LIONEL PODCAST: Bernie Sanders – “I’ve Got Plenty of Nothing!” (They Don’t Call Him BS for Nothing)

Ah, yes, Bernie to the rescue. Well, not so fast, kids. I’m not sure exactly what Bernie is talking about or wants to do. But he’s lovable and whacky and oh-so socialist. But if you look carefully, he has nothing to offer in terms of plans. Platitudes, lofty phrases and well, plenty of nothing. But so many people, I humbly submit, love the gruff, disheveled, wonky leftie with the funny speech pattern — otherwise known as Brooklyn. It’s the image package that so many people glom on to, like Hillary’s “charm.” American voters care nothing about specifics and plants and ideology. Americans love vague platitudes and generic nostrums. 

It’s not fair! OK, that’s a start. We’ll start with that one. Bernie speaks of income inequality and he reels off a litany of stats and data which are, well, OK, I suppose. I mean it’s a start. Like this popular trope: the top 1/10th of the 1% controls more property than the bottom 90%. Sound familiar? OK, BS, I dig. But the problem is that it’s simply regarded as a problem of distribution. But what will you do about it? How is the wealth produced and from where? It’s the same with campaign finance reform, another dog whistle that snaps the lemmings to attention via code word, see also global warming, climate change and anything using the word sustainable. 

We don’t need no stinking specifics! Bernie’s main and cornerstone demagogy is that he is against the billionaire class and they have too much power, and, okey-dokey, Bernie, so what exactly are you going to do with them? Are you going to raise the personal income tax marginal rate to 90%? <Crickets> Are you going to reinstate the estate tax? <Crickets> What exactly is your plan, Bernie, we’re waiting? No mention of Wall Street Sales Tax or Tobin Taxes or Robin Hood Taxes or nationalizing the Fed. In fact, no mention of the Fed in the least. They don’t call him BS for nothing.

When in Scandinavia. Now, get this, he wants to imitate the Scandinavian social democracies like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Bernie seems to view these places as a kind of idyllic oasis, a paradise. This is great provided you understand how exactly these Scandinavian societies actually work. It’s true that they have a significantly more robust social safety net than you are going to find in here (Gee, imagine that!) but these are profoundly Malthusian societies in nature and that means the green folks, climate changers and global warming zealots. And that further means, ultimately, deindustrialization and degrowth and décroissance. No, Bernie, sorry. If you want merely to be a stalking horse for Hillary, I get it. If you pull her to the left to maybe squeeze out of her something resembling palpable ideology, even better. 

Listen to the dissection. Let me explain to you why Ol’ Bern ain’t what he seems to be.

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