receive from their state program. They’d be eligible for 39 weeks of unemployment benefits.
- The new program will include, for the first time, freelancers, furloughed employees and gig-economy workers.
- This program is estimated to cost roughly $250 billion.
- Roughly $367 billion in federally-guaranteed loans have been allocated to a program to help small businesses. They could obtain loans—that would be forgiven—if they don’t layoff workers for a specified time period.
- On the corporate side, troubled companies will have access to money from a Federal Reserve Bank controlled $425 billion fund. An extra $75 billion will be made available for loans and grants to airlines and hotels.
- $100 billion is available to hospitals and health systems.
- About $25 billion is set aside for food stamps and nutrition for children.
- Emergency education funding for colleges and universities, states and school districts amounts to $30 billion.
- Student loans payments will be suspended without penalty up to September 30.
This is not the end. Our politicians in Washington are working on an additional trillion-dollar, follow-up stimulus bill.
While the Care Act doesn’t directly match Sanders’ platform, it’s eerily similar in that an almost unimaginable amount of money is being handed out to people and companies. A big difference is that many of the industries, such as the airlines and aircraft manufacturers, will be bailed out.
These companies are being rewarded for their poor management decisions—including self-enrichment due to stock buybacks and arrogantly not putting money away for a crisis—that came to light in the wake of the coronavirus.
Only in 2020 could we have a president, who is an avowed capitalist, steward the greatest Socialist program in modern history.