I wasn’t aware that Bernie Sanders had already been elected president. Apparently he was because when asked about his campaign plans he lashed out at a reporter, “I’m dealing with a f**king global crisis.” He then added, “I’m trying to do my best to make sure that we don’t have an economic meltdown and that people don’t die. Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?” It makes you wonder how he’d react if he were actually responsible for handling this.
I noted he’s running for president, and he said: “Well right now, right now I’m trying to do my best to make sure that we don’t have an economic meltdown and that people don’t die. Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 18, 2020
Then @LisaMascaro asked what he’s saying to his supporters, and he sidestepped the question, noting he’s sent out a statement. Then, I asked about his timeframe — and he was furious
Afterwards, he mellowed out and answered questions about the crisis for about two more minutes.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 18, 2020
Is Bernie “back-bencher” Sanders really dealing with the crisis? Well, last night he did give a live-stream speech about it. The core of it was his call for all health care bills to be paid for by Medicare during the duration of the coronavirus crisis. He made clear he wasn’t talking about testing or even treatment for people who become ill. He means everything, apparently. So if you break a leg while looting during the next three months, Bernie thinks Medicare should cover it.
What Bernie doesn’t seem to get is that the real danger in this crisis isn’t that people won’t be able to afford care. The real danger is that no care will be available because the entire system will be overwhelmed. Temporary single-payer, which is what he seems to be proposing, doesn’t help anyone if there are no beds available in hospitals and it takes 30 mintues to get someone to answer 911. Covering costs doesn’t address the real threat we’re facing. But then, Bernie is a pretty simple socialist creature. He just keeps proposing the same solutions regardless of the situation.
In addition, Sanders suggested every household in America should receive $2,000 every month for the duration of the crisis.
I don’t think it takes a lot of imagination to see what is happening here. Bernie is officially still in the race but there’s no chance he can win at this point. It’s over. The revolution has failed…again. But what Bernie can do, is not let this crisis go to waste. If he can somehow shoehorn free health care and universal basic income into an emergency bill, that would be a tremendous boost for his vision of America.
Of course he’s not talking about the cost of all of this. He says he’s trying to avoid an economic meltdown but there are 128 million households in the U.S. So sending each one a check for $2,000 would cost the government $256 billion dollars per month. If we start this next month and the crisis lasts through July, that’s a trillion dollars. If it lasts through the end of the year, that’s 2.25 trillion dollars. And that doesn’t include whatever we’re spending to cover everyone’s medical bills at the same time.
Sanders doesn’t care if we add another $3-4 trillion to the debt this year. He just wants a foothold. If the emergency ends in a few months, Sanders and his comrades can spend the next decade ranting about how everyone loved their free health care and free rent and how cruel it was that the government didn’t continue both programs in perpetuity. What they want is a proof of concept, regardless of the price.
And the slightly sad part is that Sanders must realize this is his last chance to see any of this happen. It’s not the coronavirus that’s making Bernie so short with reporters, it’s the realization that his version of Democratic Socialism isn’t going to happen in his lifetime unless he can somehow make it happen right now.
But if Bernie is stressed about dealing with the crisis and running for president, there’s a simple solution that would make things easier on him: Drop out now.
There doesn’t seem to be any video of Bernie’s outburst so you’ll have to settle for these highlights of his speech from last night.