Tom Schatz, President, Citizens Against Government Waste
In a galaxy not too far away and a little too close to Earth lies Planet Bernie.
Everything is free from birth to death. There is a government program for education, medical care, housing, and retirement, all 100 percent guaranteed and paid for. No one has to work because they get paid the same amount if they sit around and do nothing. Since recreational drugs are legal, the incentive to sit around and get paid is greater than the incentive to work. Energy is generated without coal, gas, or nuclear power. There are no guns or borders. Crime pays because no one is incarcerated and there are no law enforcement officers.
The Bernie Bros have absolute fealty to Bernie and are in charge of the ministries. They make all decisions for everyone and there is no freedom of choice.
The government owns and monitors all means of communication. There are no private companies to innovate and invest in new technology. There is only the Bernie Show on the Bernie Channel on the Bernie Network.
The government makes everything, including pharmaceuticals. There are no private companies to innovate and invest in new drugs. Vaccines and cures for new diseases, if they occur at all, take far longer to research, develop, and test because there is no competition.
Schools teach only the following courses: “Communism and Socialism,” “The Philosophy of Bernie,” and “How to Be a Berniecrat.” Everyone is of course well-educated.
Energy blackouts are routine, often for several consecutive days, because green energy proves to be both extremely costly and completely insufficient.
The hundreds of trillions of dollars needed to pay for Planet Bernie’s free stuff was supposed to come from the richest inhabitants. But interplanetary travel has enabled them to leave. Without them, the Berniecrats confiscate all pay from those who decide to work, and then decide how much goes back the workers and how much gets redistributed to everyone who does not work.
Workers get the same pay, wear the same clothes, live in the same housing, and have the same limited access to scarce food and supplies due to production limits and price controls. The workers therefore cannot produce enough income to fund government services. The unitary government on Planet Bernie goes bankrupt and everyone lives in complete anarchy. Everything for everyone has turned in to nothing for anyone.
Planet Bernie is not science fiction. On Sen. Sander’s campaign website, he uses “for all” eight times, including banking, college, high-speed internet, housing, jobs, and Medicare. He calls for taxing the rich to pay for most of these new “basic rights” or “human rights” that do not exist anywhere except in his imagination, because they are certainly not in the Constitution.
The cost of his proposals could exceed $150 trillion over 10 years, or 2.5 times greater than total projected federal spending of $60.7 trillion over the same period of time. The impact of his plans to socialize the healthcare system, including price controls, could lead to between 30 and 60 percent fewer new drugs, which is a prescription for disaster. His proposals to tax the rich do not raise anywhere near the amount needed to finance his socialist programs, both by his own admission and analyses from both sides of the political spectrum.
Yet, Planet Bernie seems to be a popular destination, as a February 11, 2020 Gallup Poll found 76 percent of Democrats would vote for a socialist.
But, before they take the long trip into outer space, they should observe the devastating effects of socialism right here on Earth. Since they are still allowed to read something other than the Philosophy of Bernie and watch something other than the Bernie Channel, they should read publications like The Case Against Socialism, The Problem with Socialism, and Socialism Sucks, and watch first-hand reports from people who have lived in countries like North Korea and Venezuela.
As Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said about her 1989 trip to the Soviet Union and seeing the family she visited did not have a car, a telephone, refrigeration, or running water, with only one bicycle and a horse and buggy for their farming needs: “I mean, they hungered for the freedoms that we have in the United States. So, for those that are seeking socialism, I would say all you have to do is look around this world and see where socialism has failed and how people that live in those countries so long to be free.”
Everything for nothing sounds great. But that is not how socialism works. Fortunately, for now, no one is being forced to live on Planet Bernie.
Thomas A. Schatz joined Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and its lobbying affiliate, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), as director of government affairs in 1986. He has been president of both organizations since 1992.