Letter to the Editor: Eliminating order to create more freedom does not work

To the Editor:

I would like to make some clarifications. I am not a Democrat, I don’t think we should abolish capitalism, I have a copy of the Constitution on the bookcase next to my bed, I don’t want free stuff, and I don’t hate the military. Saying we spend too much on our military doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate everything our service men and women do for us every day.

I do believe government is a necessary part of living in a civilized society. We can’t be the greatest country in the world while letting our people die from lack of healthcare at the same time. In other countries they actually get things for the taxes they pay. The truth is capitalism (without regulation) is not bound to protecting people from corporate greed and the ability to profit off of our elderly, our sick, our vulnerable, our students, our incarcerated, and essentially everyone. Eliminating order to create more “freedom” doesn’t work.

If all you have on my dude Bernie is where he went on his honeymoon, it’s safe to say he’s a pretty clean politician. I can name twenty Trump scandals off the top of my head, including that he was in talks with Russia during the campaign about opening a Trump Hotel in Moscow. So to compare, we have Bernie honeymooning with his wife and Trump making deals with a foreign government during a presidential election. You got me.

But you want more facts and less passion. Got it. Bernie’s proposals of a free, universal medicare for all program, free public education through the four-year college level, 12 weeks of paid family leave, and providing millions of new jobs through investments in infrastructure are lofty goals, but the money to fund them is there if we were to simply cut the most wasteful and fraudulent corporate welfare packages that help a small, wealthy few Americans while burdening the rest.

First, let’s add up the total annual cost of Sanders’ costliest policy proposals, using estimates provided by the Sanders campaign: medicare for all ($1.38 trillion), new WPA: ($200 billion - five-year limit), free college ($75 billion), paid family leave ($31 billion) for a total annual cost of $1.49 trillion.

That may seem like a lot on its own, but the funding can easily be raised by cutting the “free stuff” we currently lavish on the wealthy. Multiple entitlement programs that exclusively benefit multinational corporations (like tax breaks for hedge fund managers, rich kids’ inheritances, and CEO bonuses, handouts to the oil and pharmaceutical industries, costly weapons programs and unnecessary wars, subsidies for “too-big-to-fail” banks, handouts to corporate behemoths cemented in last year’s omnibus spending bill, and tax loopholes for multinational corporations) can easily be sacrificed to benefit the other 99.9 percent of Americans. Here’s the annual cost breakdown of those programs:

Allowing Wall Street to trade tax-free ($352 billion), extension of Bush tax cuts for the wealthy ($277.6 billion), government contracts for the 200 wealthiest corporations ($176 billion), lifting cap on Social Security taxing ($120 billion), money lost to corporate tax havens ($100 billion), Wall Street welfare ($83 billion), corporate welfare in omnibus spending bill ($65 billion), surveillance-industrial complex ($52.6 billion), tax breaks for wealthy investors ($51 billion), war in Afghanistan ($35 billion), oil company subsidies ($37.5 billion), tax breaks for rich brats ($26.9 billion), new nuclear missiles ($18 billion), ford-class aircraft carrier ($15 billion), federal war on drugs ($15 billion), F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ($10 billion), foreign war slush fund ($8 billion), Walmart subsidies ($7.8 billion), tax breaks for CEO bonuses ($7 billion), Littoral Combat Ship ($2 billion), unusable planes for Afghan Air Force ($800 million), keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention center open ($454 million), for a total annual savings of $1.46 trillion.

As it stands right now, all of these aforementioned programs amount to $1.46 trillion every year in “free stuff” to those who need it the least. Eliminating these handouts would pay for 90 percent of Bernie’s policy platform. The remainder can be made up through nominal increases in the payroll tax (Sanders proposed a 0.2 percent increase to fund paid family leave) and a slight increase in income taxes to fund Sanders’ sweeping healthcare program.

Also, if you want to deregulate everything let’s start with women’s bodies, marriage equality, transgender rights, and my right to smoke pot any time I want. But what do I know? I’m just a twenty-five-year-old democratic socialist.

Best,

Jacob Galema
Lansing

P.S. Please learn proper letter writing etiquette. You don’t know me personally, so kindly refer to me as Mr. Galema.
 

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