Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered a speech at George Washington University today that insisted “democratic socialism” is the only way to defeat oligarchy. Sanders spouted his usual go-to lines about how everyone should have a $15 per hour minimum wage and fight the rich.
With a speech writer like David Sirota, who penned an article about how Venezuelan socialist dictator Hugo Chavez helped create an economic miracle, it should come as no surprise that Bernie offered some pretty whack facts. During his speech, Bernie said three things that weren’t just misleading, but complete lies.
1. ‘We Now Have an Economy That Is Fundamentally Broken’
Not to bore you with charts and facts, but U.S. gross domestic product growth for the last quarter was an estimated 3.1 percent and recovery from the slow economic growth in 2016 remains steady. The unemployment rate as of May 2019 is at 3.6 percent. The United States hasn’t seen low unemployment rates like this since 1953.
Sanders says GDP rates and unemployment rates have nothing to do with understanding how good the economy is. According to Sanders, the data and statistics used to gauge the well-being of world-wide economics is not an adequate reflection of the American economy. I must ask then, what data and statistics should we use to understand the economy?
We can’t use a make believe feelings-meter to decide how the American economy is doing. The facts are in, and the economy has been wildly, record-breakingly successful under President Trump.
2. ‘The Average Wage Is No Higher than It Was 48 Years Ago’
This statement was a flat out lie. I’m not sure if Sanders gets his data from the same place he gets his ideas, but they’re both crazy.
The national average wage index, which measures changes in U.S. wages over time, was $50,321.89 in 2017, while the national index 48 years ago in 1969 was $5,893.76. This does not account for inflation, so I did the math for you.
The average wage index in 1969, while factoring in inflation, was $43,682.69 in 2017 dollars, for a 48-year span. That means Americans today on average earn approximately $6,639.20 more than they did 48 years ago. Sanders is $6,639.20 from being accurate, which is not a small number.
3.’The New Deal Was Very Popular Politically’
Not only did the New Deal face serious opposition from the Supreme Court, which only began ignoring its obvious unconstitutionality after the president held a political gun to their heads, but after the 1937 economic downturn during Franklin Roosevelt’s reign, even conservative Democrats said they would block further legislation for the New Deal.
FDR’s own party turned against him in blocking legislation for the New Deal. Does that sound like a politically popular idea to you? FDR’s presidential popularity is not indicative of how well-liked or disliked his New Deal policy agenda was.
Sanders spent a large portion of his speech talking about the legacy FDR left for the American economy. “FDR created an economy that worked for all, not just a few,” Sanders said.
He completely neglected to mention that the New Deal and its subsequent ugly stepchildren from the Great Society — primarily Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — are the largest contributors to the United States’s globally unprecedented $20 trillion in current national debt, plus between $50 trillion and $200 trillion in current federal unfunded liabilities. That’s money we’ve already promised people and cannot pay without enormous tax increases, benefit cuts, or both.
Sanders said we must complete the New Deal in the 21st century as the unfinished business of the Democratic Party. That Democratic Party “unfinished business” already might finish off the United States. And Bernie Sanders wants to do it faster. Go figure.