Opinion

Sanders won’t ride to the rescue

They’ve never made movies like this.

In most cinematic adventures when the innocents are in peril from villains, it’s not other villains who ride to the rescue. It’s the good guys. But in winning the Wisconsin primary Tuesday, it was Bernie Sanders galloping in on horseback — excuse me, on socialist nonsense — to try to save the country from Hillary Clinton.

To be sure, in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination, Clinton is still the odds-on favorite to win. The polls have her ahead in the coming New York primary, and her pile of delegates is pretty darn high. Her greatest fear has to be honesty, though not her own. That’s been missing for a long time.

No, what she has to fear is the non-political, frequently demonstrated honesty of James Comey, the FBI director who is closely involved in investigating whether she illegally endangered national security through use of a private email server as secretary of state. If politics are played in the Justice Department to get her off the hook, this official just might resign in protest, conceivably delivering a fatal blow to Clinton’s presidential chances.

Sanders might then march to the White House, but would he be better? Not close. What we have in him is a 1960s hippie who never grew up, who accuses others of all kinds of bigotry even as he himself is bigoted against the rich to the point of hateful screeching and whose leftist ambitions would wreck the country if improbably effectuated.

Even some liberal economists say his math is something like two plus two equals one.

The New York Times interviewed a bunch who argued his proposals could expand the federal government by half — the largest increase since World War II. What he’s talking about is free college for everyone, virtually free health care, largely free child care, more Social Security and still other goodies. All of this could amount to a 50 percent yearly increase or more in spending, say some of the these economists, who also point out that the expansion’s generally estimated cost of $18 trillion over 10 years could be higher, as much as $30 trillion, one says.

Sanders says his taxes will pay for it and that they’re mostly on the rich, even though the middle class will have to pay, too. He says the middle class will still come out ahead because of benefits that flow their way. Economists quoted in the Times say no — they will take a hurtful hit, too.

One of Sanders’ own economists makes things turn out OK by estimating, among other happy thoughts, that our economic growth will get up to 5.3 percent. The Times economists say, sorry, but nope. That’s a reach and a half. What Sanders’ buddies are calculating is “puppies and rainbows,” one analyst is quoted as saying, and if you want evidence, look at what happened when Sanders’ home state of Vermont tried out his single-payer health system proposal.

It didn’t work. It cost too much. It is gone.

What you would actually get with Bernie trying to put his plan into effect is chaos, and what you would get if he succeeded is a debt crisis. What we are already getting is hokum of all kinds, such as talk about a middle-class decline over the past 40 years when James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute says living standards have risen by as much as half. Sanders makes out as if the rich don’t pay their share of taxes whereas Pethokoukis notes “the top 1 percent earned nearly a fifth of the national income but paid 40 percent of the federal income taxes.”

Many of Sanders’ young supporters would love free college. What they need is more colleges that teach that goods and services are never free, that someone always pays.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at speaktojay@aol.com.

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