Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I'd vote for Bernie if I could

Spoiler alert: I can't vote in any US election, primary or otherwise, being a Canadian citizen. But that doesn't stop me from saying that if I were American, Bernie would be my choice.
Its not that I dislike Hillary Clinton, its that she is representative of a political machine and philosophy that is broken. Don't get me wrong, I identify with many planks she represents, but the political baggage she carries is the same trash that's infected so many other otherwise well-meaning politicos over the generation.
I'm not generally a high-tax kinda guy. But I don't necessarily have a problem paying them. What I oppose is how my tax dollars are spent from time to time.
Bernie isn't advocating trillions of dollars in "new" free stuff. In fact, its not that at all. He is just stating that the free stuff handed out by the other folks is not the free stuff he believes as relevant priorities in today's world.
Bernie calls for free college education, calls for a universal health care system. While both ideas are not cheap, neither is the F-35 fighter at $400 billion; or the George Bush Iraq war at over $2 trillion.
I would imagine that healthcare and education would be pricy in the budget, but if you're spending less on interventionist wars around the world, spending less on outrageously generous corporate subsidies (while they get incentives to ship jobs off shore), you can find the room needed.
What isn't being measured in this numbers game is that by having a healthier citizen, better educated citizen, America would be more productive, more profitable and need more (higher skilled) workers. Higher skilled workers with higher pay = spending money in the economy generating more job growth. Healthier citizens = less time spend in hospitals using up precious time/space and saving money.
This formula already proved itself. When veterans came home from the war in Europe and Japan in the 40's, the G.I. Bill provided (among other items) education funding. The result was 40 years of the most robust economic growth in America.
America also used to have a fair tax regime, where those of the greatest means paid a higher share of taxes. This adequate and fair tax system provided for the public investment in highways, dams, telecommunications, schools, and yes - a robust national defence. This trust was broken by the Reagan policies and further eroded by leaders following; including Democrats like Bill Clinton.
Its not that Bernie Sanders wants to turn America into Sweden, or Cuba, or otherwise. He's looking to restore the American promise that once existed under previous leaders like Franklin Roosevelt, or even Dwight Eisenhower.
A society where everyone pulls together so that all can have a chance is what can make America great again. Not the divisive hate-politics of fear of Donald Trump, and sadly, Hillary Clinton doesn't offer anything that shifts America in the right direction. While continuing on with the legacy of Obama at the pace his change was working might be fine for some folks. But for others, who have been hurting for far too long, Hillary represents more of the same and not real change.
I can't vote in America. But if I could, I'd vote for Bernie Sanders.