Sen. Bernie Sanders told the Republican Party today that if they continue to push austerity, they will suffer defeat just like Nicolas Sarkozy did.
In a statement about Sunday’s elections in Europe, Sanders said,
In the United States and around the world, the middle class is in steep decline while the wealthy and large corporations are doing phenomenally well. The message sent by voters in France and other European countries, which I believe will be echoed here in the United States, is that the wealthy and large corporations are going to have to experience some austerity also and that that burden cannot solely fall on working families.
In the United States, where corporate profits are soaring and the gap between the rich and everybody else is growing wider, we must end corporate tax loopholes and start making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. At the same time, we must protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Austerity, yes, but for millionaires and billionaires, not the working families of this country.
Sen. Sanders has it nailed. The American people don’t like extremism. Since the 2010 elections, Republicans have been pushing fiscal extremism, and the bill is about to come due in 2012. The Republican Party is out of step with what most Americans really want. They want their Social Security and Medicare left the way they are. They want taxes to be raised at least a little bit on those who can afford it the most, and they want the social safety net to be strong and left in place.
The dirty little secret about the United States is that we love our socialism. A 2011 joint Duke and Harvard study found that, “92% of the respondents believed in the socialistic economic wealth distribution of Sweden.”
It’s time to stop fighting it and just come out of the closet, and the group I’m talking about is the American public and the love they’re denying is their love of socialism. Now I know that there are few words in America more toxic than socialist, and these days big government spending is about as popular as Casey Anthony at a Chucky Cheese. Yes, Americans say they hate socialism but when it comes to Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, corporate welfare, bailouts, and farm subsidies, what we really say to socialism is I can’t quit you.
Americans don’t want less spending on healthcare, by almost 2 to 1 they want more. Only 7% of Americans are willing to do away with either Social Security or Medicare, and even 62% of tea party members say those programs are worth the cost, yet 91% say they want smaller government with fewer services.
Republicans conned themselves into the believing that their 2010 off year mid-term election victory represented the will of the people, but when polling is examined two consistent points always emerge when Americans are asked about the deficit and spending. A majority will say that they want to cut the deficit, and that same majority will also tell you that they do not want any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Americans love their socialism and they have a decades long tradition of punishing any party or candidate that threatens to take it away. Republicans are threatening more loudly than they ever have before to take away America’s beloved socialistic programs, and as Bernie Sanders pointed out following Sarkozy down the austerity path will lead them to the same result as the now former French president.
If austerity is the Republican dream, rejection and defeat will be their reality.