Bernie Sanders' success in the Democratic primary is a sure sign that many liberal Americans have swung leftward to embrace a "socialist" label that even Barack Obama avoided during his own campaign just eight years ago.
The Wall Street Journal reported
that Sanders is "so liberal he resisted joining the Democratic Party for decades" and "hasn’t changed his views since his first election to office 35 years ago."
Gathered below are 10 socialist ideas the Vermont senator is pushing in his race for the White House.
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1. Free college
— Sanders has earned the support of millions of young people by promising free college for all. By some estimates, however, the "free" college could cost taxpayers $70 billion annually, according to an estimate by U.S. News
2. Single-payer healthcare
— Sanders would love to get the government even more involved in the healthcare system than it has been in the age of the Obamacare and VA scandals. Sanders envisions "a Medicare for all single-payer healthcare system" that would replace private insurance companies with government programs. According to one estimate highlighted by the Fiscal Times
, Sanders' plan would add $14 trillion to the national debt.
3. Scandinavian-style socialism
— Throughout his campaign, Sanders has said the socialism he envisions is akin to that of Sweden, and he has sought to distance himself from socialism’s Cold War stigma. During his appearance over the weekend on "Saturday Night Live," Sanders poked fun at himself with the help of actor Larry David, but did make sure to note that he believes in "democratic socialism" and not just "socialism." "What’s the difference?" David asked during their sketch. "Yuuuuge difference," said Sanders, Raw Story reported
4. Massive wealth redistribution
— In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama had to backpedal after he said his proposed tax plan would "spread the wealth around." Eight years later, Sanders is running on an outright socialist platform, promising a number of big-government programs that would require a massive increase in taxes, as well as a massive transference of wealth.
5. Political revolution aimed at the wealthy
— "Wall Street and the billionaire class has rigged the rules to redistribute wealth and income to the wealthiest and most powerful people of this country," reads a passage from Sanders' campaign website. "Your greed has got to end," it continues. Sanders then promises "a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings."
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6. A big minimum wage increase — According to Sanders' campaign website,
the senator from Vermont promises to increase the federal minimum wage "from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020."
7. A hefty estate tax —
A President Bernie Sanders promises to "create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million," according to his website.
8. Economic protectionism
— Many news outlets have pointed out that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have both called for curtailing free-trade between the U.S. and other countries. "Democrats like Sanders, and some tea party Republicans, are highly critical of the Pacific Rim negotiations, with Japanese autos remaining one of the major sticking points. Trump, too, has railed against the deal," CNN reported
in August. Both men believe that curtailing free-trade will create higher wages for American workers, however many economists say that curtailing free trade makes the nation poorer overall.
9. Expand Social Security
— Sanders would expand Social Security through tax increases. "We have millions and millions of seniors trying to get by on $11,000, $13,000 a year in Social Security benefits," Sanders said Friday, Time magazine reported
. "Trying to buy some bread, some food, some medicine, trying to keep their house warm. You know what? You can’t do it on 12,000 a year."
10. Curtailing free speech
— "Criminalizing things is very much on Bernie’s agenda, beginning with the criminalization of political dissent," National Review wrote
in July. "At every event he swears to introduce a constitutional amendment reversing Supreme Court decisions [like Citizens United] that affirmed the free-speech protections of people and organizations filming documentaries, organizing Web campaigns, and airing television commercials in the hopes of influencing elections or public attitudes toward public issues. That this would amount to a repeal of the First Amendment does not trouble Bernie at all."
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