Say no to Democratic Socialism’s enormous price tag

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On August 9, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic socialist candidate for New York's 14th Congressional District, declined a challenge to debate conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. After comparing this challenge to catcalling on Twitter, it is clear that Ocasio-Cortez is scared of a debate against a difficult opponent. She also likely understands that her Democratic socialist platform would be exposed for its ideological flaws and harmful consequences.

Those who see the new progressive movement as inspiring highlight its agenda based on greater economic equality, while others fear that its reforms will dramatically and detrimentally expand the role of government. However, the one thing we know for sure is that Democratic socialism is expensive—and Americans should reject this pricy platform.

Candidates like Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders propose expensive policies like a federal jobs guarantee, single-payer health care, and "free" public college. Unsurprisingly, this will require astronomical increases in government spending that will add to the out-of-control federal debt that has already exceeded $21 trillion.

Brian Riedl, a policy researcher at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, estimates that Sanders' and Ocasio-Cortez's proposals would generate $42.5 trillion in additional federal expenditures over the next decade. The long-term fiscal outlook under this agenda is even more frightening––Riedl found that these proposals will cost $218 trillion over 30 years.

In order to broaden the appeal of his work, Riedl used exclusively liberal think tanks and non-partisan sources for his analysis including the Tax Policy Center, the Urban Institute, and the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities. These numbers are coming from the left, so some of them, including the cost for the jobs guarantee, are even considered to be low, modest estimates.

So how does all of this get paid for? Democratic socialists like to run down a list of new taxes they support, supposedly aimed at the wealthy and large corporations. Some proposals include carbon taxes, a higher corporate tax rate, health care premium taxes, and increased payroll taxes. Ocasio-Cortez also proposes a "Buffet tax" that requires high earning individuals to pay a minimum of 15 percent of their income. Riedel's Vox article calculated that, under very generous fiscal and economic assumptions, Democratic socialist proposals would cut $8.5 trillion of spending in areas such as defense and state spending on health care, leaving the federal government on the hook for the remaining $34 trillion.

This would require a near doubling of federal tax revenues. To put that in perspective, the federal government would need to tax all corporate profits, as well as household income and pass-through business income (income from a business that is taxed at the individual owner's level as opposed to the corporate level) above the thresholds of $90,000 ($150,000 for married couples) at a 100 percent rate to make up this revenue gap.

Simply put, taxpayers cannot afford these unsustainable and disadvantageous reforms. Large-scale entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are already rapidly rolling off a fiscal cliff, with their trust funds on pace to be depleted by 2026 and 2034 respectively. Further expanding federal entitlement programs would clearly be much costlier than more plausible reforms like tax cuts, and no cut in defense spending will be sufficient to make up for Democratic socialism's obscene cost burden.

It's troubling to witness socialist and redistributionist policies gaining popularity in America, especially when history and current events both show the threat they pose to a stable and prosperous democracy.

Though utilizing more government intervention than Democratic socialism, the Soviet Union and Venezuela's centrally planned economic systems both eventually led to humanitarian crises that caused a shortage of fundamental goods and services, mass starvation, severe restriction of basic liberties like freedom of speech and worship, and massive death tolls. It is estimated today that the Soviet Union's communist regime under Joseph Stalin murdered as many as 20 to 60 million people. In Venezuela, hundreds are dying from malnutrition and violence imposed by the government to dismantle protests.

Even more moderate proposals such as Canada's latest failure with universal basic income (UBI)––unconditional, periodic government cash payments––show the problems with government expansion. After only 15 months, Ontario ended its C$150 million UBI program that was supposed to last three years, after they realized that it was expensive and financially unsustainable. Finland's UBI experiment will also end in failure after this year as its government concluded that the program would not be an efficient reform of the welfare system.

It's clear that redistributionist policies will not save our country from fiscal destruction. To save American taxpayers from extreme economic burdens, Democratic socialism's recent insurgency into our political system must be rejected.

Mitchell Siegel is an intern at the Foundation for Government Accountability. He is rising junior studying economics at Duke University.

The number of people serving life sentences now exceeds the entire prison population in 1970, according to newly-released data from the Sentencing Project. The continued growth of life sentences is largely the result of "tough on crime" policies pushed by legislators in the 1990s, including presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Biden has since apologized for backing those types of policies, but it seems he has yet to learn his lesson. Indeed, Biden is backing yet another criminal justice policy with disastrous consequences—mandatory drug treatment for all drug offenders.

Proponents of this policy argue that forced drug treatment will reduce drug usage and recidivism and save lives. But the evidence simply isn't on their side. Mandatory treatment isn't just patently unethical, it's also ineffective—and dangerous.

Many well-meaning people view mandatory treatment as a positive alternative to incarceration. But there's a reason that mandatory treatment is also known as "compulsory confinement." As author Maya Schenwar asks in The Guardian, "If shepherding live human bodies off to prison to isolate and manipulate them without their permission isn't ethical, why is shipping those bodies off to compulsory rehab an acceptable alternative?" Compulsory treatment isn't an alternative to incarceration. It is incarceration.

Compulsory treatment is also arguably a breach of international human rights agreements and ethical standards. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have made it clear that the standards of ethical treatment also apply to the treatment of drug dependence—standards that include the right to autonomy and self-determination. Indeed, according to UNODC, "people who use or are dependent on drugs do not automatically lack the capacity to consent to treatment...consent of the patient should be obtained before any treatment intervention." Forced treatment violates a person's right to be free from non-consensual medical treatment.

It's a useless endeavor, anyway, because studies have shown that it doesn't improve outcomes in reducing drug use and criminal recidivism. A review of nine studies, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, failed to find sufficient evidence that compulsory drug treatment approaches are effective. The results didn't suggest improved outcomes in reducing drug use among drug-dependent individuals enrolled in compulsory treatment. However, some studies did suggest potential harm.

According to one study, 33% of compulsorily-treated participants were reincarcerated, compared to a mere 5% of the non-treatment sample population. Moreover, rates of post-release illicit drug use were higher among those who received compulsory treatment. Even worse, a 2016 report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that people who received involuntary treatment were more than twice as likely to die of an opioid-related overdose than those with a history of only voluntary treatment.

These findings echo studies published in medical journals like Addiction and BMJ. A study in Addiction found that involuntary drug treatment was a risk factor for a non-fatal drug overdose. Similarly, a study in BMJ found that patients who successfully completed inpatient detoxification were more likely than other patients to die within a year. The high rate of overdose deaths by people previously involuntarily treated is likely because most people who are taken involuntarily aren't ready to stop using drugs, authors of the Addiction study reported. That makes sense. People who aren't ready to get clean will likely use again when they are released. For them, the only post-treatment difference will be lower tolerance, thanks to forced detoxification and abstinence. Indeed, a loss of tolerance, combined with the lack of a desire to stop using drugs, likely puts compulsorily-treated patients at a higher risk of overdose.

The UNODC agrees. In their words, compulsory treatment is "expensive, not cost-effective, and neither benefits the individual nor the community." So, then, why would we even try?

Biden is right to look for ways to combat addiction and drug crime outside of the criminal justice system. But forced drug treatment for all drug offenders is a flawed, unethical policy, with deadly consequences. If the goal is to help people and reduce harm, then there are plenty of ways to get there. Mandatory treatment isn't one of them.

Lindsay Marie is a policy analyst for the Lone Star Policy Institute, an independent think tank that promotes freedom and prosperity for all Texans. You can follow her on Twitter @LindsayMarieLP.

President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani joined Glenn Beck on Tuesday's radio program discuss the Senate's ongoing investigation into former vice president Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and reveal new bombshell documents he's currently releasing.

Giuliani told Glenn he has evidence of "very, very serious crime at the highest levels of government," that the "corrupt media" is doing everything in their power to discredit.

He also dropped some major, previously unreported news: not only was Hunter Biden under investigation in 2016, when then-Vice President Biden "forced" the firing of Ukraine's prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, but so was the vice president himself.

"Shokin can prove he was investigating Biden and his son. And I now have the prosecutorial documents that show, all during that period of time, not only was Hunter Biden under investigation -- Joe Biden was under investigation," Giuliani explained. "It wasn't just Hunter."

Watch this clip to get a rundown of everything Giuliani has uncovered so far.

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For most Americans, the 1980s was marked by big hair, epic lightsaber battles, and school-skipping Ferris Bueller dancing his way into the hearts of millions.

But for Bernie Sanders — who, by the way, was at that time the oldest-looking 40-year-old in human history — the 1980s was a period of important personal milestones.

Prior to his successful 1980 campaign to become mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders was mostly known around the Green Mountain State as a crazy, wildly idealistic socialist. (Think Karl Marx meets Don Quixote.) But everything started to change for Sanders when he became famous—or, in the eyes of many, notorious—for being "America's socialist mayor."

As mayor, Sanders' radical ideas were finally given the attention he had always craved but couldn't manage to capture. This makes this period of his career particularly interesting to study. Unlike today, the Bernie Sanders of the 1980s wasn't concerned with winning over an entire nation — just the wave of far-left New York City exiles that flooded Vermont in the 1960s and 1970s — and he was much more willing to openly align himself with local and national socialist and communist parties.


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Over the past few weeks, I have been reading news reports of Sanders recorded in the 1980s — because, you know, that's how guys like me spend their Saturday nights — and what I've found is pretty remarkable.

For starters, Sanders had (during the height of the Soviet Union) a very cozy relationship with people who openly advocated for Marxism and communism. He was an elector for the Socialist Workers Party and promoted the party's presidential candidates in 1980 and 1984.

To say the Socialist Workers Party was radical would be a tremendous understatement. It was widely known SWP was a communist organization mostly dedicated to the teachings of Marx and Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution.

Among other radical things I've discovered in interviews Sanders conducted with the SWP's newspaper — appropriately named The Militant (seriously, you can't make this stuff up) — is a statement by Sanders published in June 1981 suggesting that some police departments "are dominated by fascists and Nazis," a comment that is just now being rediscovered for the first time in decades.

In 1980, Sanders lauded the Socialist Workers Party's "continued defense of the Cuban revolution." And later in the 1980s, Sanders reportedly endorsed a collection of speeches by the socialist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, even though there had been widespread media reports of the Sandinistas' many human rights violations prior to Sanders' endorsement, including "restrictions on free movement; torture; denial of due process; lack of freedom of thought, conscience and religion; denial of the right of association and of free labor unions."

Sanders also traveled to Nicaragua and met with socialist President Daniel Ortega. He later called the trip a "profoundly emotional experience."

Sanders also traveled to Nicaragua and met with socialist President Daniel Ortega. He later called the trip a "profoundly emotional experience."

Comrade Bernie's disturbing Marxist past, which is far more extensive than what can be covered in this short article, shouldn't be treated as a mere historical footnote. It clearly illustrates that Sanders' brand of "democratic socialism" is much more than a $15 minimum wage and calls for single-payer health care. It's full of Marxist philosophy, radical revolutionary thinking, anti-police rhetoric, and even support for authoritarian governments.

Millions of Americans have been tricked into thinking Sanders isn't the radical communist the historical record — and even Sanders' own words — clearly show that he is. But the deeper I have dug into Comrade Bernie's past, the more evident it has become that his thinking is much darker and more dangerous and twisted than many of his followers ever imagined.

Tomorrow night, don't miss Glenn Beck's special exposing the radicals who are running Bernie Sanders' campaign. From top to bottom, his campaign is staffed with hard-left extremists who are eager to burn down the system. The threat to our constitution is very real from Bernie's team, and it's unlike anything we've ever seen before in a U.S. election. Join Glenn on Wednesday, at 9 PM Eastern on BlazeTV's YouTube page, and on BlazeTV.com. And just in case you miss it live, the only way to catch all of Glenn's specials on-demand is by subscribing to Blaze TV.

Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is editorial director of The Heartland Institute and editor-in-chief of StoppingSocialism.com.

Candace Owens, BLEXIT founder and author of the upcoming book, "Blackout," joined Glenn Beck on Friday's GlennTV for an exclusive interview. available only to BlazeTV subscribers.

Candace dropped a few truth-bombs about the progressive movement and what's happening to the Democratic Party. She said people are practically running away from the left due to their incessant push to dig up dirt on anybody who disagrees with their radical ideology. She explained how -- like China and its "social credit score" -- the left is shaping America into its own nightmarish episode of "Black Mirror."

"This game of making sure that everyone is politically correct is a societal atom bomb. There are no survivors. There's no one that is perfect," Candace said. "The idea that humanity can be perfect is Godless. If you accept that there is something greater than us, then you accept that we a flawed. To be human is to be flawed."

Enjoy this clip from the full episode below:

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BlazeTV subscribers can watch the full interview on BlazeTV.com. Use code GLENN to save $10 off one year of your subscription.

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