Bernie Sanders, the man with a plan

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Bernie Sanders, the man with a plan



By Brody Cragg

If last week’s Iowa caucus proved anything, it’s that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has a real shot at becoming President of the United States. Bernie is a humble man, a man of bold ideas. He’s been called many things but I think the word we are looking for is “social Democrat.”

If you’ve been listening to him you would know that he’s made many comparisons to Norway’s economic and social programs- and why we should be replicating them.  He’s stood up for civil rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights and isn’t afraid to stand up to his own colleagues. It’s hard not to like the man.


It’s the economy stupid.

It all begins with taxes. Under Bernie’s plan, anyone with income over $250,000 would pay 37% of their income in taxes, up from the current 33%. He’s modeled this off of Norway. It’s widely misconstrued that their taxes are much higher than in America. While this is true for the richest people, the poorest are taxed at a lower rate compared to the rich.  The reverse is true in America. Under our system, income equality continues to grow and we see by the shrinking middle class.

“Very few people think it is acceptable or moral that the top 1/10th of 1% own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%.” –Bernie Sanders

A higher tax rate certainly hasn’t hurt them. With an annual 3% GDP growth rate despite global recessions, Norway has proven time and again that strong social policies and can go hand in hand a strong economy. Their unemployment rate boasts 4.1% compared to ours at 5.5%. And the labor force participation rate there is 65% and growing, compared to America’s shrinking 62.6%.

Because they’re happy.

Norway’s economy is thriving, but they’re also happy. In a study conducted by Forbes Magazine, the happiest people on earth were found to be Norwegians. Touting strong social support system, gender equality, general freedom and low perceptions of corruption, Norway sets the bar high in all of these factors.

“And in those

[Scandanavian] countries, college education, graduate school is free. In those countries, retirement benefits, child care are stronger than in the United States of America, and in those countries, by and large, government works for ordinary people in the middle class, rather than, as is the case right now in our country, for the billionaire class.”  (Bernie Sanders on This Week with George Stephanopolous on ABC.)


These are still not guaranteed for many in America.

Many will say that’s not possible, but Norway is a great example of what we can do more for every day Americans. Their people are happy, workers’ rights are guaranteed and their economy is growing. That could be us.

I am ready to Feel The Bern, are you?

Brody Cragg was an intern with Kent Dems in the Fall of 2015. He is majoring in economics at Grand Valley State University.

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February 7th, 2016|