A while ago, I noted that what is being called socialism (AAAIIIEEEE!!!!) is an economic program that is slightly to the right of Hubert Humphrey’s economic program:

But on a more serious note, I’m geniunely puzzled as to how this is any different from what used to be called liberal Democrats (before and during the 1990s–and who were mostly purged from power by the Clinton era New Democrats) would propose. Looking at her site, as well as the DSA site, I’m not seeing anything about the nationalization of companies. No establishment of an activist wealth fund, in which the government has voting shares and uses them–Norway does this, for example. Other than for skyrocketing drug prices (and perhaps rent increases), there are no widespread calls for price controls. So it’s really hard to see how what is currently referred to as socialism would differ from Hubert Humphrey’s economic proposals.

Other people seem to be catching on (boldface mine):

describing a Green New Deal as an unprecedented centralization of power is historically illiterate. During the Second World War, the government routinely nationalized whole industries, conducted economy-wide price controls and rationing, and, you know, conscripted millions of men into the military to fight and die. The Green New Deal would involve some flexing of government power to be sure, but probably not even on the scale of the original New Deal. For instance, at its height in the mid-1930s, the Public Works Administration alone was consuming half the concrete output and one-third of the steel output of the entire country. The Green New Deal would have to be very big, but probably not that big.

In sum, Sanders is building on a cherished Democratic Party tradition (whose construction projects are still being used to this day across the country) to address a critical policy emergency. Scared yet??

…the fragmented and heavily employer-based American insurance system is already by far the most wasteful in the world. Relative to the second-most expensive country, Switzerland, we spend about 5 points of GDP extra — or a trillion bucks, every year. Medicare is considerably more efficient than private coverage, with lower prices and much lower administrative spending. With some reforms — particularly allowing negotiation with drug companies — it could be more efficient still. Wehner simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

So Sanders understands correctly that the janky employer-based health care system is slowly crushing the economy and proposes building on one of the greatest successes of President Lyndon Johnson to fix it. Everyone hide under the bed!!

…a President Bernie Sanders would probably be the furthest-left president in history, surpassing Franklin Roosevelt by a bit. But FDR was also the best president in history — unlike Wehner, a man who recognized that large problems like economic depression and global war against fascism require large solutions. Indeed, in some areas Sanders is to his right — his proposed 70 percent top marginal tax rate is far short of FDR’s 94 percent rate (much less the maximum income he tried to pass), and bites in at a much higher income.

There are all sorts of reasons why people support a particular candidate (full disclosure: currently leaning Warren myself), but one reason Sanders is quite popular is that he represents what used to be called liberal Democrats, especially when it comes to the provisioning of public goods and to unions. There is still a constituency for that in the Democratic Party. You don’t have to agree with those goals or prioritize them, but, if you’re serious about party unity, then empathy (not sympathy, empathy) requires that you understand what motivates many of his voters.

This entry was posted in Democrats. Bookmark the permalink.