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The Sanders “Economic Plan” Controversy

The Sanders “Economic Plan” Controversy

Dave Johnson

“When you dare to do big things, big results should be expected. The Sanders program is big, and when you run it through a standard model, you get a big result.”
– James K. Galbraith


Great article. I just finished reading a hit piece against Bernie’s plans so this was refreshing. In this country the people are like abused children. We’ve been told so many lies by the powers that be, the constant spin and propaganda that we are scared to hope for more. It all costs too much, or Congress would never pass it.
Other developed countries have the things Bernie is proposing but for some strange reason the math just doesn’t add up in this country. Nonsense.
The corporations want to keep us paying for every crumb we get.
Thank you for this article Mr. Johnson, I would like to send it to the creep that wrote the hit piece I just read.


Read The Lords of Creation by Frederick Lewis Allen, Killing the Host, by Michael Hudson, All the Presidents’ Bankers by Naomi Prins, and other like works and you will discover just how great Bernie’s plan is.


This excellent but very wonky article confirms that Bernie’s economic plans are well thought out, and would stimulate huge GDP growth, job growth, income gains, reduce income inequality, and even BALANCE THE BUDGET! Bernie is not a real radical but a confirmed FDR New Deal Democrat. His kind of economic prescriptions worked after the Great Depression and will similarly work after our present Great Recession. Its time to work our asses off to help get him nominated!


“Friedman’s modeling of Bernie’s plan is so terrifying … because it shows – under the orthodox economic models – that the government can be a powerful engine of producing “huge beneficial impacts.” What is required is that our President has the nerve to junk the orthodox economic myths.”

The Koch Brothers’ Initiative shared by a consortium of billionaire financiers has spent a lot of money instilling in the American Psyche (through its labyrinth of subsidized Ivy League Professors, think tanks, purchased politicians, and legal muscle) the idea that government is inefficient and a problem.

Furthermore, these Deep Pocket Interests have regurgitated a particularly loathsome aspect of Calvinism and pushed its modern American version: that those who are rich show God’s favor and thus deserve their privileged status while those without funds have “obviously acted in ways” that brought them that piss poor fate.

Big Money has pushed the narratives that justify phenomenal amounts of money going to the top of the financial pyramid while an increasing number of people do without… homes, jobs, food, clean water, etc.

What this ILK is fighting for is a preservation of the rationales that enabled them to steal so much from the public’s treasury while paying their hirelings to point the finger at Muslims, the Black Community, Mexican’s desperate “illegal” workers, and women who require birth control!

Bernie Sanders is shaking up the money changers’ temple… and it scares the crap out of them. That’s why all the establishment Economic Big Guns have been called in to do the hit job.

They never thought he’d gain as much support as he has. But Truth has a resonance that’s stronger than the fact that he’s older, Jewish, and not handsome or Hollywood style charismatic.

The public is READY for other than “business as usual” when that business consists of a war on the poor, a war on nature, a war on women, and a series of insane wars aimed at the Middle East and who knows, Russia?

Luckily, many people LOVE an underdog and the way the Press is treating Mr. Sanders certainly qualifies him as that!


“It’s policing the leftward edge of the discourse, and in a way that is deeply unfair to Professor Friedman. Even if his analysis turns out to have some errors, he’s not remotely comparable to the Republican hacks who cynically stamp out argle-bargle claiming whatever handout to the rich is on deck will create one bazillion percent growth.”

It’s also something else… and that something is retaining Low Expectations.

The Right Wing pro-business cartels insist that there’s not enough $ in Social Security to cover existing obligations.

How dare Mr. Sanders challenge THAT narrative by insisting that seniors need a decent living allowance increment?

The right wing ALWAYS conflates taxes on the upper 10% with taxes on everyone else. In reality, taxes were well over 50% to those upper income brackets until relatively recently. And it just so happened that when the taxes to the upper echelons were higher, bridges got built along with complex, expensive infrastructure.

Just as opponents of Mr. Sanders always say that his Health Care for all plan is a ridiculous pipe dream, their arguments are made without EVER referring to the 30% cut taken by the Insurance Industry right off the top. And how Medicare’s operational costs are far lower than those forced by Insurance Company controls and protocols.

The deceptions, false arguments, and narrow frames are tools in ALEC’S arsenal: and all of them are designed to keep the public locked into DIMINISHED expectations.

Years ago when someone took a job at a decent company, they were promised benefits including a retirement package and stock options in that company. Contrast that level of support for employees with today’s “fast food” model: Human beings pushed into erratic work schedules, paid low wages, given NO benefits, and often risking sudden layoffs.

Like I said… Mrs. Sanders is turning over the tables of the Money Changers: the bastards that have run things for 3+ decades. They don’t want a new sheriff coming to town forcing THEM to comply with laws that would better their communities!


Thank you for mentioning this book, along with Allen’s “Only Yesterday” a favorite of mine. And he was such a good writer to boot.

I read Black’s piece last evening, it is well worth the time. Mr. Black pulls no punches, he calls out Krugman for not one, not two, but three wrong headed and unfair pieces, impunging the integrity and good reputation of Prof. Friedman. Nobels don’t necessarily equate to integrity or professional ethics. Actually it is shocking that Krugman would risk his standing within the elite Ivy League fraternity over Hillary Clinton.


Write public at nytimes dot com to protest Krugman’s

“Varieties of Voodoo”
February 15, 2016 (required by NYT to protest).

Suggested by Yves Smith at her link from the article. I sent them the link to this article and the one by Yves, since it contains a request for an apology by Friedman.


Certainly a lot of words flying back and forth about an economic plan that has in all likelihood zero chance of getting through Congress. These days, if Congress votes to raise the borrowing level for the debt to avoid the government defaulting on its loans we are lucky.

Great article Mr. Johnson. It has actually got me interested in "economics’ again. It is empowering as opposed to the dis-empowering screeds of Krugman and others, as well as some of the comments…“doesn’t stand a chance in hell”… Thanks again.

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I think Krugman has left the, “Ivy League fraternity,” by leaving Princeton, and taking a special position in NY City at some institution in a seat that I suspect is a special reward for services rendered to the big banks via QE and such.

This charge will outrage the few remaining Krugman supporters on this site, but Krugman has been headed into the deep establishment for some time (starting way back with support for NAFTA), with all its attendant corruption …


First, I want to excise “puppies and rainbows” from political discourse forthwith. As it is, I feel like barfing puppies and rainbows on every “serious” commentator out there.

Second, Wall Street is located in Manhattan, as is the New York Times; if the Clintons don’t own a townhouse there, their residence is close enough to term them Manhattanites. Take a look back through presidential history and observe how well each President’s native state has done during his term in office. New York will do very well during President Hillary’s time in office. They expect payback.

Third, because they expect payback, rigorous research and reporting be damned. As far as NYT op-ed columnists go, it’s been interesting reading since the NYT editorial board pre-empted the primary race with their Clinton endorsement. Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins have indeed been crafty in dodging their disgust with Clinton. One of Frank Bruni’s columns a couple weeks ago read as if it had one sentence inserted to demonstrate obeisance to toe the line–perhaps inserted by his editor, it was so out of place. As for Krugman, I start my Mondays and Fridays with his columns. Dave Johnson’s report here only demonstrates how even self-described wonks like Krugman can dispense with academic rigors to “do it the company way.”

Fourth, I wanted to write a careful response after spending 3 hours on this topic yesterday. How in the hell can the people getting big bucks skate on such ill-drawn conclusions-- with their staffs of researchers???

Fifth and last. Trend calling in American politics is dicey, assuredly so, this year. I’ll instead call out my expectations. A) Clinton will have enough delegates to claim the nomination by March 16. B) As surmised elsewhere, Sanders will preserve the dream in some way or fashion to solidify the movement now begun. C) Trump and Kasich will lead the Republicans, and the attacks (tenfold) will begin concurrently with the Democratic convention. D) Economic troubles (presently prognosticated from various quarters) will come too late to help Bernie but have the R’s blaming the “failed policies of Obama.” E) Clinton wins the presidency. F) 2016 is named the hottest year in recorded history. G) The next iterations of a Benghazi or email investigation opens the 115th congress. H) Putin challenges Clinton in Ukraine, Netanyayu in Gaza, and Xi in the South China sea. I) Bill puts his hands (actual or photoshopped) on some woman, sabotaging any so-called items on Hillary’s pro-woman agenda.

It’s a good thing Bernie has raised so much hope. My monthly checks to his campaign may not bring him to office, but I’m convinced that progressive solutions in the next 4 years will win a respected hearing.

Opening day: April 3. Wake me from my nightmare after the World Series.

What you have described is a collective Stockholm Syndrome.

Chelsea Clinton and her hedge fund manager husband DO own posh digs in Manhattan.

And I predict that Hillary pushes Putin, not the other way around, and we get WW-III, and there’s no progressive hope for the future at all. For that reason alone, I suspect even Trump would be a better choice. She’s worse than John McCain on foreign policy. I doubt if she’ll beat Trump.

OK, maybe she’s not worse than John McCain on foreign policy, but she’s almost as bad. Same results …

i don’t want to endorse your predictions, but well-written comment. :O)

may your Sanders contributions help him win the nomination!

Here is another view of highly questionable economists bashingthe economics of Bernie’s proposals.

“A New York Times piece headlined “left-leaning economists question cost of Bernie Sanders’ plans” may have misled readers about the extent of skepticism among economists who consider themselves left-leaning. I can say this as a card-carrying left-leaning economist who often talks to other card-carrying left-leaning economists.”
“It also misrepresented the comments of Jared Bernstein (a personal friend), implying that they were criticisms of Sanders’ program. In fact his comments were addressed to the analysis of Sanders’ proposals by Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts who is not affiliated with the Sanders campaign.” - Dean Baker