Much has been written and discussed about just how in the tank my millennial peers are for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders. And I totally get it. The liberal senator from Vermont is honest, passionate, and has an endearing quality about him where he always manages to make a moral case that captivates the heart when he underscores major issues.
I like him, too. His sincerity is refreshing and his humble nature is so unusual in politics that it’s appealing. His life of public service is commendable, especially since during most of his political career he's remained in power without the help of major donors, and he consistently stands for the little guy.
He’s a good man who has kind-hearted intentions.
And I will never vote for him.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks onstage at a campaign event at Washington Square Park on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/WireImage)
Look, it’s not because of any of the traits I just listed. In fact, I agree with Sanders more than I disagree with him. Again, because he makes mostly moral arguments that all seek justice and righteousness. What’s not to like about that?
My issue with him is that in almost every solution to every problem he poses, his answer is to expand the power and reach of the federal government. This is, of course, regardless of the fact that he is on record as not quite being able to articulate how he’ll realistically accomplish some of his major promises.
Perhaps the biggest domestic issue we are facing as a country right now that few are recognizing is that we have a government that routinely oversteps its bounds on things like taxation, the national debt, executive orders and infringement of personal rights.
I feel like we’ve grown up in a time when all we’ve ever known is big government and two parties that might say different things but always end up towing the establishment line.
And knowing how little I was taught about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights during all my years of public education - and even into my college years - I’ll concede that it isn’t necessarily the fault of millennials that we don’t understand these documents or the real role of government.
We’ve become ignorant of our own power as the people of the United States, and I know many of my friends will acknowledge that they think it’s the government that gives us our rights, not the other way around.
In case you need a refresher, we obtain our inherent rights from God. They are protected by the Constitution and further secured by the Bill of Rights. We allow government certain access powers for the sake of governing.
So when Sanders says things like, “Social Security is crucial for Americans to be able to retire with dignity. We must expand Social Security by having the rich pay their fair share. And we must lower skyrocketing prescription drug costs by allowing less expensive medicine to be imported from Canada and by directing Medicare to negotiate prices” - initially, I recognize the moral argument that Americans should be able to retire with dignity. I absolutely agree. But his answer is to expand a government program that already has massive issues, is code for the need of even more government and even more power.
Going after the rich to pay their “fair share” is something he brings up repeatedly. And to the moral argument with which I agree, yes, greed is a problem. But it’s a problem all over the world.
Also, the majority or rich Americans aren’t bad people, nor do they push others down in their attempt to move up the economic ladder. Most have worked hard to obtain the American dream of building the beautiful life they desire.
So having the government determine what a successful person’s fair share is, is in fact more overreach to take more money to redistribute to others who did not earn it.
How that rich person decides to give their money to others should be up to them, not the government.
This idea that someone who makes more should pay more is, again, a moral argument that on the surface I agree with. But we have a capitalist society built on achievement that has lifted more people from squalor than any other system known to man.
To demonize or penalize success is not my idea of what a free country rooted in liberty should be promoting. And this is coming from a broke millennial just like the rest of you.
We’ve grown complacent with government getting in the way, telling us we are the problem, strangling us with regulations and laws only to sell us on more government as the way to find relief.
It's worth repeating: My concern isn’t with Sanders the man. His intentions are decent. It’s the further cementing of a beast known as Government that will be even stronger and harder to tame long after a potential President Sanders (or even President Clinton) leaves office.
Thomas Jefferson once said: “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”
The bigger picture here is not one man’s crusade to right the wrongs through social justice. It’s that the system he wants to use to fight the battle is itself the cause of most of the injustices to begin with.
Wade Heath is a speaker, columnist and founder of the Do Good. Be Great. millennial movement. For booking contact: Events@WadeHeath.com.
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