Wow! This is big! If you've been following my ongoing correspondence with Team Bernie over at the Bernie Sanders Campaign, you know that until now I haven't had much indication that my words were having any impact on Bernie himself. Sure, his Team has been supportive, but ultimately I'd like some sign that Bernie is listening too. Last week, I got that sign:
Dear Team Bernie,
I am SO PROUD OF YOU GUYS!!!
All this time we’ve been talking, I really didn’t know how much of what I was saying was sinking in, whether you were really listening or just being polite. But now I see that not only have you been listening to me, you’ve even been passing on my thoughts to Bernie himself! I don’t know what to say!
I received Bernie’s email last week, in which he lauds Pope Francis for “…asking us to create a new society where the economy works for all, and not just the wealthy and the powerful.”
Wow! This really makes me re-think some of my assumptions. I guess I’d gotten a little cynical, believing that once people get to a certain age they are so attached to their opinions and the way they see the world that there’s really no hope of influencing them. Well Bernie is living proof that my cynicism was misplaced!
After years - decades? - of promoting government intervention in the economy, even “socialism”, Bernie has done a 180 degree turnaround and now supports an economic system that “works for all …not just the wealthy and the powerful.” Put simply: Bernie now supports free markets! I never thought I’d see the day.
And maybe it’s vain of me, but I can’t help thinking that our little discussions have had something to do with his transformation. You and I know that the single greatest factor improving the lives of the poor around the globe is free markets - and thanks to your efforts, now Bernie knows too!
He knows, for example, that by every measurement imaginable, people in countries with more economic freedom have always been far better off than have those in countries with less freedom: They are wealthier, better educated and have better access to healthcare.
As the Fraser Institute found for the - I don’t know, billionth? - time in its annual survey comparing freer economies with less free ones, even the poorest residents of countries with a high degree of economic freedom are far better off than the average person living in the least free countries. Says their most recent report: “the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is about 50% greater than the overall average income in the least free nations.” (Emphasis mine.) And life expectancy in the most free countries is seventeen years higher than in the least free.
Let me say that again: If you live in one of the countries with the lowest degree of government intervention in the economy, you can expect to have seventeen more years of life than if you live in one of the countries with the most government intervention in the economy.
And Bernie finally understands that.
So let’s have a big pat on the back for all of you! I realize this has been a team effort and you guys have done more than your fair share. Don’t think I don’t know that!
I can’t wait to see Bernie’s new platform! I assume he’ll be ditching the call for tax hikes, breaking up of the banks, increasing the minimum wage and all the other things that, when you actually think about them for more than five minutes, you realize will hurt the very people they are intended to help.
And let me send a big THANK YOU! to Bernie himself. His willingness to be open to new ideas at this stage in life is truly inspirational.