Is Bernie a communist, a demagogue, a race-baiter, or all three?

Some penciled notes from the Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee Thursday night:

•  I like Bernie for the same reason I like the Trumpster. They’re entertaining. But then, demagogues are.

•  Bernie likes to say the system is rigged, big corporate money is drowning out the voice of “the people,” and the electoral system is corrupt. But his candidacy seems to be doing all right just the same.

•  After the most activist president in 70 years, Bernie wants to double down on still more government.

•  If the Obama economy is gangbusters, how can his former secretary of state say, as she did last night, “A lot of Americans are angry about the economy, and with good cause.”


Even bigger gummint — Kudos to PBS, of all news outlets, for pushing Bernie on growing the government in the face of growing distrust — disgust, even — at government over-reach. Co-moderator Judy Woodruff put the federal government’s claim on the total economy at 21%. How much would you grow the government? Bernie went duck and cover so Hillary answered for him: 40%. (That should thrill Bring It’s anonymous faux business commenters.)

Single payer, if you haven’t caught on by now, is a pseudonym for socialized medicine. Bernie calls it “Medicare for All.” As the Policy Research Werkes noted earlier this week, even all-Democratic Vermont — Bernie’s state — says it can’t afford it. Kudos to Hillary for noting, “We are not England; we are not France.” (She forgot the underpants.)

“The numbers don’t add up,” she says of Bernie. Not the most inspiring of messages, to be sure. (Texting Bernie Madoff!) But give her credit. “We should level with the American people about what we can do and what we cannot do.” Eat your oatmeal.

Bernie would tax “speculation” — That’s how he pays for Free College for Everyone. A complete scam.

Credit: Tim Donovan

What is “speculation?” The Bernie-to-American English Dictionary says it is another word for “investment.” Bernie would impose a 50-cent tax on every $100 of stock trades, 10 cents per $100 on bonds. Folks, that’s your IRA mutual fund. That’s the IPO for the next Apple or Google.

The Tax Foundation describes Bernie’s proposed tax as, in effect, a Ponzi scheme. “It … results in ‘pyramiding’ by taxing the same economic activity multiple times.” And yes, it’s been tried before. Sweden tried it in the 1980s. It wound up reducing revenue.

Citing the Tax Foundation, as down-the-middle, non-partisan an organization as they come, The Street said the upshot of Bernie’s tax-and-spend plans, “is that most people will have less money in their pocket. After-tax income would drop by 10.6% for all taxpayers and 17.9% for those in the top 1%. Accounting for a lower GDP, the Tax Foundation says all taxpayers would see their take-home pay fall by at least 12.8%.”



Race-baiting — With the South Carolina primary in their headlights, both Democrats went full-on pander mode on the subject of race. Bernie excoriated “over-policing in African-American neighborhoods” and called them “an occupying force” and called for “fundamental police reform.” Al Sharpton for vice president! Neither Democrat cited FBI Director James Comey, who blames the “Ferguson Effect.”

Both candidates genuflected at the uncertain altar of Dontre Hamilton, shot to death in April 2014 by a white police officer. The district attorney ruled self-defense and declined to prosecute. Neither candidate mentioned 5-year-old Laylah Petersen, fatally shot while sitting on her grandfather’s lap in November 2014. Three tough guys were arrested. They had shot up “the wrong house.”

Neither Democrat had anything to say about the 145 homicides recorded last year in Milwaukee (up from 86 in 2014) — 126 of the victims black. (The city is 40% African-American, 53% total minority.) Two-thirds of those killed were under age 30. (Here is what they looked like.) Not one was shot by police.

The police, the schools, employers, public officials — all are racists, Bernie says. “We are looking at institutionalized racism.” Hillary was no better; her term is “systemic racism.” Think about it, after seven years of Barack Obama! But that is what demagogues do. They blame the man behind the tree.

Parting shots — Sanders and Trump “are the same totalitarian candidate,” Ben Shapiro writes in the Daily Wire.

•  The Washington Examiner says “New Hampshire chose Hell over Hillary.” The reference was to Madeline Albright invoking a “special kind of hell” for women who didn’t vote for Hillary.

•  Donald Trump, always politically incorrect, told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that he listened to Bernie’s New Hampshire victory speech. “We’re dealing with a socialist, perhaps even a communist.”

•  What has your Squire been saying? “Rubio eyes brokered convention after NH setback.” — ABC News. The Paul Ryan express barrels full steam ahead! Hey, the Dems could have their own floor fight. Draft Joe Biden! Go Michael Bloomberg!

•  Since Scott Walker got a shout-out at the PBS debate Thursday night, The Stately Manor commemorates the fifth anniversary on Feb. 11 of Act 10. Madison’s daily newspaper admits Act 10 didn’t wreck the schools. “Madison’s school budget isn’t so bad.” For Madison, that is an act of courage.

•  Jeb! is still in the presidential race because his family firmly believes in No Child Left Behind.

•  Did you notice Bernie’s tie? Those white polka dots shone like one of those overpass light brigade signs.

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