Bernie Sanders could present a thorough, foolproof plan to provide housing, clean water, and electricity to every person on Earth, in a clean and self-sustaining ecosystem, in which all the happy, organic farms are linked to gleaming, bustling, crime-free metropolises by networks of electric trucks and buses, plus high speed rail, immortality, and colonies on Mars, and people would raise objections.
It’s just what people do.
There seem to be 3 main objections to his plan to forgive student debt.
The first is the most easily dismissed. “I paid off my student loans. This isn’t fair to me.” One of the first things I learned in AA is “You cannot change the past.” Bernie Sanders is trying to help people who need help now. He cannot bring back your lost years and your lost dollars. He cannot go back in time to kill Hitler and prevent the holocaust. I’m sure he would if he could.
Would finding a cure for cancer be unfair to those who’ve already died of cancer? Will bringing about racial equality be unfair to all those who have already been shot dead by police? Well, of course it would but we cannot change the past.
Objection #2 is “Why should I have to pay for it?” I tried pointing out that since this is a transaction tax on Wall St., it won’t affect us average folks at all. I soon found out that there are those among my friends and family who see themselves on the other side of that line. One objected to the tax because he has a $100,000 tax portfolio. “Well, good for you,” I thought. You can let it ride and pay nothing, for now, or you can cash in and it will cost you $500 (which is 0.5% of $100,000)
It’s sort of like when Bernie announced his tax plan, with a 4% increase on incomes over $250,000 a year. It sounds reasonable to me, that’s a lot of money, but I was surprised at how many people I know didn’t consider it a lot. “If you live in New York (or California) it’s not that much,” was a common refrain. I don’t object to people being a little bit rich, especially if they are friends of mine, but I don’t think Bernie’s taxes will break you, either. Bernie’s programs will help the economy, overall, so you will still prosper.
Objection #3 is “He’ll have a hard time getting it passed.”
Well, of course he will. When a teacher stands in front of a room on the first day of school, he or she knows full well that 75% of those students are dumb as rocks and will never learn a damn thing. A doctor begins every surgery hoping to save the patient, even though he or she knows that occasionally a patient will die. When a rookie boxer steps into the ring and the odds are 10-1 against him, he still fights to win. That’s the Rocky story. Bernie is Rocky.