This past week, Bernie Sanders was a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience. It was a great interview, and highly worth the listen. (Which you can do here.) It’s worth the listen because you get to hear one of the presidential nominees talk in long form, actually explaining his point of view. Which doesn’t happen during the debates.
Sanders has been in the political game for decades, and is probably one of the most consistent people we have in politics. I certainly respect him, but want to point out two things from the podcast that, to me, speak volumes to our current political climate. The first is to the Left, the second is to the Right.
To the Left, to the Left:
Rogan is a Libertarian, because he believes in personal freedom in all things. His opinions stem from one core belief: freedom for all in everything. But he’s also curious, very smart, and a great conversationalist. On his show, he also interviews all types of people, from far right to far left (he’s had both Alex Jones and Sam Harris). He listens to their thoughts and opinions, pushes back some, but mainly lets his audience decide for themselves. He asked Bernie a great question pertaining the minimum wage.
The question was this, “When people hear you on the Left talking about minimum wage, they talk about $15 for all people and ask ‘what about high school kids just starting out? Could we do a lower minimum wage for them, for people under 18?’”
Bernie’s answer: No.
This, to me, is the problem with Leftist politics: the inability to compromise.
Sanders goes on to explain that the wage increase will affect mostly non-teens, implying it’s mostly a non-issue that will help families.
But then why not just compromise on this minor detail in a major policy? Just concede your ideology a little and you can actually make it happen. It’s easy to get behind a living wage for people that have families. $15 (or whatever the number) is great. But humans (especially when emotion is involved) go to extremes; people start to think about their first job, and about how long it took them to make $15 an hour, and then ask: why does a 16-year old sweeping floors in a factory need to earn $15 p/hour?
The answer is: they don’t.
It is fine to prorate the minimum wage for people under 18. Doing so makes it realistic for employers to give kids a job, but not pay a ton of extra money in labor costs.
The Right sees this as governmental interference.
But the other thing is that $15 is not the same in Alabama as it is in California. You can live pretty well on $15 p/hour in Alabama. But not in California. So let’s admit all things are not even to begin with. Let’s get to the point.
It’s good thing to having a living wage, but what if we adjust the wage for regional costs of living and age? That makes sense.
The inability to compromise leads to polarization. Had Bernie simply said, “Yes. I’d be willing to do that'“, he’d have reach a much bigger audience. A hard no simply isolates and cuts people off. Which is too bad, because he had a lot of good things to say.
To the Right, to the Right.
Much of what people on the right think about “socialist ideas” is very wrong. You hear a media outlet saying that poor people don’t want to work, and that that Dems and Lefties are going to give them your money.
What it would actually do is provide things the Right wants: jobs, economic opportunity, and growth.
This would make the country great. (And, I guess technically, if it included fixing up things that were broken, they’d be great - or at least good - again.)
When Sanders ran in 2016 (and got f’d by the Dems, which cost the Dems the general election), he talked about pouring $1,000,000,000,000 into urban areas to revitalize them. Republicans on the Right saw this as a governmental hand out. They considered the cost an expense. But it’s not. The cost goes into improvements. It goes into fixing broken things, and making improvements. Which takes workers. Which creates jobs. It takes materials. Which means manufacturing. It means production. It means training and work. The money, then, goes to people. People that work for it. People that have jobs, and are not on welfare. It goes into places that people can use, which means they’re not on the streets or getting into trouble. It also goes back into the local economy, because people that have money often spend it.
When you work for your money, it’s not a handout. It’s earned.
People on the Right often consider money paid by the government to be handouts….when it goes to poor minorities.
Yet, they don’t consider it a handout when government gives money to people in the military, road commission, or farm subsidies.
Because, they think, those people work for their money.
We should change this thinking. We all pay taxes and we all have constitutional rights. Fixing what’s broken is a good thing. Having a job is a good thing. Working for your money is a good thing. I think we can agree on that.
Give the podcast a listen. It speaks to our political climate. If we can adjust a few things, compromise on a few issues, we can all be better off.