Saturday, January 30, 2016

What Will Happen after a Sanders Win...And Why That Scares Me

If Bernie Sanders becomes president, as a man who seems to be an unusually honest for a politician,  it's reasonable to assume he'll keep most of his campaign promises.

These are some promises he made in a recent Rolling Stone interview, verbatim.  The media is doing a very good job of lending support to those proposals (shown in italics), so here, for balance, after each, I raise my concerns.

A national health care program that guarantees health care to all people. 

Because the 29 million currently uninsured are, on average, low-pay high-need, atop of the newly covered people under ObamaCare plus the millions more that will be covered after "comprehensive immigration reform," the following is likely: 
  • Pay for doctors, physical therapists, registered nurses, etc. will drop because the redistributionist Sanders administration will hold all the cards. That will further increase the already well-documented trend toward early exodus. That will lower quality below its, little-discussed but truly frightening level:
--  One in three patients admitted to a U.S. hospital will experience a medical error. One in three.
--  Every year, 350,000 patients die from medical errors in U.S. hospitals alone. Every year. That makes medical errors the third leading cause of death, right behind heart disease and cancer.
--  Every day, 10,000 people suffer from unnecessary complications. Every day.
The shortage of health care providers will, of course, also lengthen wait-times to see a physician, get an operation, etc. Canada and England already suffer mightily from this and the U.S. has a much higher percentage of high-need but low-paying patients, so we can expect even longer waits.

Hard-bargaining by the government will result in lower payments to drug companies and medical equipment suppliers. Yes, that will save money but disincent development of new drugs and equipment.

We may, as a nation, decide that health care is a right. But is it a right for non-payers to get the same level of care as the people who have paid mightily into the system?

Make public colleges and universities tuition-free.  

The net impact would be to extend what we do K-12 to K-16. And how's K-12 system working? While we spend #1 per capita in the world on education, we rank near the bottom among developed nations in student achievement. And despite a half-century and literally trillions of dollars specifically to close the achievement gap, it remains nearly as wide as ever.  And of course, if the users of colleges (its students) aren't paying but the taxpayer is, is that fair? Plus, if the students have no skin in the game, they have less motivation to pick well let alone do well in college. 

We need a massive federal jobs program. We have legislation that I will fight for, which would create up to 13 million jobs. 

But we already spend trillions in taxes on infrastructure, etc.   Do we truly feel that spending more to provide a job for someone whom no one wants to hire is a worthy use of our hard-earned money? 

Raise the minimum wage to a living wage...Whether you're living in some rural area, whether you're living in New York City... $15 an hour is the benchmark we should be shooting for.

The net result will be much less hiring: either through automation or simply not hiring.  Many entry-level job seekers simply wouldn't add sufficient value to justify the cost: $15 an hour plus ObamaCare, Social Security, Medicare, Disability, and the costs of employee lawsuits.

Thus many employers would take a loss on each such employee, even if they were perfectly reliable, good learners, excellent communicators, low-maintenance, honest, and never sued the employer. Just as ATMs, electronic tolltakers, and supermarket self-checkout have cost millions of low-pay jobs, the more the minimum wage is raised, the more jobs will be eliminated or automated.

For example, the Washington Post worries that fast-food workers will be early to the chopping block. Already, walk into a Panera, Chili's, Applebys, or Olive Garden, and your "waiter" can be an iPad bolted to your table--no tipping or annoying, interruptive waitperson.
Automated baristas  and bartenders now threaten to eliminate even those last-resort jobs.

BuzzFeed suggests that even higher-end restaurants will replace chefs with robotic ones--Could we really tell, let alone care, if our salad was made by Roboto than Roberto? 

Of course, automation would have continued anyway but doubling the cost of a minimum-wage employee from $7.25 to $15 an hour plus the proportionate benefits must accelerate the job loss. Ironically, that will end up hurting the very segment of the population Sanders professes to care most about. 

Also, redistributing that income from business owners to low-end workers takes money from the job creators and innovators to give to people whose spending has less ripple effect. Instead of expanding the business which creates jobs or innovations while providing the nation with better products and services, redistributing money to the poor means the money will more likely be spent on things with low ripple effect.

Who's gonna pay for all this? 

On the campaign trail, Sanders talks about taxing "The Billionaire Class." When pushed, he expands to Wall Street and multimillion-dollar inheritances but even that won't come close to paying for his programs. 

In fact, a just-released independent report by the Tax Foundation indicates that Sanders' proposals would raise tax revenue over the next ten years by $13.6 trillion, with a projected "net loss of income to the average American (who already is struggling to make ends meet, let alone save enough for retirement or even to pay back student loans)  of at least (emphases mine) 12.84 percent."

Sanders proposals that will cost us in non-cash ways

Everybody in this country who is 18 or older would be eligible to vote (without having to register.)  

That will result in an electorate less able to vote intelligently and more subject to candidates' manipulative speeches and ads. Will that improve America?

Take marijuana out of the Controlled Substances Act and allow those states – there are four, plus D.C., and others will follow – to do what they wanna do and legalize marijuana.

Marijuana is far more dangerous than the media would have us believe. Per my TIME review of the literature , even the Obama Administration has concluded that marijuana not only damages memory and motivation, it increases risk of serious mental health problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and automobile accidents.   

Indeed, since legalization in Washington state, pot-related accidents have skyrocketed.

I'd sooner make alcohol illegal than legalize marijuana. Of course, compliance wouldn't be perfect but perfect is the enemy of the good. Prohibition caused a dramatic reduction in alcohol use and the attendant misery to the drinkers, family, coworkers, and car-accident victims.

 So what's a person to do?
Even all this couldn't make me vote for Donald Trump but Hillary's proposals are only slightly less leftist as Sanders'. I may just stay home and have a glass of wine.  

1 comment:

Dave said...

To me, Clinton is right-of-center. The Democratic Party today is what the Republican Party was 40 years ago. The Obamacare that she wants to retain is less radical than Nixon's proposals for health care reform (Nixoncare); Obamacare is just a watered down version of Nixoncare. Nixoncare was rejected because the Democrats felt it hadn't gone far enough.

Same goes for the economy. Nixon and his contemporaries were Kenynesians; it was Reaganomics that rolled back the Kenyesian reforms and all that had been achieved with FDR's New Deal. Rockefellor and Jacob Javitz were much more pragmatic than today's Republicans. Today's Republicans are ideological and extremist -- both in domestic and foreign policy.

Why do you think the Glass-Stiegal Act was repealed in the 1990s? The Democrats allowed this to happen. Sanders in the lone wolf on the left.