The word, “socialist,” understandably terrifies people. There is no Socialist running in this election. Bernie Sanders is a Social Democrat, which just means that he wants everyone to get a fair shake. He is a capitalist. He understands how market economies work and believes in them. He’s not giving away free stuff. He just wants to collect taxes on money that should be taxed and use it for the greater good. Jobs. Infrastructure. Education.
The uncontested truth is that almost all of the wealth in this country floats to the top and stays there. Much of this wealth escapes taxes through loopholes designed by the people they benefit. We don’t live in a democracy any more. The rich get richer and buy elections (think Trump, Koch, Clinton). Citizens United is the root of this, but that’s another letter.
The rest of us can’t keep up. The family that owns WalMart controls about $150 billion, equal to the wealth of the bottom 40% of Americans combined. How? Their workers aren’t paid enough to feed their families: they get food stamps, rent assistance, Medicaid. Costs have risen. Wages haven’t. No one makes them pay their employees enough to survive without help! When wages rise to $15/hour, a “living wage,” big corporations may not make quite as many billions in profits. And your and my tax dollars won’t subsidize their wealth. We, you and my, pay for the public assistance that others need because their employers don’t provide a living wage and don’t pay proportionate taxes on their wealth.
For Bernie Sanders, “socialism” just means “social.” It means, in the words of Lincoln, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Social benefits are good for you. Police. Roads. Water systems. Flint, MI, is just one example of what happens when money is not available for the good of the people.