The Pope and The Bern 'encounter' - The Pope - "I greeted him and his wife, a handshake and nothing more. It's called good manners. If someone thinks a greeting means getting mixed up in politics, it's time to look for a psychiatrist." source - ANSA
Bernie Sanders has made income inequality the centerpiece of his campaign for the Democratic nomination. Here's his pledge from his website:
Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. As president, Sen. Sanders will stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. He will create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. He will also enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes, and life savings.
Stopping corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas won't solve the problem, neither will raising the estate tax on the top 0.3 percent will do the job nor taxing Wall Street speculators will be sufficient. A real "revolution" requires sacrifice across the board from Main Street to Wall Street.
These are all necessary but not sufficient conditions for returning American society to the good old days of post WW II America of the GI Bill and the highest income taxes in US history which created the middle class society we had from the '50s to the '80s until the Reagan revolution screwed everyone but the 1%.
It was the programs of the New Deal, the fight against the Third Reich, the Marshall Plan and domestic programs like Truman's Fair Deal, JFK's New Frontier and LBJ's New Society which got us to the promised land of a stable middle class society. The keys were 'huuuuuge' public investments and a progressive income tax which went as high as 50%.
The Bern loves to invoke the Euros as a model of promoting a fair deal for all its citizens. That fair deal hinges on high individual and corporate income taxes which would cause American voter apoplexy.
Unfortunately, The Bern despite his "Democratic Socialist" pretensions has not laid out such a plan because he knows it would piss off his base who wants something for nothing - free college et al. You can't just tax the 1% to get out of this mess - everyone must share the burden. If you want to move from a Walmart to a Nordstrum economy you have to pay the price.
Bernie can rant on all he wants about the 1% but the problem is that ALL Americans have bought the false doctrine of trickle down economics that if we simply lower taxes the wealth and jobs created will raise all boats. This is a LIE... Such economic has sunk the boats of the middle class from sea to shining sea.
Look what Oregon voters did to themselves as an example of this stupidity and misguided self-interest which drove it. The voters in the People's Republic of Portlandia were the key voters who passed Measure 5 in '91 which transferred wealth to corporate Oregon on the false premise of lowering property taxes.
Oregon has never recovered from that experiment in Reaganomics which was copied across the nation in every state in the USA - including Bernie's Vermont which prides itself as a low tax state. This simply transfers the taxing power to state legislatures which are now led by GOP leaders who have taken the "no tax pledge."
Oregon has bucked the trend by electing Democratic governors for the last 28 years while the D's currently control both houses of our legislature. But they haven't had the will to put a fork through Measure 5 which has forced state labor unions to propose Measure 28 to increase taxes on corporations.
If it passes in November it will add 1 billion dollars to our biennial budget but it alone will not be sufficient to reverse the damage caused to our schools, universities, social safety net and transportation system since '91 by disinvesting in Oregon. Except for California under Jerry Brown no state has stood up to the challenge.
So if The Bern was elected president his promises would fall on deaf ears in the GOP dominated House, even if the D's steal control of the Senate in November and most states would ignore his agenda. We have become addicted to the siren call that we can 'get something from nothing.' That's Bernie's appeal especially to his adoring millennial supporters.
Remember when Dubya told us that after 9/11 it was patriotic to go shop at the local mall? The Bern's plan sounds a false - there is no there, there...
And when one looks under the hood of The Bern's plan - it's not much different than what Obama has been saying to little effect due to GOP obstructionism during his 7 plus years and that Hillary is echoing. But the difference is that unlike the Bern or Obama - Hillary has the governance skills learned from Slick Willie to tackle a progressive however incremental agenda.
What Hillary lacks in rhetorical skills compared to Bernie she makes up for collaboration skills learned in 8 years in the West Wing, 8 years in the Senate and 4 plus years as Secretary of State. Bernie by contrast as a "loner" has evidenced no such skill set. Like the Donald Bernie seems to feel "saying it" makes it happen! As IKE learned, that's not the way the system works...
One final thought - given the lineup within the Democratic party - the hope for change will require that if Hillary is the nominee she will have to ask Bernie to be her VP just as JFK against all odds asked LBJ to be his VP. Politics does indeed make for strange bed-fellows.
The thought of The Donald being Potus should keep most D's from straying into the political wilderness. But with a Hill/Bern team the chances of a historic victory on the scale of LBJ's trouncing of Goldwater in '64 will be enhanced and out of that came the Great Society and the Civil Rights Bills of '64/65.
That's how one can fashion a "political Revolution" which would be huuuuuuuuuuuuge...