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Maher Challenges Sanders: How Will America Pay for Your Radical Agenda?

Maher Challenges Sanders: How Will America Pay for Your Radical Agenda?

Taxing the 1% “doesn’t come close to covering what you want”

Every once in a while, Bill Maher tip toes out of the progressive box and makes statements or asks questions that stun his audience and the media.

Reacting to Bernie Sanders’ agenda and its estimated $18 trillion price tag, Maher challenged him by asking how America will pay for his radical agenda.


After beginning the interview by stating that he doesn’t think “most Americans realize that they’re already socialists,” Maher challenges Sanders’ the top 1% can pay for everything under the sun premise.

Marlow Stern reports:

“The tax revenue that we would get just from taxing the people who I think your fans think you’re talking about, the people who own a yacht, does not come close to covering what you want to pay for,” said Maher.

“Not true. Not true,” a clearly-thrown Sanders fired back. “What I’m saying is there have been articles out there that have been really unfair and wrong. For example, what they are suggesting is that if we move to a Medicare-for-all single-payer program, which guarantees healthcare to all people, it would cost a lot of money. That’s true. But what they forget to tell you is it would be much more cost-effective than this dysfunctional system we have right now, which is the most expensive per capita on earth.”

“But it couldn’t even work in your home state of Vermont!” Maher said. “They were going to institute it, and the governor said it’s going to cost too much money. We just can’t do it. It would be the entire budget. That’s true.”

“No… Well, it’s not…,” a shaken Sanders replied. “I’m not the governor from the state of Vermont, I’m the senator from the state of Vermont…”

Considering that even Obama’s comparatively tame agenda can’t be paid for by taxing only the rich (the middle class is taking hit after hit), Sanders’ insistence that the top 1%—and maybe “little bit lower than that, but not much lower”—seems fanciful at best.  Maher is right to call him on it.

However, it should be noted that Maher begins this interview by telling Sanders:  “I want to help your campaign. I want to see you get the nomination. I want to see you be president.”  So while it may seem that Maher is opposed to Sanders’ proposals, he’s not.  He just has the sense to realize that the idea that taxing the top 1% will pay for Sanders’ socialist wonderland is faulty and suggests that one way to “undemonize” socialism is to acknowledge that fact.


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Confirmed non-math majors are vulnerable to all kinds of stupidity.

    nordic_prince in reply to Valerie. | October 18, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Unfortunately, quite a few math majors are indeed that stupid, being snookered by that stuff. A number of my math profs were out, loud and proud, leftists despite their obvious facility with numbers. And my own niece, who recently finished her Ph.D. in math and now teaches at some eastern uni, is embarrassingly pro-Bernie.

    All too often, “PhD” truly does stand for “Piled Higher and Deeper,” even in the “hard” sciences ~

    Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to Valerie. | October 18, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Confirmed non-math majors are vulnerable to all kinds of stupidity.

    Many confirmed math majors are vulnerable to the same stupidities. They’re largely in it for the elegant aesthetics of mathematical reasoning, and sneer at business accounting and compound interest as the vulgar pursuit of mere accountants.

Did anybody noticed Bill Maher saying that having a police force is being “socialist”?

I wanted to watch, but clicked off as soon as Bernie started talking about “income inequality.” I can’t even listen to such claptrap. I just found a job after being unemployed for nearly three and one half years, so I am by no means “wealthy” (esp. having burned through my savings to keep myself afloat), but the founders understood (as nobody seems to understand today) that income inequality is an inevitable result of freedom. I will never be wealthy, but I do not buy into the idea that anyone owes me anything because of the success that they have had in their lives.

“It was certainly true, that nothing like an equality of property existed; that an inequality would exist as long as liberty existed and that it would unavoidably result from that very liberty itself.”
Alexander Hamilton
as recorded by James Madison, Notes of the Debates in the Federal Convention
Tuesday, June 26, 1787

The income tax has gone from an idea that was presented as a tax upon only the richest Americans to a tax which burdens the richest Americans more than others. An illustration of the veracity of the saying “Give them an inch and they become rulers.”

riverlife_callie | October 17, 2015 at 6:44 pm

I’m sorry, but I can’t stand to look at this fool. He looks like he has a pantload and drool coming off his chin. I thought Obama was popular with young people because of his youth and energy. What are Bernie’s young supporters seeing in this old troll?

    Henry Hawkins in reply to riverlife_callie. | October 17, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Though an avowed socialist, what Bernie promises is textbook old Democrat Party stuff – freebies. Free college, free medical care, free this, free that. He’s also pitching the textbook old Democrat Party bait and switch schtick where they say they’ll ‘tax the rich’ (those bastards! Yeah, get ’em!), but it is impossible to pay for their freebies without taxing the middle class, targeted because of their large numbers and the fact that they work for a living. Bernie’s young supporters understand none of this. They are like children who don’t know (spoiler alert!) there is no Santa Claus and that it’s mom and dad who pay for the gifts. They do not realize they are targeted for taxation.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to riverlife_callie. | October 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    What are Bernie’s young supporters seeing in this old troll?


    And, of course, claims he is on their side.

    And no coherent arguments against his proposals – that they’ve heard. And if they heard them, they’d figure, he’d listen to the arguments and evaluate them honestly. But they’re not hearing Bernard Sanders ignore good arguments.
    We’re not Denmark is not much of an argument.

Sammy Finkelman | October 17, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Hillary Clinton refused to argue, or even comment about, many of Bernard Sanders’ proposals, especially his proposal to replace Obamacare with Medicare for all (which he didn’t put that way)

She limited herself almost entirely to an alternative college tuition plan – whereas Bernard Sanders would make college tuition at public colleges free – even if it meant people in Donald Trump’s family would also have free college (he argued they didn’t need a complicated system and it should be free like high school is and besides he would tax them plenty) – she said she was for college being debt-free and children from poorer families should have to work 10 hours a week (and richer families pay)

Bernie is only running interference for Hillary so she can be seen as more “moderate,” Unless Hillary is indicted she will be candidate. The question is will will Obama pull the DOJ switch on Hillary .Obama wants his man ( himself) running just not sure it’s Joe. If FBI decides to show some independence and force the issue the issue ( questionable) the maybe if not too late maybe Joe ,Kerry or Hockey Stick may jump in.

Sorry last sentence not too legible phone froze up . The jist was if Hillary is forced out the I don’t See any of these others as a viable candidate.

Insufficiently Sensitive | October 18, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Sanders’ insistence that the top 1%—and maybe “little bit lower than that, but not much lower”—seems fanciful at best.

Not only fanciful, it’s a gross misrepresentation.

What Sanders wants is ‘democratic socialism’ such as the European and Scandinavian countries elected back in the 1970s, all trusting that they’d get lots of free stuff at someone else’s expense.

Since then the real world has intruded on them, and Sweden and Denmark (Bernie’s favorites) have elected much more hardnosed governments who’ve had to retract a lot of the free stuff, and who admit that it’s not the 1% who are paying for it, it’s the whole middle class. The taxes on everyone, levied by income and topped by the savage ‘value added’ tax, are staggering.

Bernie’s good at rattling off sound bites which sound authoritative, and Maher only took the first baby steps toward peering behind them to see the how the true costs of Bernie’s free stuff would affect the shrinking middle class of Americans. It would not be pretty, and at best they’d repeat Europe and Scandinavia’s repudiation of their gauzy socialist excesses of the 1970s.

And Maher didn’t even begin to raise the spectre of undemocratic socialism such as Cuba and Venezuela, as the logical end of childish embraces of the glorious principle of free stuff paid for by someone else.

The disconnect between what Maher realizes about Sanders nonsense and how he would vote astounds me. He’s not a stupid man. An ugly, dishonest man but not stupid. So why would he want a man so divorced from reality to be president? For any one with common sense it’s incomprehensible.

Same as Mika talking about the dishonesty of Hillary but then saying she would vote for her and ditto Doug Schoen on Fox’s Political Insiders.