Criticisms against Sanders are irrational


Cheyene Miller, Managing Editor

Cheyene Miller

Those on the left despise Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about as much as those on the right despise Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Critics of the longtime independent senator from Vermont bash his socialist policies, surmising that Sanders has no understanding of economics and would bankrupt the U.S.

Among these leftist policy proposals is his college education plan, which would provide four years of publicly funded university education to American students, like the 30,000 here at UK. Sanders’ proposal would fund this free college plan with a “Robin Hood” tax on Wall Street activity.

Trump has called Sanders a “maniac,” among other things, and suggested that Sanders just wants to give away “free stuff.”

“The Donald,” as Trump is known, is certainly not the first to make this argument. It’s a typical ultra-right wing fallacy to claim public programs like Sanders’ college plan are simply the government giving away “free stuff.” This claim is both weak and misguided.

For starters, Sanders must have some grasp of economics considering that he has the most support from credible economists among the candidates running. His Wall Street reform plan received backing from 170 of the nation’s top economists, including Robert Reich, U.S. secretary of labor under Bill Clinton.

Secondly, Sanders’ college plan is not free; rather, it has a very intricate plan that is supported by top economists, and it would raise hundreds of billions of dollars every year without directly impacting the working and middle classes.

Sanders’ “College For All Act” would put a speculation fee on investment houses and hedge funds, as well as a 0.5 percent speculation fee on stock trades (50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1 percent fee on bonds and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives.

The legislation would give $47 billion per year to states, which would be responsible for covering 33 percent of the cost of tuition at public universities and colleges. The federal government would cover the other 67 percent.

Sanders’ critics also don’t seem to understand that the senator’s proposal is actually not all that leftist. In fact, publicly funded higher education is the norm in almost every other developed nation, because other progressive countries understand that burdening an entire generation of workers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt is not in the best interest of anyone.

It’s not an entitlement-crazed generation demanding “free stuff.” It’s common sense.

Cheyene Miller is the managing editor of the Kentucky Kernel.

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