Bernie’s Big, Big, Big Fat Government

magnify-dollarIf Republicans turn their attention from favorite punching bag Hillary to the comparatively coddled Sanders, they’ll have plenty of ammo to pass around the stage about Big Government.

Bernie’s calls to “audit” and bring “transparency” to the Federal Reserve (which now publishes nearly everything but transcripts of its closed door meetings) are exactly why the institution needs to remain an independent body. Fiscal policy is a long game and we need a healthy separation between long term strategists and populist politicians, who should not be able to promise rate changes that sabotage the economy for the short term gain of their constituents. Congress has demonstrated its ability to wedge up even the national budget process, and giving them additional oversight of the Fed would result in it becoming yet another hostage to special interests.

Sanders himself has the opinion that interest rates should stay near zero for the foreseeable future, a position at odds with recent signals from the Fed, which needs to raise those rates out of their historically unprecedented lows as soon as it can. He even wants control of who runs the Fed. He claims the board is stacked with bankers, while a cursory check of its membership shows most of them are from academia. He wants to replace these experts with under-qualified representatives from other industries. They don’t belong behind that wheel any more than Ben Carson or Donald Trump belong on the Republican ballot.

If America did birth his hoped “political revolution” and vote to install a progressive Congress to pass all the bills he wants to sign, this wouldn’t be the only major monetary shuffle.

The federal government would be a middleman in every drug purchase and hospital visit. It would be a major employer through infrastructure investments, with heavy strings attached to every contract. It would control a large percentage of higher education dollars. It would crack the seal on Constitutional Amendments over Citizens United, which could theoretically devolve through politicking into a complete rewrite.

These ideas have merit, especially if Sanders ever publishes viable plans to fund them, but all together add up to the government having a lot more money passing through its hands, and it’s not always been the best spender. Veteran care in America is a very public example of how poorly a bureaucracy can serve its citizens.

If you think you doctor’s office waiting room is frustrating now, imagine it run by the DMV.

Re fiscal populism: “A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.” — misattributed to several writers

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Jay is Editor In Chief of The Agonist, veteran and technologist.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hey! I work for a county run DMV and we are pretty damn efficient! 😀 That said we hear daily from customers who have gone to the private owned DMV in the city, horror stories.

  • Just spent more than 10 hours in a NYC for profit hospital waiting room. A publicly held and run institution could not show more callous disregard for both its employees and the public it “serves” than this filthy, overcrowded, understaffed facility.

  • Government giving the people what they want! Horrors!! Technocrats know better what’s good for us. Just look at how the virtuous, spectacularly smart job creators and financial geniuses have made this a better country for just about everybody over the last 30 years.

    The mind boggles.

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