By Mark Lesseraux
Did you know that FDR entered the presidency in 1932 during the Great Depression as a centrist Democrat with a mantra of, “Sorry, there just isn’t enough money to fix any of this.”? Then, a few months later in 1933, BOOM! There was suddenly tons of money available for all kinds of social programs to completely save the US from what appeared to be an upcoming succession of years, even decades of despair and widespread poverty. These new programs were labeled “The New Deal”.
So what happened? How did the funding for the New Deal suddenly seem to appear out of nowhere? There is actually no mystery to what happened. In fact what happened is quite well documented. (Which is why you should be wondering right now why you are probably hearing this for the first time.) What happened was, FDR was “approached” by a HUGE movement of unions and socialists who told him, “Do something, or we will! We know that something can be done and we know that you know how to get it done!” FDR was the most financially “connected” president we had had up until that time, so he called his businessmen and banker friends and set up a meeting during which he told them, in a nutshell, “We have no choice! We HAVE to do something!” By the end of the meeting half of the bankers and businessmen agreed to a 94% tax rate on all super-wealth, which at the time figured at about 200,000 a year and up. Everything over this amount would be taxed 94%. The other half of the bankers and businessmen at the meeting did NOT like this “agreement” or these terms, and basically set out on a course over the next succession of decades, to do away with this “New Deal”. But that is a story for another article.
Cut to 2020: There is WAY more money (proportionately) to fix the problems we have now than we had in 1933. It is money that is sitting untaxed, in the hands of a few hundred billionaires and multi-millionaires (for starters) right now. Tons of it! The money would be taken (back) from the people making tens, hundreds of millions and BILLIONS of dollars! People who have been paying little or no taxes for decades. So, when people ask, “But how is Bernie Sanders going to pay for healthcare and education, etc., when there is not enough money to pay for it?!”, do not be confused. There is PLENTY of money to pay for everything Sanders is proposing and more!
Over the past half century our tax system in the US has become “inverted”, it has gone from a system where the wealthy pay the most taxes and the middle class and poor pay the least, to a system where the poor and middle class pay the most taxes and the wealthy, especially the super-wealthy, pay the least and in many cases, they pay no taxes at all. Under Sanders plan, our now inverted tax system where people making multi-billions of dollars a year get tax REFUNDS (not joking) will be CONverted back to a progressive rather than a regressive system. We have been living in batshitland for four decades now (arguably more than four decades but that is a tale for another article as well). It is time for the wealthy to pay their share. It is time for the uber-rich to stop living off of the middle class.
Lastly, Sanders and the People’s Movement he represents urge that it is absolutely imperative that we, as a country, UNIVERSALIZE (ie: democratize) all institutions to do with Human well-being (healthcare, education, environmental protection) as quickly as possible. Unlike other politicians who favor allowing corporations to continue making a profit off of healthcare, education, and the harming of the environment, Sanders is clear that it is only by finally (completely) removing the profit motive from these institutions that we can have any chance of saving the environment and assisting rather than profiting off of/harming Human life. The reason for this being that those whose profit interests are in diametric opposition to the well-being of life on this planet are exactly the least likely people to assist in the process of Humanizing healthcare, education and environmental protection. These were all common post-New Deal values before the influx of neoliberal privatization which began full-on about four decades ago.
And that’s it! That’s what the Sanders campaign is essentially all about. Nothing “radical”, nothing that hasn’t been done before and nothing that isn’t as American as apple pie.
Mark Lesseraux is a singer/songwriter/socio-political columnist from Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is a Humanist, a proponent and practitioner of Active Nonviolence and a student of Nonduality.