Millions of Americans are “Feeling the Bern” with Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders, but the Vermont senator also has millions of detractors who strongly disapprove of his policies.
According to The Washington Post, Sanders recently talked with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos to address his critics who believe that his plans for tax reform and wealth distribution are too similar to those of Denmark and Sweden.
“And what’s wrong with that?” Sanders replied when Stephanopoulos asked him about these comparisons.
Denmark and Sweden are two notable examples of countries with bigger governments that impose higher taxes to pay for universal education and healthcare, among other things. Several studies have shown that these countries are generally as prosperous and happy — if not more so — than the U.S.
However, many economists believe that Sanders’ policies wouldn’t work because of the fundamental differences between European nations and America. While the majority of Denmark and Sweden’s citizens were born and raised there, the U.S. is infinitely more diverse, which makes it harder to please the masses with socialist ideologies.
“There’s nothing wrong with [Sanders’ policies] other than that Americans are not Danes,” said Alan Blinder, a top economic adviser to President Bill Clinton.
“The number one reason why these policies are feasible in Denmark is that the country is extremely homogenous,” said Jacob Kirkegaard, a Dane who works at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington.
Kirkegaard added that Danes view themselves as “shareholders” in the state, which enhances the trust between the government and its citizens. In the U.S., Donald Trump has made a successful campaign out of playing on the insecurities of Americans who distrust their government.
One of Sanders’ most notable platforms during his campaign has been raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. His detractors have been vocal in opposing this policy because they believe it would lead to widespread inflation, rendering the pay raise useless.
The average annual raise an employee can currently expect is 3%, but given the cost of inflation, it actually amounts to more like 1% in additional spending power. Therefore, some say that Sanders’ proposed minimum wage hike would end up doing more harm than good to the economy.
According to Real Clear Politics, Sanders responded to these concerns during a recent Democratic Town Hall.
“Prices…look, the truth is yes, you may end up paying a few cents more for a hamburger at McDonald’s. But you will be, if you’re that worker going from $8.00 or $10 an hour to $15 an hour, you’re going to be a lot better off,” said Sanders.
The altruistic senator is still far behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, but there is still plenty of time for him to make a late run at the White House.