Sanders Says Redistribution More Important Than Growth, WaPo Approves

The Washington Post posted an approving piece today about what presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is willing to sacrifice to achieve "a more equal society" - economic growth.

Jim Tankersley, who covers economic policy for WaPo, is excited about Sanders' maverick "unorthodoxy" that is tapping into "the mounting frustration in America, particularly among more liberal voters, with the widening gap between the rich and everyone else."

“Our economic goals have to be redistributing a significant amount of [wealth] back from the top 1 percent,” Sanders said in a recent interview. “Unchecked growth – especially when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent – is absurd":

Where we’ve got to move is not growth for the sake of growth, but we’ve got to move to a society that provides a high quality of life for all of our people. In other words, if people have health care as a right, as do the people of every other major country, then there’s less worry about growth. If people have educational opportunity and their kids can go to college and they have child care, then there’s less worry about growth for the sake of growth.

Tankersley asserts that "many liberal economists, including some close to [Hillary] Clinton, contend that some policies designed to reduce inequality will in fact spur faster growth."

If you don’t grow, then you really have to just take from someone and give it to somebody else. That’s a tough place to start. You’re setting yourself up for some tough conversations that go not just against politics, but also human nature.

From Tankersley at WaPo

Sanders says that tax cuts, expanded trade and the erosion of collective bargaining rights over the last 40 years have created an economy that delivers maximum profits for large corporations - and little relief for workers.

Sanders also says the environment is worth by taking into account in reconsidering whether economic growth should be the top priority. "When we look at climate change and other environmental issues, growth for the sake of growth – especially when 99 percent of all new income generated by that growth goes to the top 1 percent – becomes less significant," he said.

Many economists, particularly conservatives, warn that restricting trade and adding new regulations to the labor market would crimp economic efficiency and slow growth.

Sanders rejects that argument. “By efficiency, many conservative economists mean, ‘the best way for large corporations to make excessive profits,’” he said, adding: “They’re efficient for the people who own the corporations. They’re not particularly efficient for the people who have been thrown out on the street.”

“So if you’re talking about maximizing corporate profits, that’s not what I think the economy should be about.”