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Is Bernie Sanders a Socialist?
Bernie says he's a Socialist
News Break - Clinton paid by Sweden to enhance trade with Iran
Bill Clinton’s foundation set up a fundraising arm in Sweden that collected $26 million in donations at the same time that country was lobbying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department to forgo sanctions that threatened its thriving business with Iran, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.
What is Sen. Bernard Sander's Socialism?
Democratic Socialism is what he says is his affiliation and ideology.
In a Stephanopoulos interview in May this year, he said:
"Well, so long as we know what democratic socialism is. And if we know that in countries, in Scandinavia, like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they are very democratic countries, obviously."
The Nordic "socialist" model involves government ownership of about 30% of the the economy. Via social programs, they strive for a "cuddly" capitalism where inequality of income is to be minimized.
U.S. capitalism, with its highly stratified high to low incomes, is held out as Nordic Socialism's exact opposite. Yet as far as it goes, the Nordic model he admires seems more a partnership between state and private enterprises.
"And in those countries, by and large, government works for ordinary people and the middle class, rather than, as is the case right now in our country, for the billionaire class," he told Stephanopoulos. Does it really? We see interesting trends outlined in the "OECD Income inequality data update: Sweden (January 2015)".
In Sweden, we see the government cooperating with capital by lowering their taxes:
"Sweden’s richest 1% of earners saw their share of total pre-tax income nearly double, from 4% in 1980 to 7% in 2012. Including capital gains, income shares of the top percentile reached 9% in 2012. During the same time, the top marginal income tax rate dropped from 87% in 1979 to 57% in 2013." (Source)
The same report has no better news for the other Nordic countries, only a difference in degrees:
"As in other Nordic countries, capital income played a larger part in increasing inequality as it has become more concentrated over time. Since the mid 1980s the share of capital income increased by some 2% for the population as a whole. It actually decreased by 1% for the poorer 20% but the share increased by 10% for the richest 20% of Swedes. Capital income explains more than 13% of total income inequality, up from 8% in the mid 1980s."
Perhaps we might think that an earlier description of the relationship between any government and the capitalist system is still appropriate:
" The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie." (Marx and Hegel, "The Communist Manifesto"). A serious problem in life is the fact that Sen. Sander's best hope is still pointing to a dismal outcome. Income equality remains elusive to his Nordic program.
But how does this define Socialism or Socialist?
To be upset about income inequality is to be primarily spending one's time in constant outrage. Anger or other intense emotions still afford no practical program to the vague end of a "cooperative society" wherein righteousness dwells!
The Nordics have not found a solution to this, however often they are pointed to as the new "homeland" of a revolution for the latest crop of Socialists in or out of the Democratic party.
Is there an actual democratic solution to the problem of income equality? I think so, but not with Bernie or his Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate... nor any President.