Sanders War on Billionaires

January 19, 2016 8 By Michael
Bernie Sanders has been drawing huge crowds to his campaign rallies like full house at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia on November 23, 2015. Photo Credits: (c) 2015 Harold Michael Harvey

Bernie Sanders has been drawing huge crowds to his campaign rallies like this full house at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia on November 23, 2015.
Photo Credits: (c) 2015 Harold Michael Harvey

Billionaires have come under attack in the 2016 Presidential Election. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-V), a long-standing Independent is running in the Democratic Primary. He has single-handedly taken on the wealthiest Americans and vicariously billionaires in other parts of the world as well.

His case for the voter’s trust in this year’s election is based upon dismantling a political economy in America where one percent of the population (billionaires) own more wealth than the bottom ninety-nine percent.

Financial study after financial study suggests that Sanders’ math is correct, a handful of billionaires own more wealth than nearly 100 percent of the population.

Yet many Democratic voters are reluctant to join Sanders quest against income inequality, in spite of the fact, Sanders’ campaign to pour massive federal funds into free education, health care, job training, and crime prevention is in their best interest.

Presumably, Sanders will fund these projects, in the main, by increasing the amount of taxes billionaires pay. Also, Sanders has called for eliminating offshore tax havens where billionaires shield their personal wealth and corporate wealth from the American treasury.

This reluctance on the part of Democrats equates with a similar anomaly on the Republican side, as many poor and previously middle-class conservative Americans have opted to vote against their best interest. They would rather support the demagoguery of candidates like Donald J. Trump and Ted Cruz.  Trump and Cruz argue that the billionaires, of which Trump is one, are not the problem in America, but the Mexicans, the Muslims, and other immigrants are.

Following Sunday night’s Democratic Primary, a friend on social media posited this quandary:

“I’m still confused with Bernie.”

Many potential Sanders supporters share this voters’ confusion. I tried to break down the 2016 presidential race in simple terms for my friend.

Here is my response:

Bernie Sanders simply says he wants to change the system so more people can have enough money to enjoy the American dream. He wants billionaires to pay more in taxes. All of the other candidates, both the Republicans and Democrats say, well everything is okay. We can solve our problems under the current system. We will put a band aid here and a band aid there and everyone will be okay.

There is some truth to conventional wisdom on this traditional approach to politics. The band aid loophole has been employed for decades. The problems have not been resolved, neither have they totally consumed us as a society.

According to a study released on Monday by a United Kingdom anti-poverty organization, Oxfam International, “the 62 richest people in the world own the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the global population.” See: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/266231-study-finds-62-people-own-as-much-as-poorest-half-of-the-worlds-population

Sanders has determined that the politics of money determines the politics of war, poverty, global warming, miseducation and scientific exploration, not only in America, but the geopolitical sphere as well. His problem in advancing this argument is centered around the fact, that the American electorate is not accustomed to the income disparity analysis, as part and parcel of the problems facing the American people. Hence, the confusion my friend and others have in understanding Sanders’ ideas.

According to The Hill, Oxfam CEO Mark Golding said in a statement which accompanied this report, “In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an even bigger slice of the cake.”

Additionally, Golding said, “It is no longer good enough for the richest to pretend that their wealth benefits the rest of us when the facts show that the recent explosion in the wealth of the super-rich has come at the expense of the poorest.”

In a nutshell, Golding just made the case for a Sanders presidency. The question is will Americans vote for their best interest or will they, as in previous presidential election cycles, kick down the road, Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.’s dream of ending war, poverty and racism?

Sanders believes giving more people “some economic skin in the game,” will move King’s vision a little bit closer to reality.

It is months before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The home of the political revolution in 1776, that started this debate about a “government for the people and by the people” and not a government of and for the billionaire  class.

If the Democrats select Sanders, it will offer this generation of Americans a reset button on democracy, where all Americans, unlike 1776, will have an equal opportunity to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.