Bernie 2020!

I retreated from Twitter because all the people I follow for crypto stuff are now tweeting nonstop about coronavirus. (Armchair epidemiologists, the lot of you!) Rather than do something productive with my new-found time, I decided to take up Facebook. I hate myself.

As it turns out, all my college friends are now Bernie Bros.

A recent poll found that 50% of millennials have a negative view of capitalism, and 70% say they would vote for a socialist.

Millennials are the most highly-educated generation in all of history — 70% of them can’t be wrong! …can they?

Kidding, sort of.

John Oliver has a good segment on Medicare For All. If you weren’t in favor of free healthcare before, you will be after watching the clip. About 90 seconds in, a Fox News person is quoted saying that single payer healthcare would cause 90% of hospitals to literally go under tomorrow.

GOOD. If a hospital can’t stay in business without obscene billing practices, it doesn’t deserve to exist. Clear the way for new upstarts. China is cranking out a new hospital every 10 days while the US struggles to run basic tests. Are we really gonna sit back and let Communist China take us to school?

We’ve been approaching communism the wrong way. If you think of communism as a political-economic alternative to Western Democracy, then it’s the dumbest idea since radium water. But if you think of communism as a way to burn down extractive institutions, then it’s suddenly quite sensible.

In The Rise and Decline of Nations, Mancur Olson describes how long periods of political stability allow special-interest groups to assemble and amass influence. Instead of creating wealth through strategic risk-taking, these cartels go for easier extractive gains. Protectionism, collusion, regulatory capture. Economic stagnation ensues.

Democracy doesn’t fix this. Look at San Francisco, the most democratic city in the world. After decades of prosperity, the city is hamstrung by lobbyists and NIMBYists and literally covered in shit. No incremental bill or measure can solve the housing crisis; the best solution is a repeat of the 1906 earthquake that leveled the city. Shake the ant farm upside down and start over. No offense to my friends who live there, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

A healthy society does not randomly get a wild hair up its ass and embrace communism. China’s Communist Revolution was bad, but the leadup to 1949 wasn’t exactly sunshine and freedom either. Three centuries of Qing Dynasty rule led to the concentration of wealth and farmland in the hands of feudal lords, then the British and Japanese ransacked the rest. Regime change wasn’t enough, they needed a thorough BITFD. Apparently one family had a monopoly on all the eggs in the country?

Anti-commies fixate on the initial death and destruction, but zoom out. In 1947, China and India were neck-and-neck in terms of life expectancy and wealth per capita. Over the next three decades, India’s free market democracy resulted in an excess mortality of 100 million deaths over China, even accounting for the 30 million killed in Mao’s famine. Today the average life expectancy is 68.6 years in India, 76.3 in China. That’s the difference industrialization makes.

Under the Medicare For All bill that I wrote, Premiums are GONE. Copayments, are gone. Deductibles, are gone. All out-of-pocket expenses are GONE! –-Bernie

The problem with Bernie isn’t that he’s too radical; it’s that he’s not radical enough. Free health care and education should apply retroactively: Medical debt is gone. Student loans, are GONE. The mortgage you took out to pay for chemo, is GONE!

Ron Paul kept saying he would End the Fed, but how would he do that, realistically? Write a bill and put it through Congress? Good luck with that.

What would Bernie do? Declare a jubilee! The Fed is literally a bank cartel; put the banks out of business and the Fed will go away. Consumer debt, is gone. Treasury Bills, are GONE. Municipal bonds, GONE!

    Step 1. Burn it all down
    Step 2. ???
    Step 3. Peace and Prosperity

Or maybe instead of a cleansing Bern, coronavirus will sweep through the land and destroy extractive institutions the same way Bubonic Plague destroyed feudalism in Europe.

5 thoughts on “Bernie 2020!

  1. India was not anything resembling a free market until 1990.

    China was communist and paid a heavy price for it until Deng Xiaoping introduced free market reforms. India was socialist and paid a slightly less heavy price for it until its own reforms happened about a decade later.

    1. Amartya Sen (the source of the stat) describes India’s health care system as capitalist, because it is/was privately owned. Steel, coal, railways may have been nationalized and socialist, but had less impact on national health.

  2. Democracy never survives universal suffrage, as it always ends up with one half trying to seize power and dominate the other half.

    If voting was restricted to parents of living children that don’t get their income from government, then it might work. But otherwise, democracy has always been tacitly acknowledged as a form of soft Communism.

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