October 09, 2015

Teh stupidz burns! Hillary is allegedly more progressive than Bernie

I don't know if Stephen Stromberg is a secret Clintonista, or if instead he's just a hack newspaper writer who, by the Peter Principle (in big play at all times inside the Beltway) became an editorial writer for the Washington Post. His bio/homepage at the Post indicates, at a minimum, he's no further left than Hillary Clinton, if even that far.

In either case, he's written a hack newspaper column claiming Hillary Clinton is actually more progressive than Bernie Sanders. Yep, that's right.

Here's Stromberg's logic. Or, rather, "logic." Sanders recently (links in Stromberg's column) called for making college free for all, along with expanding Social Security, and also trying to get us something called "national health care."

Hillary Clinton seemed to have a zinger when she said, "I am not in favor of making college free for Donald Trump's kids."

Instead, she proved herself to once again be nothing more than Just.Another.Politician, of the normal opportunistic breed.

Any universal program is, well, "universal"!

You can't offer national health care without giving it to The Donald's kids, or The Donald, just like, in Britain, Sir Richard Branson is eligible to use all care of the National Health Service.

And, even beyond expanding Social Security to an idea getting at least small bits of traction from a few libertarians as well as left-liberals, you can't replace the Earned Income Tax Credit with guaranteed annual income unless it's guaranteed to all.

But, a sidebar at this point. I asked a rhetorical question at the start.

Stromberg showed that he butters his bread with pure Arkansas schmeer when he said:
Sanders' platform isn't visionary, it's dull.
He lauds Clinton for wanting to means-test college, which leads back to the main issue. Related: Should we means-test expanded Social Security?

Well, we do ... at a certain point, some SS income is taxable.

The real way you means-test college, and how you pay for this is, of course, a more progressive income tax. That includes taxing investment income as ... well, as income, something Hillary Clinton would never support in her life. (Don't forget big bond trader Jackson Stephens was her and hubby's top political friend in Arkansas, which also gives the lie to Slickster's 1993 wailing that he was just learning his budget was "hostage to the bond market.")

Now, there are legit objections to Sanders' idea.

The biggest is that he does little to talk about reining in the spiraling of college, which is exceeded only by the spiraling cost of health care. Since the modern university has become a neoliberal big business, Sanders does need to address this.

He needs to address the "education inflation," also known as "credentialing," where a college degree is required by many, many jobs that don't need it. He needs to figure out other ways to rein in college costs.

He also needs to address health care costs, which Dear Leader's Obamacare has done little to rein in. And, no, electronic patient records don't do that. I don't want to pound tax dollars down our current rathole, Obamacare or national health care.

A better, big-club cost control is my idea of nationalizing the whole system.

That said, Stromberg is right that Sanders is dull in one way.

If Bernie is an actual socialist (which he's really not), he needs to roll the dice on the third one, and propose replacing the earned income tax credit with a guaranteed annual income.

I don't care if The Donald's kids, or The Donald, get national health care, as long as I do, and an adequately progressive tax rate funds it. (And we have those cost controls.)

I don't care if chez Trump gets a guaranteed annual income, of $25,000 or whatever, as long as I do, and an adequately progressive tax rate funds it.

Speaking of, and to smack down Stromberg yet again — maybe Sanders hasn't fully said how he'll fund all of this, but Clinton has said even less about funding her proposals.

Finally, Stromberg lives up to living inside the Beltway, and being an apparent Clitonista, with this straw man:
But even assuming his expansion of the state doesn’t open significant new opportunities for wasteful special interest rent-seeking and rule-bending, there’s still no excuse for poorly targeted policy.

The reality is that targeted, rather than universal, programs, create "rent-seeking" for swarming fly-hordes of lobbyists, drawn to the honey, or shit, of Washington loopholes. 

The first link in that pull quote? It talks about the "gummint" often running poorly. Well, the conservative troika of "waste, fraud and abuse" abounds in the private sector. Just ask Carly Fiorina. Or Google her record at H-P, if she won't tell you. Just look at four-time bankruptcy winner Trump.

As for the increased taxation cutting off funding for other things? Well, Stromberg's partially right, there. Bernie needs to stop whoring after F-35s, and cut military spending more.

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