A European’s view on Bernie Sanders

Dear Americans,

Let me give you a European’s view on Bernie Sanders. Or rather, on the changes he wants to bring to your life. His ideas may sound pretty radical to you, but are actually pretty mainstream here in Europe.

Free healthcare for all

He wants to make healthcare free or almost free for everyone with a National Health Care system. We have this here in France, where we currently have a centre/right wing republican government.
If I go to the doctor, I have to pay him or her about 20$ for the visit. But then, the medicine I need is free or almost free. I pay a couple of bucks, at the most.
Last year, when I went into the hospital for an operation, it was all take care off. Anesthetics, overnight stay, the operation itself, all free. There was a waiting period for a couple of weeks, but since my condition was more bothersome than life threatening, that was no problem. Had it been more serious, I would have been helped straight away. For free. The insurance pays.
So who pay for the National Health Care System? Well, we all do. We have a progressive tax system, where poor people pay very little tax, middle class people like myself pay more and very rich people pay a lot. Well… a lot… they are still rich enough to fly private jets, live in sumptuous homes and buy ever more companies to get richer. Plus: they get exactly the same health care for free, as well. And if they want, they can get a private insurance on the side, to pay for a nice private room, better food, cable TV and a much better looking, sexy nurse. Well, maybe not the nurse.

Free education

Grammar school and high school (college) are obligatory until the age of 16, and free. If you want to go on to university or some other higher education, it is free or maximum a couple of thousand euros a year. Children from poor families get financial help so they can still study. There are special loans, so students can afford living in a boarding house or sharing an apartment, but at a very low interest rate and with a long payment period.
Bernie wants you to have free tuition as well, because he knows that in the long run, smarter people will make more money and will make the country be more competitive on the world market. Smart citizens is a good investment! Unless of course you are a purely capitalist politician who prefers people to be dumb and illiterate, so he can make them believe all kinds of nonsense.

Decent minimum wage

As far as I’m concerned, minimum wage in Europe – now around 12$ – could be a bit higher to be really decent, but depending on where you live, you can stay above the poverty line. If necessary, you can get rental subsidy and there are plenty of other financial aids.
In the USA, Bernie wants to up the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. That will be better than we get here, but depending on the other types of aid, you actually need that. If you’re working 40 hours a week, that is 600 dollars a week or 2400 a month. Enough for a decent living (again, depending on the size of you family and the rental prices in your area). Plus… free healthcare and free tuition, remember?

Taxing the rich

Another thing many Americans are getting their panties in a bunch about, is Bernie’s idea of making the big corporations pay taxes. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft… they all find ways of redirecting their income streams to other countries to avoid paying their fair share. I can’t think of one single reason why they should not pay the same percentage as a small private business. Except that the government is letting them get away with it. Bernie wants to stop this and I think that is only right.

Who owns your country?

The big corporations? The NRA? The pharmaceutical industry? The oil companies? The DNC? Bernie Sanders? None of those. YOU own your country. So elect a president who will give you back the power to grow and your children to flourish.

Saving the earth

I almost forgot… Bernie has plans for fighting climate change and loss of biodiversity as well. The green new deal will be a revolution with an energy conversion towards sustainable sources that will also create a lot of jobs. And hopefully in the long run turn back the dial on the extreme weather conditions we’ve been seeing. Our world is creaking in its seams and we need to act quickly!

Where does Bernie find the money?

Free healthcare costs money, but will also earn money as less people will get seriously ill, so they can stay productive for the economy. And pharmaceutical prices will drop to the same levels as Europe (sometimes 40x less expensive for exactly the same medicine!). Free tuition and forgiving the student debt will cost a lot of money. But Bernie wants to tax financial transactions on the stock exchange. Even with a very small tax like 0.5% trillions of dollars will pour into the governments coffers. This money is not taken out of the economy though. Students will be able to buy stuff, like a home, a car, better food… all this spending is an enormous boost for the economy.

And remember, this ‘debt’ is just numbers in computers. Forgiving it, is like directly subsidizing the economy by giving people back the power to buy stuff in stead of giving their money directly to their banks.

All in all,

I can’t think of any negative effect of Bernie’s plans. For the economy, for health, for education. The only ones who will marginally ‘suffer’ by becoming a teensy bit less superrich are the banks and the super rich. They will survive.

PS: Also, under Bernie the military spending will probably go down.

The USA at the moment spends more money on military than all other big countries (including Russia and China) combined! Surely there are better ways to become poor?