The Fallacy of Getting Free Stuff From Uncle Bernie

By | January 25, 2016

Let’s discuss the argument that was mentioned in a comment on my first post and is echoed all over the internet. Let me quote the comment I am discussing:

So, basically you were never a conservative and now you think Uncle Bernie is going to fart money to make everything free so your voting for him.

I’ll ignore the first part. Maybe I wasn’t. maybe I supported Bush but was still trying to find myself. Lots of people do this.

The second part is what I am curious about. First, the implication is that I want free stuff. The two main items floating around are free healthcare and free college. Let’s go one at a time.

Well, I work hard and pay for my insurance currently. I pay a lot for this (or my wife does. We use her companies because my workplaces insurance is horrible). And honestly, under the Affordable Care Act my insurance went up. A lot. Let’s look a bit at Bernie’s plan for this. First, what is single payer healthcare? NPR actually just had an article on this

A single payer refers to a system in which one entity (usually the government) pays all the medical bills for a specific population. And usually (though, again, not always) that entity sets the prices for medical procedures.

A single-payer system is not the same thing as socialized medicine. In a truly socialized medicine system, the government not only pays the bills but also owns the health care facilities and employs the professionals who work there.

FeelTheBern does a good job breaking down the ideas behind Bernie’s plan, and if you want it from the campaign directly go here. Needless to say, the plan itself would save taxpayers money. The link to the campaign breakdown of the plan explains:

Last year, the average working family paid $4,955 in premiums and $1,318 in deductibles to private health insurance companies. Under this plan, a family of four earning $50,000 would pay just $466 per year to the single-payer program, amounting to a savings of over $5,800 for that family each year.

And the second part of the plan that is “free” is the college tuition plan. As discussed on the campaign website, this is not a radical idea:

This is not a radical idea. Last year, Germany eliminated tuition because they believed that charging students $1,300 per year was discouraging Germans from going to college. Next year, Chile will do the same. Finland, Norway, Sweden and many other countries around the world also offer free college to all of their citizens. If other countries can take this action, so can the United States of America.

In fact, it’s what many of our colleges and universities used to do. The University of California system offered free tuition at its schools until the 1980s. In 1965, average tuition at a four-year public university was just $243 and many of the best colleges – including the City University of New York – did not charge any tuition at all. The Sanders plan would make tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout the country.

We can go into both of these more in depth later, but this is about me wanting free stuff from Uncle Bernie. The statement itself ignores that we all already pay a lot in taxes and get a lot from the government. What Bernie supporters are seeking is for their money already being taken by the US government to be spent on the things that matter. Many want you to think that we spend all sorts of money on social programs already. Not so! ThinkByNumbers notes:

About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.

And The CheatSheet notes the list of the biggest recipients of this, including Boeing at $13.18 billion a year, Alcoa at $5.64 billion and Nike at $2.03 billion. They note the total of these subsidies is likely over $110 billion. I doubt anyone is going to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump or other candidates supporters and saying:

You just want to vote for Auntie Hillary so she will fart money and give Goldman Sach free stuff.

Wait, they already do? According to Policy.Mic they received over $660 million. No wonder they can afford to pay such high speaking fees and I’m sure expect NOTHING in return.

So, no. I expect to continue paying my fair share but I want my tax dollars to go to a better investment. I want to invest in the future of our nation by increasing the number of well educated students and ensuring the health of our citizens is taken care of.

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