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Bernie Sanders, the 77-year-young senator from Vermont, has announced his candidacy for president of the United States. Elected as an Independent, he is again running for the position as the Democratic Party candidate. This is his second attempt to get the Democratic Party's nomination after losing it to Hillary Clinton in the last general election cycle.

A self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, Sanders is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. Consistent with his self-proclaimed title, his basic platform is a list of general entitlements which he believes everyone should have. The missing part of his platform is a realistic way to pay for those "entitlements." For the record, Webster defines "entitlement" as "a right to benefit specified especially by law or contract." A second definition spells out a "government program" as the source.

Sanders may not win the nomination since the field of Democratic candidates is now around a dozen announced candidates or those who are in the early stages of exploratory committees. Only one will survive the long process to the ballot, but waiting too long can result in the big dollar contributors to the party being committed to other more glamorous newcomers or the Joe Biden types who just hang around. The political process as we were taught to appreciate it in high school is not the process we see acted out in modern day life with an untold amount of money and power at stake.

As I watch the clamor for attention from the Democratic candidates, it is simply a repeat of the Republican Party which ended up nominating Donald Trump. It is like a four-year cycle of the movie "Groundhog Day" with a change of characters so we don't notice. I am old enough to remember when we didn't have term limits on the presidency, but not old enough to know whether we are better off under the two-term limit. Even though it seems the party in power at the time has a tendency to forego a serious challenge to an incumbent still in office after his or her first term, I am growing weary of some of Mr. Trump's "tweets."

Even though there are multiple facets to the Federal Income Tax reform, whether you are a winner or a loser depends on your tax bracket and your state of residency. It is unlikely that anyone in most states who depend on Social Security will be a major winner or loser. It is also unlikely that the 1 percent of America's super rich will suffer from the changes. I'm sure Mr. Trump's friends at his Mar-A-Lago Country Club appreciate his efforts in their behalf. As a nation, we are still the wealthiest, healthiest and fortunate of all countries in the world. It is also a fact of life that the wealthy people or families are the ones who own the banks and manufacturing companies which provide for the opportunities we stress to our children as their motivate to succeed.

It would be nice if the news media didn't report every move the president makes. Perhaps some restraint on their part would improve or at least not continue to tarnish his image as a leader. And, it would help if he learned to read his teleprompter. His next four years in office, should he get re-elected, will definitely be a roller-coaster ride.

But, Trump has demonstrated that he can and does bring a new, sometimes interesting but mostly uncertain agenda to our nation. When I look at the campaign rhetoric of the Democratic candidates, including Bernie Sanders, it is hard to tell what any candidate, regardless of party, will do if elected. How many multiple-billion dollar projects does it take to add a trillion dollars to our national debt? How many miles of walls do we want along our southern border, how many orbiting missile security systems, how many new aircraft for the military? Or shouldn't we be honest and acknowledge that a single-payer "medicare for all" health system and free college education are not likely part of a balanced budget without major tax increases? What do we want from our president ? And, what can we afford ?

Have the Disney-type theme parks, world travel, and 24-hour per day sources of entertainment caused us to forget someone must pay for all of this dreaming in Washington -- as well as in our home?


Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace.

Editorial on 03/06/2019

Print Headline: Who will pay for reform?

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