Friday, October 23, 2015

How Expensive is Expanding Social Security, Anyway? (Part 10 of 13)


(Note: This is the tenth of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Expanding Social Security, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How Expensive is Stopping Endless Military Spending, Anyway? (Part 9 of 13)


(Note: This is the ninth of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Stopping Endless Military Spending, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Monday, October 19, 2015

How Expensive is Raising Taxes on the 1%, Anyway? (Part 8 of 13)


(Note: This is the eighth of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Raising Taxes on the 1%, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Grading My Pre-Written Debate Recap

Last night at 7:00 p.m., approximately two hours before the debate began, I published my blog entry that I had written on Sunday as a pre-write for a debate recap. So, how did I do? I'm pasting the text below the jump, and I'll add commentary in (boldface type within parentheses):

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Democratic Debate Recap

(If this note is still here, this entry was written before the debate, and I didn't make it back to the office after the debate but before publication)

Last night the Democratic Party got together for the first of six primary debates last night at the Wynn Las Vegas. It was broadcast on CNN and Facebook, and moderated by Anderson Cooper, with additional questions asked by Dana Bush, Juan Carlos Lopez, and by voters submitting questions on Facebook.

Going into the debate, the RealClearPolitics average placed the candidates as follows:

Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and former Secretary of State, 42%

Bernie Sanders, Independent Senator from Vermont, 25.4%

Joe Biden, Vice President (who isn't running), 18.6%

Jim Webb, former Senator from Virginia, 0.9%

Martin O'Malley, former Mayor of Baltimore and former Governor of Maryland, 0.6%

Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican and former Governor of Rhode Island, 0.2%

Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor, completely ignored by the polls

So last night, with six announced Presidential candidates, five people took the stage.

Hillary Clinton entered the debate believing that this is her election to lose. It was her election to lose five months ago, but the circumstances have changed significantly, and tonight she needed to do better than not lose. She needed to win. I'm writing this before the debate, so I'm not comfortable saying how well she did. Mrs. Clinton is a strong debater with an exceptional mastery of the issues, and she knows what voters want to hear. That definitely came out last night, and it will be interesting to see how the electoral landscape changes over the next couple weeks. Early reports are calling this a win for Mrs. Clinton.

Bernie Sanders took the stage in a very different position than he would have if the debates had begun a month or two earlier. He's been surging in the polls, and many articles have been describing him as the front-runner. He needed to win last night, too, but this was his debate to lose. Senator Sanders has a strong understanding of the compelling issues of our time, and the people of the United States tend to agree with his positions on those issues. Since Senator Sanders doesn't really care whether his positions are popular or not, it was easy for him to stay on message. He held his own well when challenged on gun control, and he never took the bait when the moderators tried to get him to attack his fellow candidates.

Vice President Biden sat out, but continues to assure us that he has not made up his mind about running. He isn't running.

Jim Webb, who has been getting basically zero press even though he's polling better than Martin O'Malley, spoke strongly about his military experience. He's the only Democratic candidate who served in the military, and he's clearly hanging his hat on his foreign policy expertise. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, Jim Webb cannot effectively differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton on his area of expertise, and he's completely out of touch with the Democratic Party on everything else, so we can't expect to see much movement on his poll numbers.

Martin O'Malley heroically avoided saying "All Lives Matter," but he can't escape the perception of his record in Baltimore and Maryland, and the fact that he's basically just a watered-down version of Bernie Sanders on most major issues. Because civil forfeiture never came up at the debate, he wasn't able to talk meaningfully about any issue by which he could clearly distinguish himself from any other candidate. I don't think we can expect much of a bump for him, either.

Lincoln Chafee, who used to be a Republican, was always basically a moderate Democrat idealogically. and that's exactly what he showed us last night. The moderators were kind enough to throw him a bone by bringing up his signature issue, the metric system, but it's really not a big enough issue to get voters going. Don't expect a huge bump in the polls for him. In fact, he's probably going to announce he's dropping out before the next debate.

Lawrence Lessig wasn't there because pollsters refuse to include him in the polls and the Democratic Party refuses to acknowledge his candidacy. He tried to do a live-tweet of the debate, but he's basically only pushing one issue, so he sounded like a broken record.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How Expensive is Rebuilding Our Crumbling Infrastructure, Anyway? (Part 7 of 13)


(Note: This is the seventh of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Rebuilding our Crumbling Infrastructure, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Friday, October 9, 2015

How Expensive is Ending the War on Drugs, Anyway? (Part 6 of 13)


(Note: This is the sixth of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go herePart 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 7)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Ending the War on Drugs, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How Expensive is Raising the Minimum Wage, Anyway? (Part 5 of 13)


(Note: This is the fifth of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here: Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 6 Part 7)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Raising the Minimum Wage to $15, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Monday, October 5, 2015

How Expensive is Overturning Citizens United, Anyway? (Part 4 of 13)


(Note: This is the fourth of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here. Part 2 Part 3 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Overturning Citizens United, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Friday, October 2, 2015

How Expensive is Transforming Our Energy System, Anyway? (Part 3 of 13)


(Note: This is the third of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here. Part 2 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Transforming our Energy System, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How Expensive is Free College Tuition, Anyway? (Part 2 of 13)


(Note: This is the second of a series of posts dealing with Bernie Sanders's platform. For the first installment, go here: Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project.

So, with that in mind, how does America pay for Free/Affordable Public College, as described in the flyer pictured above? Let's take a look:

Monday, September 28, 2015

How Expensive is Universal Healthcare, Anyway? (Part 1 of 13)


(This is the first in what will be a series of thirteen entries detailing specific aspects of Bernie Sanders's campaign platform, and their costs, see subsequent posts for more information: Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7)

I saw this posted on Twitter the other day, and I think it's worth taking a second look at, because it demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of Bernie Sanders's platform. Senator Sanders makes it very clear how we will pay for everything that he proposes, but understanding the nuance of this requires first that I disabuse you of a common misconception.

There are many in this country who decry government spending as if the government is incapable of doing anything well. But the critical issue of our times, as Robert Reich eloquently explains on a regular basis, is not how big government is. The critical issue of our times (and Bernie Sanders, more than any other Presidential candidate, understands this) is who government is working for. Whether we're talking about spending in the private sector or spending by the government, at the end of the day, everything that is spent in our economy counts as a cost for America. 

If Wal-Mart spends $1,000,000 improving the efficiency of the intersections near its stores, it has the same effect on our economy as if the state, local, or federal government spends $1,000,000 on an identical project. If, on the other hand, the government can do the exact same job for $900,000, then society as a whole has $100,000 more dollars to spend elsewhere than it would have without the government spending. It stands to reason, then, that if the government can do something better at the same price, or cheaper with the same quality, then the government should do it instead of private industry.

The first step in understand the costs of a policy is to understand what that policy is. Senator Sanders has not released his official issue statement on healthcare reform, but his position on a number of other issues can be found here. Fortunately for us, Senator Sanders's popularity and grassroots appeal has resulted in the volunteer participation of individuals with significant technological skill, who have put together this site where you can educate yourself on Senator Sanders's position on a huge variety of issues. According to that site, Senator Sanders's position on Healthcare can be summarized in six points:


If you have the time, check out all those links for a much more detailed explanation of Senator Sanders's position on healthcare. Then, whether you checked out those links or not, meet me after the jump for the skinny on the costs of Universal Healthcare, as described in the flyer:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Musings on Bankruptcy and Donald Trump

I've been thinking a lot about bankruptcy lately. Obviously, part of that is because I'm a bankruptcy attorney, but it's also been coming up a lot in the news.

At the last Republican primary debate, Carly Fiorina fired shots at Donald Trump, saying that he had filed for bankruptcy four times. Trump responded, disingenuously, that he had never filed for bankruptcy. Trump's statement was technically true, but he knew what Fiorina meant, and what she meant was also true: Donald Trump has caused businesses he owns to file voluntary petitions under the Bankruptcy Code on four occasions.

A presidential debate, sadly, is not the place for nuance, but this blog will give you some after the jump:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Drawing Lines in the Sand


I started becoming politically active on Twitter a few months back, energized by the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who stands as the intellectual and philosophical heir of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Sanders announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States on May 26, 2015. You can see the video of his announcement here:


More musings, after the jump:


Monday, September 21, 2015

An Open Letter to Representative Alcee Hastings (D-FL)

Today I wrote a letter to Alcee Hastings, a Democratic representative from Florida, in response to a quote attributed to him in a story about Bernie Sanders. The full text of that letter is below the jump.