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Bernie Sanders’ Dismal Understanding of Economics

Brett Davis

Posted on June 27, 2019 15:54

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A social media post on the topic is the latest swing and a miss for the Vermont senator.

As a self-identified democratic socialist, by definition Sen. Bernie Sanders does not understand basic economics. The Democratic candidate for president of the United States demonstrated as much again with this recent tweet:

Aside from the obvious fact the nation does not pay baseball players – fans do by voluntarily exchanging their hard-earned money for tickets to games, merchandise and other products advertised at games and via various media outlets – Sanders’ tweet indicates a fundamental ignorance about how supply and demand works in the real world. It turns out playing on the emotionally-charged issue of teacher pay for political gain is a poor substitute for understanding how wages are actually determined.

Sanders does not grasp that salaries are not based on work’s intrinsic value, however that would be measured. Obviously salaries are not just about the importance of work; if that were the case, teachers – among others – would be pulling down big bucks. That they are not doesn’t mean teachers are any less crucial to society. What it does mean, however, is that employers can find more people to teach at the pay they now earn.

Contrast that with people capable of playing the national pastime at its highest level – that is, under the auspices of Major League Baseball. Such people are very rare and in-demand by fans willing to pay for the privilege of seeing their favorite star athletes skillfully play the game. That is why top-tier professional baseball players make astronomical salaries, and even average or mediocre players command salaries that are exorbitant compared to the take-home pay of the average working stiff.

Does that mean Major League Baseball players are somehow more important to society than teachers? Not at all. It’s simply supply and demand playing out based on, well, supply and demand.

Still, to some people – including Sanders – it just feels wrong to pay grown men huge sums of money to play a game, while K-12 educators generally make a much more modest living. It might assuage those with such misgivings to think of the situation this way: Water is cheap because it is abundant. Gold is expensive because it is rare. Which is really the more valuable commodity?

Sanders’ own convoluted view on economics make it that much easier for him to take advantage of the fact the average person’s perspective on the economy tends to be somewhat skewed. In America, almost everyone has some wealth – a relatively recent development, historically speaking, thanks to free-market capitalism – but some have vastly more wealth than others, and that seems unfair.

His curmudgeonly charm aside, Sanders knows what he’s doing. At his stump speeches, the junior senator from Vermont used to characterize the proliferation of “millionaires and billionaires” as the scourge of working-class America. Now he tends to single out billionaires. Surely it’s not a coincidence that Sanders was recently revealed to have become a millionaire in 2016.

Brett Davis

Posted on June 27, 2019 15:54

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Source: Politico

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday said Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson's campaign finance plan would let "billionaires"...

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