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I Don't Need Your Stinking Independence
My Weekend with Bernie

By The Cynic

When I get bored (I mean really bored), I'll watch CSPAN's coverage of House proceedings. This is the equivalent of a self-performed root canal, but I believe it to be important to check out our elected officials in action. While the debating and pandering can becoming somewhat tedious, with the "distinguished gentleman" banter and the trading of time on the floor, I like to watch the actual vote take place.

As the votes come up, CSPAN puts a graphic on the screen with columns for "Yea," "Nay" and "Not Voting." Along the left side of the graphic, they show the vote breakdown according to Democrat, Republic and Independent. We have only one Independent Congressman and it has always warmed my heart to know that somewhere in this country, a district decided to forego two party politics and elect a third party candidate for national office. So I decided to spend my weekend examining our only Independent Congressman, House member at-large from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders ran for Vermont's only House seat in 1990. The former mayor of Burlington, VT easily defeated the incumbent Republican candidate by a whopping 16 percentage points. He was reelected twice and is currently up for reelection.

Bernie is a self described democratic-socialist (shhh... hear that? That's the sound of my heart breaking), he believes that the rich pay too little in taxes and that our health system should mirror Canada's. He wants the government to control milk prices and prescription drug costs. In short, he wants your government to have a hand in everything, cradle to grave, and this is really a shame. I had really hoped to find a candidate with new views and fresh ideas, instead I found someone peddling recycled Euro-socialism to Americans.

His solution for Social Security solvency is to raise the "artificial ceiling" of social security, as any income above $65,400 is currently exempt. Now using this theory, if we were to remove the artificial ceiling and make all income eligible for Social Security withholding it would help immediately, but what is to happen when Bill Gates retires? You see, Social Security is not really a tax. Social Security is our government acting as a bank and holding our money until we retire. All of Bill Gates' Social Security withholding will be due back to him. Bill Gates won't need Social Security when he retires, however we will owe it to him. Bernie has to be banking on the fact that there will be some new rich guy for us to pick on when the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet retire, because otherwise the funds won't be there to support it.

Bill Gates is one of Bernie's favorite targets. In an article named The Big Get Bigger, The Rich Get Richer (Roll Call 7/10/00), Bernie writes:

"Bill Gates has made history. According to Forbes magazine, he has reached a mark even most financial analysts never thought possible: He has been named the richest man in America for the fourth straight year, topping $85 billion in 1999. Incredibly, Gates now owns more personal wealth than the bottom 40 percent of American households combined"

So let me get this straight, Bernie. Is your thinking here that Bill Gates doesn't deserve it? That somehow he has no responsibility for the fact that this "bottom 40 percent" considerably benefited from the work of Microsoft and the thousands of companies that were created because of his Windows software? That this booming economy that has lifted people's incomes and raised the American standard of living had absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft? Please.

Bill Gates has more to do with the success of our economy than our President, Congress and, yes, even Alan Greenspan. His Windows software was the starting block for every dot com success, every recovery of a fledgling computer manufacturer and just about every advancement in computer technology. These companies are the ones that, either directly or indirectly, supply jobs for this bottom 40 percent. It has provided income for them to eat and shelter themselves. These companies have given them the opportunity to save and to invest in portfolios that uses the success of these same companies to provide for their retirement, therefore reducing their need for Social Security. The reason Bill Gates earns more then 40 percent of American households is that he contributes more then that 40 percent. 

On his home page, , it states:

"Sanders believes that every American should be guaranteed comprehensive medical care as a right of citizenship, with no out-of-pocket expense. A longtime supporter of a Canadian-style single payer health care plan, in 1990 he introduced legislation to establish such a plan for the U.S. on a state-by-state basis."

A friend of mine, who is from Canada (yaheydare), has a sister who works as a nurse in a Canadian hospital. She told me that Canadians are being forced to wait for over 6 months to receive an MRI. I can call my doctor and have an MRI scheduled within a few days. I don't even need an MRI. Why in the world would you want American health care to resemble that? The Canadian model suffers from what is known as moral hazard. Moral hazard basically means that when something is free people will take advantage of it regardless of need. The result being that Emergency rooms are filled with cases of hangnails and victims of the common cold, occupying the staff when it's time could better spent on real emergency cases. When a government controls your health care, it leaves the system vulnerable to neglect. Your elected officials won't react to it until it becomes politically expedient to do so. For many, this will be too late.

Bernie goes on to describe many ways that he could have the government fix all that ails us, although it usually results in us paying more in taxes and stifling innovation for the sake of "working families." There is a reason why America leads the world in standard of living and innovation, it's called free markets and free will. We put the power in the hands of those who can create and innovate and try to leave little to the hands of such high minded pointy heads such as Mr. Sanders.

I really want a serious third party movement in this country, preferably the Libertarian party. We need new visions and new directions for our growing country and the major two parties are stale and unthoughtful. While Bernie runs for office under the guise of Independence, he offers exactly the opposite. He wants the government to be the providers and for the people to be punished for their achievements. Frankly, this is one style of independence that I could do without.

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The Cynic, 2000

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View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.

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