On the Record: Bernie Sanders on Basic Income
Scott Santens

Considering his responses, Sanders doesn’t get it. He sees the situation as a grain silo. He would raise the silo floor with a minimum wage. Since the floor is wage based, there would be cracks in the floor and Sanders would use a multitude of programs to run around stuffing rags in the cracks to keep the grain from trickling out. That’s what we have now. Sanders would just add more trucks for hauling the rags. UBIG instead envisions a large pad of concrete that the smaller circumference silo of employment is then built upon.

Sanders chief economist, Stephanie Kelton is the gatekeeper. He appointed her as chief economist for the minority caucus of the Senate Banking committee when he took over as ranking minority leader in 2014. Kelton is a brilliant and effective advocate for MMT. But, she has her own plan for what Sanders keeps referring to as “ minimum and dignified standard of living”. Her plan involves a massive government public works program floor that sets wages and conditions that the private sector has to compete with. Her vision is to replace the 2x2 flooring in the silo with 2x12s. It’s not a bad plan, other than it would be a breeding ground for a Mayor Daley and Tammany Hall type patronage system and again is employment-centric. It completely misses the flooring concept.

If you want to enlist Sanders, sell UBIG to Kelton. If Sanders is elected, she will head his council of economic advisers, if Democrats also control the Senate, she will be Treasury Secretary. But I doubt she, or Sanders will buy, they have their own solution to what they think is the problem.

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