The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

An Open Letter to Bernie Supporters


Dear all,

Many of you will soon be first-time voters, and one of the student favorites appears to be Democratic candidate and junior senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders has managed to capture nearly a third of the Democratic primary voters in the polls because of his integrity, captivating message on labor rights and equal pay, and his charisma.

Bernie Sanders is a self-proclaimed socialist and has sought out to demonstrate to America that the word once used as an insult to the President could just be another political demographic. His main message revolves around fixing income inequality through measures such as wealth taxes, which in their purpose and quality are aimed at the top of the American income brackets.

He is one of the few significant candidates in recent history to represent the most economically-liberal wing of the Democratic Party. But, while he is a man of integrity and his message resonates with the millions of intended voters he boasts, Bernie Sanders is the wrong man for America.

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This is shown first and foremost through his plans to solve income inequality. Sanders proposes the same kind of punitive measures which European socialists and social-democrats have been pushing since the 1950s, particularly more and more taxes. But the Vermonter’s philosophy seems to criticize obvious flaws in the market economy rather than to propose practical solutions.

To stop this so-called rigging, Sanders has proposed taxes which would devastate the economy. For example, Senator Sanders recently introduced to the senate S. 1371, which seeks to tax securities and stock transactions. He proposes taxing 0.005% of all transactions, claiming this will stop (or reduce) the speculation, a phenomena that has often been faulted as being the cause of the 1998 Tech Bubble and the 2008 Subprime mortgage crash.

While taxing transactions instead of capital gains may disincentivize speculation (because it will cause traders will be more cautious with their money), it will certainly cause distortions in the market. Trading and exchanges will become significantly less efficient, the effect being the one he is trying to avoid. Sanders would take pride in slowing down stock market transactions as he has a habit of separating stock from the “real world”.

Sanders often refers to Europe as this shining beacon on a hill. Of course, were he European (like yours truly), he might not be so quick to call it out as the holy grail of economies. European socialism (what he refers to) has been the continent’s demise.

Europe has been mismanaged. For all the praise it gets, cannot solve income inequality. This failure starts with how EU nations treat business. In France a net number of 40,000 millionaires have left the national territory for “greener pastures” since the 1990s. France seems to be a good reason for which European socialism is no good model because France is very comparable country in Europe to America.

So while Sanders tries to make comparisons to Sweden and Denmark’s overly-revered redistributive policies, he really should be talking about the failures of French socialism in terms of comparability and sustainability (in that France is a country 31 Fortune 500 companies are based and the country is the World’s seventh exporter). Can the US, a country where 198 of the World Fortune 500 companies are, be compared to Denmark where only a handful of companies are valued at over a billion dollars? Of course not.

A big mistake in the Vermonter’s strategy to solve income inequality is the idea that you can fix it from the top-down while it should be the other way around. He thinks that by scraping off from the top he can lower inequality by giving more to the bottom, rather than building from the bottom-up.

America shouldn’t be worried about income inequality, but should focus on income inequity (are people being paid their worth?). And it matters less that the abstract figure of income inequality rises, people should be more focused on whether or not individual income groups are getting wealthier by the year (more specifically, is the speed at which their income grows greater than inflation?).

Ending serious income inequity starts with lowering unemployment and then incentivizing companies to pay their employees their worth, via legislation. This should be the philosophy leading the fight against income inequity: work to make everyone wealthier, not make some poorer to make others richer. Furthermore, why wouldn’t America’s rich simply leave as they did in France? There are other nice places in the world where being richer is easier. With the availability of remote technology, they need not be on-site to lead their businesses.

Sanders is the presidential races’ champion of workers. He believes progressivism will end the income inequality he claims is as great as it was before the Great Depression, during the boom years of the ‘roaring twenties’. He believes ending corporate greed will solve all of America’s problems. This idea, noble as it is, is impractical and unachievable.

By Henri-Nicolas Grossman

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