Bernie Sanders’ Free Stuff Isn’t Free

February 7, 2019 Updated: February 7, 2019

Our man Bernie Sanders is at it yet again. This time out, he is pushing freebies.

What is a freebie? That connotes something given out for free. What are Bernie’s freebies? He is offering free medical care, free college tuition, free housing, free food, etc. It is an exaggeration to say that if you can name it, Bernie will give it to you for free, but only a slight one. It is really difficult to keep up with all the things this man is offering to the electorate at no cost to them.

First, take “free” health coverage. Does this mean that doctors, nurses, hospital workers, will work without pay? Does this mean Bernie has discovered the philosopher’s stone, which can turn garbage into valuables? Of course not. All this U.S. Senator is offering to do is to take money from some people, and give it to others, so that they can avail themselves of the products of these other people without paying for them. There’s a word in the English language that describes such goings on, and it is not a pretty one; it is called “theft.”

Second, consider free university. Will Mr. Sanders somehow convince professors, administrators, and others employed by higher education to donate their services without being paid a salary? Not a bit of it.  Has this presidential hopeful for 2020 hit upon a “Midas touch” which turns dross into gold? Of course not. Again, he is only offering to extract wealth from some and transfer it to others, so that they can get their college degrees “for free.” Another word to describe this is plain old “robbery.”

And, yet, the Vermont Senator is trying to take on the role of Lady Bountiful, distributing hither, zither and yon they fruits of the labor of some, to others. How this man can get away with this eloquently demonstrates something that the magician in the circus would be happy to know about: slight of hand.

Mr. Sanders is a charlatan. He is like the barker at a carnival, promising the rubes all sorts of goodies, if only they enter the tent. But the circus performer is more honest. He does not advertise anything “for free.” Everyone knows there is a price to be paid for admission. Not so with Bernie, and his Democratic confreres, who are each trying outbid all the other in terms of giving them loot stolen from other people. For shame.

“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” These words of wisdom have somehow escaped Bernie’s ken. Are we to assume that the middle and upper classes are going to sit still while this and other presidential candidate attack their wealth with marginal tax rates of 70 percent and above.

No, thousand times no, they will act in their own interest. They might migrate to other countries, where their property rights are better respected as it happened in France earlier this decade in a failed attempt to “tax the rich.” And/or they will hire pricey lawyers and tax accountants to shield them from Bernie’s voraciousness. This means that thousands of very intelligent people will end up trying to protect the rich, instead of helping produce the goods and services in the United States which are the envy of most of the rest of the world.

Walter Block is the Chair in Economics at Loyola University, New Orleans. He is also an Adjunct Scholar at the Mises Institute and the Hoover Institute.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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