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Hit Piece on Sanders Proposals Relies on Pro-Clinton Economists Mislabeled as ‘Leftists’

Striking out at the NY Times

Fourth in line as a “left-leaning” economist critic of Sanders is Kenneth E. Thorpe, who Calmes notes “advised” the Clintons in the 1990s, including Hillary Clinton, whose epic failure to develop a health care reform acceptable to the private insurance industry famously collapsed, marking her only foray into health care reform, back in Bill Clinton’s first term. Actually, Thorpe more than just advised the Clintons; he was in Bill Clinton’s cabinet, responsible for crunching all the numbers for Hillary’s failed health care reform project! Thorpe, in the latest Times article, makes the ludicrous assertion that Sanders’ proposed Medicare for All proposal would end up costing twice what he is claiming, ignoring the reality that all other nations that have adopted such a plan spend roughly half of what the US does on health care, and yet get better outcomes while covering all their populations.

The truth is that none of the economists cited by the Times’ Calmes could properly be called “left-leaning.” They are in some cases perhaps liberal economists, in the context of American politics, whatever that may mean, but they are also all very conventional free-market advocates at the core.

If Calmes wanted to talk to left-leaning economists, she had plenty to choose from, but they are not people generally interviewed by NY Times reporters. I’m thinking for example of Dean Baker, James Galbraith or Alex Binder -- all well-known economists who, it turns out, think Sanders’ plans on health care, economic reform, and Wall Street re-regulation make a lot of sense.

For that matter, she might have contacted French economist Thomas Piketty, whom the UK’s Guardian newspaper just a day later referred to as “perhaps the most influential economic thinker of the left in the Western world.”

As Picketty wrote in Le Monde on Feb. 14 in an article also run by the Guardian, Sanders’ ascent spells “the end of the politico-ideological cycle opened by the victory of Ronald Reagan at the 1980 elections.” Piketty, a sharp critic of modern global capitalism and of America’s national religion of “free markets,” argues that regardless of Sanders' fate in this particular contest, he has created an opening for similar candidates in the future who could successfully make it into the White House and “change the face of the country.” He writes:
 

    Sanders’ success today shows that much of America is tired of rising inequality and these so-called political changes, and intends to revive both a progressive agenda and the American tradition of egalitarianism. Hillary Clinton, who fought to the left of Barack Obama in 2008 on topics such as health insurance, appears today as if she is defending the status quo, just another heiress of the Reagan-Clinton-Obama political regime.

    Sanders makes clear he wants to restore progressive taxation and a higher minimum wage ($15 an hour). To this he adds free healthcare and higher education in a country where inequality in access to education has reached unprecedented heights, highlighting a gulf standing between the lives of most Americans, and the soothing meritocratic speeches pronounced by the winners of the system.



story | by Dr. Radut