By Guest Columnist Mark Malkin, ’17
It’s pretty clear that Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign has turned into something of a movement; he has received massive media coverage, millions of followers on social media pages, and his recent rallies in Iowa have drawn tens of thousands of supporters. In fact, Bernie’s followers have created something of a cult here in our high school, making it impossible to hold a 5 minute conversation without hearing mention of him. However, after examining the facts, I came to the conclusion that Sanders’ policies are out-of-touch from the real world, and completely impractical.
Let’s start with his biggest talking point: “free” college for everyone in the United States, a program which economists estimate would cost upwards of 100 billion dollars per year, or 5 times that of NASA’s budget. Besides the obvious issues of cost, questions arise on whether there’s a need for this at all. According to Gallup, most American employers believe that the current college system is poorly tailored to meet the needs of the workforce; in other words, there’s no need for for 15 million construction workers with bachelor degrees in meta-academic epidemiology. Essentially, Bernie’s policy would not only be monstrously expensive, it would also exacerbate the current gap between the supply of college graduates, and the demand for their work.
The other main issue is his economic policies; the senator has demonized billionaires and leaders of industries, calling them “corrupt” and threatening to tax them at a 90% progressive rate. At the most basic level, I resent attacks on entrepreneurs like Jobs or Gates or Bezos, because I believe their contributions to society have been extensive, and their fortunes are well-deserved. More importantly however, economists agree that a 90% tax rate is absurd, because of the inverse relationship between taxes and productivity. Taking a very large portion of someone’s income can decrease their productivity at work, thus generating less money and decreasing the utility of the tax. With a number as high as 90%, Sanders would actually be collecting LESS revenue than with a smaller tax. So not only does Bernie Sanders’ tax plan unfairly target the rich, it’s also non-sensical because it would generate even less revenue for the budget than with the status quo.
I’ll end with this; when making the decision of supporting a politician as President of the United States, it’s important to look beyond the surface, or what you’ll read on MSNBC and FOX. If you closely examine Sanders’ policies, you’ll note that they are very idealistic, but at the very least, highly impractical. With so many highly qualified candidates (like Bush and Rubio), I see no reason to support the senator.