by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[Bernie] Sanders, like the members of the Squad, has limited political power. But the celebrity and social media influence of these new and retread socialists has been on the upswing — especially in the current 21st century climate of radical transformations in economic and political life.
Note the shock over Clinton’s 2016 defeat, the furor directed at a take-no-prisoners Trump, and sudden progressive criticism of the Obama presidency as too temporizing, weak, and ineffectual. And there are still other undercurrents that explain why currently socialism polls so well among young Americans.
College-educated Americans collectively owe an estimated $1.5 trillion in unpaid student loans. Many of these debtors despair of ever paying the huge sums back.
Canceling debt is an ancient socialist rallying cry. Starting over with a clean slate appeals to those “oppressed” with college loans.
A force multiplier of debt is the realization that many students borrowed to focus on mostly irrelevant college majors. Such degrees usually offer few opportunities to find jobs high-paying enough to pay back staggering obligations.
Asymmetrical globalization over the last 30 years has created levels of wealth among the elite never envisioned in the history of civilization. In addition to these disparities, “free” but unfair trade, especially with China and to a lesser extent with the European Union, Japan, and South Korea, hollowed out the interior of the United States, impoverishing and diluting the once-solid middle class. Warped free trade and Chinese buccaneerism, not free-market capitalism per se, impoverished millions of Americans.
Lots of young people claim to be socialists but are instead simply angry because they cannot afford a home, a new car, or nice things in their “woke” urban neighborhoods.