How to pay for a better society

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I experience a lot of disgust with the contempt many American people feel about helping their neighbors, I’m not going to lie about it. It makes me physically ill when I hear someone from a rich suburb speak about how “some people are just below us”, “people get what they deserve” and “not everyone can have enough to live”. This is a concept that, to me, seems not only crazy – but pure evil. The idea that I can’t forfeit a small portion more than I did last year so that hundreds of thousands can have health care, or better welfare programs is just gross.

But the morality of these issues are hard to make points on. It’s not about logic or reasoning, it’s a gut ethical reaction that makes me feel this way. Some people don’t agree. Some people will never believe that we should all get a shot at life – and some people will never believe that it’s their moral obligation to help their neighbors. However, logical ideas are a little easier to sway people on, and I’m sick of faulty reasoning being used to counter programs that would benefit our society. If you’re going to be against the bettering of our world, at least be able to back it up.

So, I’m going to give you every reason to support these ideas as I possibly can without pulling on your heartstrings. The biggest logical fallacy I hear in refuting these social reforms is that there just isn’t enough money – and candidates promising these programs don’t have plans to make them work. By “candidates promising these programs” I of course mean the love of my life – Bernie Sanders. And just as a forewarning – I’ve been accused of being clouded with who I support, and some say that I’m trying to slip in Bernie propaganda to my columns, so allow me to be a little more clear – I may in fact be Bernie Sanders’ biggest fan.  He’s idealistic, and many accuse him of making large promises without a way to back them up. But here’s the thing – he has a very specific plan for each of his ideas, you just refuse to look for them. It doesn’t take Nancy Drew to find these blueprints – they’re right on his website – I found them in a minute and a half of super-sleuthing and couldn’t have been more pleased when I opened them up.

So I’m going to prove right-wingers’ (and even left-wingers’) favorite line, “Bernie promises all of these programs, but where will he get the money? Our taxes are going to double!” absolutely wrong. Each program, and each place from which he plans to fund them. You’re welcome.

  • College tuition for all. One of the most popularly criticized items on Sanders’ agenda is the prospect of making community college tuition free for students. This plan is estimated to cost $75 billion a year. Make sure, though, that before judging these proposals throughout this column you adjust your money-view. These are in government dollars, where everything sounds obscene – but make sure you don’t see $75 billion and immediately discount it. Context matters. Bernie plans to pay for this annual fee with a new tax on Wall Street speculators that would generate about $300 billion in revenue.
  • Paid family and medical leave. This one is pretty self-explanatory, the idea that you should be able to leave your career for a period of time when you have a baby, or if you have a medical condition that requires you to be home to recover – and still be paid for that period of time. This would be remedied by a payroll tax that would average about a whopping $1.61 a week for most workers.
  • Health care coverage for all. This is maybe the most controversial of Sanders’ beliefs. Single payer health care would be expensive, I won’t dispute that. It would be costly, and it would be difficult. However – it would be one of the greatest changes we could make on our moral agenda. This would provide free, government sanctioned health care to all US citizens. And to pay for it – a 6.2 percent income based increase in health care premiums paid by employers, increasing progressive tax rates, and limiting tax breaks on the rich. An average taxpayer would likely see around a 12.4 percent decrease in after-tax income. This is a big change. However, according to the Milliman Medical Institute, the average American family spent about $24 thousand this last year alone. The taxes will go up, you will have less money after taxes than you did this year – but for the average American, the money you save in premiums and co-pays is much higher than the money you’re forfeiting.

There are plenty more ideas and plans, and their solutions – and you can find them all at Bernie Sanders’ website – but these are the main focus of the populous. Personally, I’m sick of hearing people running around and spreading misconceptions about the economic aspect of this election. If you don’t like Bernie, don’t like Bernie – and I’d love to hear your opinions. But be truthful – these programs aren’t insane, they’re not unfounded, and they aren’t unrealistic. The money flows. Find a different reason to vote against the common good, because the facts are against you.

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