Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed socialist and Democratic Party contender for the presidential nomination, is drawing many thousands of enthused ‘fans’ to his campaign events!
But at the end of the day, is Bernie Sanders right for the United States?
Why am I asking this question about a man who likely, hopefully, has no chance of winning the White House?
First let me say that I ask whether Bernie Sanders is right for America not wearing my political hat (full disclosure I am Republican), but instead wearing my hat as a business owner and entrepreneur who believes in the mechanics of the free markets.
I ask this with the picture in my mind of an arena in Portland, Maine filled with a throng of 7,500 adoring Bernie Sanders fans while Hillary Clinton draws under 1,000.
I ask this with an eye towards the current crisis in Greece, the overwhelming election in New York City of a socialist mayor along with the anti-business leanings of the current administration in Washington.
But, I am mainly asking this fearing that voters in the United States and elsewhere fall in love with slogans, promises and visions of a utopian society without really looking under the hood at what some of the ramifications of those slogans and promises might be for them and their neighbors.
And finally, I also ironically ask these questions on a day when Starbucks announced an increase in prices, due in part to an increase in labor costs.
In Starbucks case much of this increase was self-induced and not government mandated.
But, in San Francisco where an increase in the minimum wage was mandated, Chipotles raised prices almost matching the percentage increase in labor costs.
Greece vs U.S.
The landslide NO-vote victory in Greece on Sunday seemed to be motivated to a large extent by frustration, fear and anger rather than on the potential ramifications of a move to pull-out of the EU.
And truthfully Greece, whether it voted yes or no, is between an economic rock and a hard place due to huge debt levels, a shrinking economy and entitlements.
A move out of the EU might simply exacerbate those problems while staying would mean higher taxes, more austerity and a cut in some entitlements such as pensions.
In the U.S., we share many of those same issues with a stagnant economy currently rather than a shrinking one.
So is Bernie Sanders right for America? As business men and women, take a look at his platform and then you tell me!
Bernie Sanders Agenda For America
Article author Michael Haltman is the President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York.
HAS is a provider of title insurance in New York State for residential and commercial real estate transactions.