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Let’s Talk About Berngate

There’s a big fuss on the political left over some claims that the Bernie Sanders campaign has made about potential future economic growth.  Paul Krugman had a good rundown:

On Wednesday four former Democratic chairmen and chairwomen of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers — three who served under Barack Obama, one who served under Bill Clinton — released a stinging open letter to Bernie Sanders and Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts professor who has been a major source of the Sanders campaign’s numbers. The economists called out the campaign for citing “extreme claims” by Mr. Friedman that “exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans” and could “undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda.”

I don’t know what’s funnier here – that people are shocked over Bernie Sanders making outrageous claims or the idea of potentially undermining the credibility of politics.  I actually laugh out loud a little bit at both. I mean, here we are with a Congress that almost nobody in the USA approves of. And a Democratic Socialist who is running on a campaign to break up banks that we literally cannot break up while declaring that roughly 6% of the US workforce is engaged in “the business of fraud” (that’s the size of the financial services industry in case you didn’t know).  He IS extreme. That’s the whole point of the Sanders campaign and probably why it’s gaining traction.

But let’s be fair here.  After all, it’s not like the right isn’t running a campaign of the same types of extremes.  They’re talking about deporting tens of millions of people, building walls and doing all sorts of other things that will probably never happen.  So, I don’t know what to think.  It’s primary season and the candidates are saying lots of extremist things to get their bases riled up. So, here’s to hoping all of these discussions get a bit less extreme in the coming months and move back to reality as the general election gets closer….

PS – I hate politics.  Have I relayed that message yet?