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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


College Republicans: Why is Madison ‘feeling the Bern?’

While Sen. Sanders’ positions are ideal, they do not account for America’s reality
Herald File Photo

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has been “all the rage” among millennials over the past couple months.

Even though Sanders’ new “democratic socialism” seems like a radical idea to many, he still draws thousands of supporters to his events. Sanders has even developed a strong following in Madison as the development of groups like “Students for Bernie” has shown. Before I jump on the ever-popular Bernie bandwagon, I have a few questions I would like to ask his Madison supporters.

First of all, how could Sanders possibly hope to pay for all of his promises?


Sanders promises the world to his supporters. Everything from health care to college education, Sanders will give it to you for free. The problem is that there is no free lunch in this world, meaning that you have to pay for everything you get. Now before you immediately get caught in the Obama mantra of “tax the rich,” do you honestly think the rich have enough money to pay for universal health care, universal education or both?

To squeeze more out of the rich, Sanders has proposed a plan that includes enacting a tax on stock traders, new payroll taxes, a tax on profits made by U.S. companies abroad and a highest tax bracket of 50 percent. As Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, reported to CNN, “You could get more from the rich than we currently get, but it’s not a bottomless pot.”

In other words, the rich cannot finance all of your hopes and dreams even if you tax them into oblivion. Taxing the rich sounds like a good idea until you realize that the rich invest huge sums of money in research and development, giving us many of the drugs, products and services we have today.

Secondly, since the U.S. is currently propping up the global economy, how do you justify an increase in the national minimum wage?

Countless articles have been written on this subject. While giving the poorest Americans a boost of $5 to $7 per hour sounds like a great idea, it might actually hurt more than it would help.

Executives are always focused on cutting costs and streamlining processes. Since more workers cost more money, it would only be logical for there to be less jobs after a national minimum wage hike.

While Sanders may try to fix this plan by investing in a $1 trillion stimulus package, offering construction jobs to the least employable, this practice is unsustainable. While there is some evidence for the success of stimulus packages, the U.S. national debt is nearing $19 trillion dollars, which is $155,577 per taxpayer. It would be unwise to add to this.

By now, you can see where I am going. Unfortunately, I cannot even begin to elaborate on all the questions that I have on Sanders’ plan. Other questions I have include:

  • If you plan on breaking up the world’s biggest banks, how would we be able to avoid a huge financial crisis when large firms cannot find anyone to finance expansions?
  • How can you have a sustainable immigration policy without supporting strong border security?
  • How do you maintain global competitiveness if you plan on opposing international trade treaties?

This short list does not even try to address issues such as his flip-flop approach to gun control, his weak foreign policy solution and the rest of his radical policies.

Madison, we have seen these types of politics before. Encouraging more government, demolishing the private sector and trying to provide everyone with an equal outcome, not just an equal opportunity, are very reminiscent of trends seen in the early development of communist Russia.

All in all, I can sum up my questions to the Madison Sanders supporters with one question: What the hell are you thinking? Sanders may have an excellent interpretation of Drake’s Hotline Bling, but that does not mean he has what it takes to become president. At least for me, Sanders has a lot more questions to answer before he has my vote.

Zachary Walters ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in management and human resources. He is the vice chair of College Republicans of UW-Madison.

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