Bernie Sanders: America’s Conspiracy Theorist?

Matthew Schroh, Editor in Chief

With his advanced age, wild white hair, and booming voice that often announces why we should feel mistrustful of various people and groups in American society, Bernie Sanders, the “underdog” independent senator from Vermont, seems to fit the appearance of a conspiracy theorist.

But does what he say really resemble the common tin-foil-hat wearer?

The answer is yes. Bernie seems to blame the people behind the scenes of the economy for all of America’s problems – mega-banks, the Federal Reserve, billionaires, etc.

That alone obviously doesn’t make him a conspiracy theorist; many people blame the economy for their troubles – sure, a lot of people believed Bernie was above that, but I digress. What’s astounding, and what cements him to being a loon, is just how he believes the economy is at fault.

Bernie has made many colorful comments about Wall Street, one of which is when he stated in a November debate that “the business model of Wall Street is fraud.” In an article analyzing the senator, MarketWatch writer Cullen Roche pointed out that “this is no different from saying that all Muslims are evil because jihadists attacked Paris [in November 2015],” calling it “silly” and “based on a dangerous and ignorant generalization.”

Is treating Wall Street this way really all that dangerous? Surprisingly, yes. Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange have fought strongly through every war, depression, and downturn in America since their founding in 1817, to such an extent that financial professor Charles R. Geist has stated that it is “inextricably intertwined into New York’s economy.” Believing Wall Street is just some hole the government likes to throw money into is not only incorrect, it is economically hurtful.

As for Bernie’s official plans for Wall Street, I couldn’t find any. On his campaign website, he talks about “reforming Wall Street” but all I could find amidst him insulting the billionaires for the billionth time is a section briefly mentioning how “we must break up too-big-to-fail financial institutions.”

He goes into a great detail as to why (the aforementioned insults apply here), but doesn’t seem to want to talk about how. This could just be a common political thing, but that’s what annoys me. Bernie Sanders’ supporters often treat him like he’s better than the average politician, a real man of the people, but his complete lack of description of how to solve issues – on his own campaign website, no less – proves he’s just a run-of-the-mill congressman from Vermont.

Bernie Sanders may hate a lot of things – Wall Street, The Fed, Walmart, Billionaires, Republicans – but one thing he adores is Scandinavia. Many liberals have taken note of the apparent higher quality of life in countries like Sweden. However, this could not be further from the truth.

In Sweden, the effective tax rate is one of the highest in the world – in extreme cases, it even reaches one-hundred percent. In Denmark, there was a controversy a few years back regarding how many Danes were dependent on Welfare. A study found that out of ninety-eight major towns, only three of them had a population with the majority of the citizens holding jobs. Regardless of how you feel about welfare, it is inarguable that the amount of people working in Denmark seems a bit low.

Various news sources – The Boston Globe, The New York Post, Townhall – have condemned Bernie’s Scandinavian idolization, but oddly enough, I haven’t seen Bernie receive much criticism other than that. Googling presidential candidates’ names every day to find political news, I have found a shockingly low number of articles actually criticizing the senator, which I find bizarre. You’d assume a 75-year-old populist with crazy white hair and a loud Brooklyn accent would garner more complaints.

Sure, in the past six or seven months, Donald Trump has made several outlandish claims from remarkably longstanding throne atop the Republican polls – denouncing famous war hero John McCain with the logic that “real heroes don’t get captured,” claiming it was Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly’s “time of the month” when she was interviewing him, and making promises to severely limit Mexican immigration and downright temporarily close Muslim immigration, among others. But the difference here is that everyone I talk to has something bad to say about Trump. Those same people have nothing but good words to say about Bernie, holding him up to the ranking of a saint and waving off his flaws.

With this realization, and the common claim that Bernie is currently ahead of where Obama was in 2008 (before he won), I fear that Bernie may very well be our next president. I cannot predict what this will do in regards to our foreign policy, but it will spell doom for the American economy, seeing as Bernie is under the misguided belief that all of the hundreds and thousands of people who work on Wall Street are members of some sort of cult.

Donald Trump is often called a racist or a sexist due to his controversial comments. In a similar vein, other candidates are given key describing words by people not too fond of them – Hillary Clinton is called a criminal, Mike Huckabee is called a religious bigot. Bernie Sanders merits one too – except it’s not “socialist” and it’s definitely not “underdog.” Through studying his confusing comments about Wall Street and the Fed, and his bad habit of making generalizations without anything to back it, I have found no better description of Bernie Sanders than “conspiracy theorist.”