Monday, February 8, 2016

What will Bernie Sanders' 'free stuff for everybody' America look like?

Everybody loves something for free.  Things that are truly free, or in other words cost the consumer of that thing nothing, are in reality non-existent.

Nothing is free.  Not clean water, not clean air, not dirt, nothing. Somebody always pays for the stuff that others consider free.  But that never stops Bernie Sanders from offering free stuff for everybody when he's on the stump with a bull horn.

That always seems to work in politics: when candidates offer free this and free that, they tend to get a lot of votes.  And in the short term, the winning politician that promises all of this free stuff can indeed provide a lot of free stuff.  But that is in the short term only. Once the free stuff runs out (and it always does, since free stuff creates immediate and endless demand), then the politician is either out of office by that time, or he/she diverts attention from the end of the goodies to other considerations.

Bernie is offering free college for everybody.  But is college free? It is, if the recipient of the degree doesn't have to cough up any dough to get it.  Yes, it's free to that guy.  But what did it cost the rest of us?  Do professors provide their services to the universities for free?  Not on your life.  Do the janitors who swab out the hallways of these institutions work for nothing?  Not a chance.  How about the couple of million administrators who push pencils at these institutions, do they work for free?  Nope.  Somebody pays for all of this free education.  

And who would that be?  That would be the American tax payer, that's who pays for these things.  And if they don't cough up all of the money for free college, then the policians will borrow the rest to make up the difference, thus adding to our 19 Trillion dollar debt.

At some point, sooner or later, the flow of all of this free stuff (that's far from free) comes to an end.  What will life look like in the U.S. when that day comes?  It won't be pretty.  Everybody who has been promised all of this free stuff will get mighty irked.  

And if there are enough irked citizens whose free stuff no longer shows up at their doorstep are motivated to do something about it, that's when things will get pretty ugly.

The only result of these irked citizens who grab their pitchforks and torches and try and force the resumption of the flow of free stuff is conflict and destruction.  Just take a look at Greece, and the mobs in the streets demanding that their free stuff continue.  Things are getting nasty in Athens, and will only get nastier.  The free stuff over there is gone, never to return.  That realization is starting to hit the mobs, and they don't like it, not one bit.

Life in Bernie Sanders' 'free stuff for everybody' America will not exactly become a paradise on earth.  It will more closely resemble hell on earth, truth be known.


LL said...

Everyone wants, "Money for nothing and chicks for free", as Dire Straights put it.

Congress appropriates money. It's their only check on the Executive Branch. If Bernie were to be elected, he'd run smack into a Republican Congress who wouldn't do what he's promised. And he knows that. He's a bit senile, but he knows it. He hit on a schtick that works and suddenly he's a rock star for the first time in his lackluster political career. And he's up against one of the most despicable, unethical and unlikeable people to hit the American political stage in a century or more. So he wins because the Dems have two really bad choices: A 74 year old communist who promises to pay for their hopes and dreams by collectivizing the nation (and looks like everyone's mad uncle) and the Bitch of Benghazi.

Hillary's upset because Bernie beat her to promising everything. There's not much free crap that Hillary can promise the young people who haven't had the pain of earning and being taxed to death that Bernie's not offering. He wants to have billionaires pay for everything. But billionaires can move and take all their cash and companies with them.

Fredd said...


Mark Knopfler speaks for a lot of the youth today, who has never seen the kind of money that our progressive tax system eventually raids. Money for nothing and your chicks for free, hey everybody would go for that. Everybody with no brains, that is, because nobody gets money for nothing, and chicks are never free.

I believe I saw a graphic back in Barry's early days about taxing billionaires: if Barry taxed all U.S. billionaires assets at 100% (not just income, but tax EVERYThing they had in the bank), we would have enough money to run the treasury for about a month.

There's just not enough billionaires in the US to put the screws to, but Bernie doesn't know that. He thinks EVERYBODY on Wall Street is a billionaire, the dope.

Gorges Smythe said...

As you know, Margaret Thatcher pretty-well summed up the trouble with socialism.

LL said...

There are a number of departments in USGOV that do NOTHING. I don't mean the lame sick and lazy that have sinecures, I mean the departments that create more problems than they solve.

Much of the trouble that the country now faces can be fixed with genuine full employment, not the gun decked stats that the ObamaNation uses. The government can make the nation business friendly, but it's not their job to hire people. In fact, they need to fire a lot of people. Government drones are expensive to support.

Ed Bonderenka said...

After a while, the free stuff is shoddy and made in China.

Also, as to free college.
If you can get a black lesbian jewish lithuanian woman's studies degree and don't have to be concerned about paying for it, you will have been conned in to losing four years of your life with nothing to show for it.

Fredd said...


You are, as usual, exactly right. Once bachelor's degrees are 'free,' then they all become worthless. If kids want to get degrees in ceramics, poetry or women's studies, those shouldn't even be called degrees.

My suggestion: no free college, and issue only four bachelor of science (no arts) degrees:
1) engineering
2) business
3) science
4) mathematics

That's it. Every other course of study should be called 'finger painting.' And no degree associated with it.

Fredd said...


What you have pointed out is the underlying reason why we are 19 Trillion dollars in debt: bureaucracies gone wild. They just grow, and don't increase any production, and like they say in the Geico commercials, 'it's what they do.'

Microcosm of this in my neck of the woods is the Chicago Public Schools: they are broke, and crying for more money to fund the arguably worst performing school system in the world. Current GOP governor Bruce Rauner (R-Il) has suggested that CPS file for bankruptcy, and then let a judge sort out how to restructure. Imagine what kind of pressure on that judge to reconfigure the CPS exactly the same way it was: a zillion administrators to each student.

The CPS is just a typical bureaucracy that has grown in typical fashion. In my day (I am older than dirt), a standard public elementary school, K-6th grade, had a principal, maybe three administrators, a teacher for each classroom (7 total), and a janitor. That's it. No food service, every kid brought a brown bag from home to be eaten at the kid's desk (no cafeteria), and a local dairy delivered a hand cart of milk to each teacher, and the teacher charged each kid 4 cents per carton.

In Fredd's elementary school (Ida Patterson Elementary School, Eugene Oregon, 1966), there were 12 full time employees to teach about 175 kids (7 classes, 25 kids per class).

In the Chicago Public School system, you will find a standard elementary school to have:
1 principal
2 vice principals
20 administrators
30 teachers
15 cafeteria personnel ('lunch ladies')
10 janitors
2 security agents
3 nurses

83 people to handle 175 kids, or about 1 public school employee for every 2 kids. Do the math, it doesn't make any sense at all. This is why they are broke, and the CPS executives can't find a single way to reduce costs, it's simply beyond them.

Just fire the lot of them, and go back to 1966 personnel levels. Problem solved. Of course, parents would have to get a bit more involved, and that's a whole other topic...

Fredd said...

LL: ....and I didn't even discuss school buses. My old elementary school, we all walked to school. CPS has 10 buses, with 15 drivers, and 3 mechanics and a motor pool maintenance facility to service the buses, the story never ends....

Euripides said...

Love the summary of the Chicago school system. School administration is killing off education. The current school model that I'm trying to help create in Arizona has one director, one admin, and the rest are teachers. We have a much higher success rate with our students than any other school in the state.

I do keep reading about Bernie's promises. I understand he's declared war on some road in New York City? That's nearly as absurd as the war on weather. Oh, those amusing progressives!

Kid said...

Good God yes, the number of worthless punks showing up at colleges to do nothing but entirely degrade the process and the number of "administrators" and other useless pork fat put on college payrolls will be mind bending. Well, it would be if the media ever saw fit to report it if it happens.

You're a smart guy Fredd.

LL said...

Public Schools should receive no federal funding, no special programs from the feds, etc. It's a state issue. Let the state of Illinois (or wherever) balance its budget and do the best it can for the kids.

The key here is that they should not go into debt, which may mean that the teachers can clean up the classroom after school rather than relying on a janitor. I realize that there are labor unions to prohibit this sort of thing, and if the states want to pay for it, fine. However, without the endless federal trough to swill from, reality will set in.

I walked to school in the snow too. It didn't hurt/I didn't die. When I went to school, the students had to buy their books and it was their responsibility to resell them to the lower class, who bought them based on market rates. The school would sell you a new one if you wanted to buy it. The bureaucracy had little to do with the transactions. Today, it's free books for everyone and they don't take care of them and don't care.

Emblematic of ObamaNation.

Fredd said...

LL: you mention in passing that public teachers have labor unions to protect them from working.

Yet another topic that suggest elimination of public labor unions for obvious reasons: these public unions represent the workers who are paid by the public. They are negotiating with themselves, which makes no sense.

Kid said...

Fredd, I know it's late. Very late. But the bull market in Gold may finally be starting. For anyone interested, the current rally in gold and the miners (GLD/GDX/GDXJ) is very extended - wait for a pullback.

Fredd said...

Kid: yeah, Charles Payne has been recommending that people who have the heebie jeebies about market volatility now should snap up some gold, he said that last week before the big jump.

I think if you have the heebie jeebies about market volatility, you should just stuff your cash in your mattress. Or put it in a tin can and bury it in your back yard.

Markets are now down about 23% from their highs, time to go back up. That's kind of how the business cycle works, Kid. Buy stock, buy some gold (but don't bet the farm on it).

I'm still holding my PHOT, Kid. Never say never.....

Kid said...

Fredd, Agree on the market. It has recorded a Dow Theory sell signal though in August which has yet to be reversed. Lately, it seems the market has lost faith in the central banks and the Fed. Last meeting it was a .25% fed funds raise and this meeting it is "We won't rule out negative rates". Hmmm.

Anyway, the line in the sand is S&P500 1812. It it drops convincingly below that, it's going down. Not straight down, but down.

As far as eggs in one basket. I almost never buy and hold. I don't trust anything that much and I hate blind risk which in that case would be even holding overnight. The big moves in gold happen in market off hours. You can make a big score or you can be gutted and you have to avoid the big losses so I just forget about swinging for the fences. And regular companies? Geez, so many variables. Are they cooking the books? Are earnings going to good or bad, and either way how is the market going to react (the main thing). I will never put my money on the craps table while I go play slots for a while.

ANYway, If gold and by association the gold miners are entering a bull market, buy and holders can make some money. An old adage in the market is that everyone is a genius in a bull market. Just a fwiw.

If you're interested in playing the marijuana, GWPH is the pure play there. It's currently in a downtrend though just like the market has been.

Good luck and happy times regardless Fredd.