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Sanders & Socialism: Debate Between Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman & Socialist Economist Richard Wolf

Sanders & Socialism: Debate Between Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman & Socialist Economist Richard Wolf
this is democracy now democracynow.org the war and peace report I'm Amy Goodman as we continue to look senator Bernie

Sanders

runaway victory in Nevada which cemented his position as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination as

Sanders

bid for the Democratic nomination looks more and more likely and the Democratic Party establishment and much of the mainstream media are openly expressing concern about a self-described Democratic

Socialist

leading the presidential ticket his opponents including former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend mayor Pete Budaj are also on the attack senator

Sanders

believes in an inflexible ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats not to mention most Americans a

socialist

Bhutto Kratt I'm a Democrat was Joe Biden and before that Pete Buddha judge they were speaking on Saturday night after the results from the Nevada caucuses were ruled in will last wing week during the primary

debate

in Las Vegas Bernie

Sanders

address misconceptions about

socialism

with people correctly pointed out much higher quality of life in many respects then we what are we talking about we are living in many ways in a

socialist

society right now problem is as dr. Martin Luther King reminded us we have

socialism

for the very rich rugged individualism and subsidize workers so that was Bernie

Sanders

for more we host a

debate

on Bernie

Sanders

and democratic

socialism

with us in our New York studio is the

Nobel

prize-winning...
sanders socialism debate between nobel laureate paul krugman socialist economist richard wolf

economist

s the op-ed columnist for The New York Times

Paul

Krugman

his latest book is just out it's called arguing with zombies economics politics and the fight for a better future one of his recent columns is headlined Bernie

Sanders

isn't a

socialist

also with us in studio is

Richard

Wolf

f professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst visiting professor at the new school here in New York he is the founder of democracy at work and hosts a weekly national TV and radio program called economic update among his books his latest is called understanding

socialism

we welcome you both to Democracy Now well well what do you make of what is happening right now

Paul

Krugman

with Bernie

Sanders

so far the clear front-runner but moving into South Carolina and why that headline Bernie

Sanders

is not a

socialist

what you were getting at okay I mean it's Bernie says he loves Denmark I love Denmark I think Denmark is an illustration of how decent a society can be the Danes don't think that they're

socialist

s they think that their Social Democrats they don't use the word

socialist

and and that isn't

socialism

as we've always you know used to understand it it's not a government ownership of the means of production it's not seizing the commanding heights of the economy it's a really strong social safety net and a strong labor movement all of I support in arguing with zombies I have a whole chapter called ich

socialism

...
sanders socialism debate between nobel laureate paul krugman socialist economist richard wolf
which is about the Republican habit of playing three-card Monte you say that you're for universal health care they say as

socialist

you say you're for universal child care they say think about how many people Stalin killed you know it's this is this crazy stuff so why use the word well I describe yourself I think I I think it's kind of self-indulgent to call yourself a

socialist

and you know give the Republicans unnecessary ammunition we're I think probably we're for the same I'm for the same kinds of policies on for universal health care universal child care all of these things why buy into the Republican effort to make this sound like something Stalin would do well he calls himself a Democratic

Socialist

is advance that's cutting it way too fine why I use the word let me turn to a clip from the Democratic presidential

debate

in Las Vegas last week first we hear from Bernie

Sanders

than Mike Bloomberg of income and wealth inequality is make sure that those people who are working you know what mr. Bloomberg wasn't you made all that money maybe your workers played some role in that as well when we have so many people go to work everyday and they feel not good about their jobs they feel like cogs in a machine I want workers to be able to sit on corporate boards as well so they can have some say what happens proposing absolutely not I can't think of a ways that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get re-elected and listening to this...
sanders socialism debate between nobel laureate paul krugman socialist economist richard wolf
conversation other countries tried that was called communism and it just didn't work so there was Michael Bloomberg the former mayor of New York City going after Bernie

Sanders

Richard

Wolf

fe you described yourself as a

socialist

economist

s respond to what both

Paul

Krugman

says and what Bloomberg is saying here sure there is no agency neither public nor private that defines what a

socialist

is if you follow the

socialist

movement for the last hundred and fifty years you would discover that it has been a contested terrain from day one there were different interpretations and different meanings Bernie

Sanders

is perfectly in line with one of the traditions of what

socialism

is it's the government having a big role in offsetting some of the awful qualities of capitalism but we also know that the kind of control that the government tries to operate is very difficult for it to succeed with we once had a new deal in this country we lost most of it because we didn't go beyond a government intervention to change the society what Bernie

Sanders

represents is an awareness that it's time to have a conversation we should have had for 75 years about our capitalist system and whether we can do better this is now a changed environment in which what was taboo in this country isn't anymore and Bernie has already achieved the breaking of a taboo in this country to talk about

socialism

its strengths and weaknesses it's different interpretations and compare them to...
capitalism rather than running away because nasty conservatives call us various names that's not a profound reason and for the young people of this country it doesn't carry much weight anyway so I welcome the opening that Bernie achieves that we can talk about

socialism

it's different interpretations and why we ought to explore them a lot more than we've been able to under the taboo of the last 75 years oh crap man I actually agree that a lot of young people have reacted mean we have a a 60 year long campaign of equating any attempt to make American lives better with

socialism

and a fair number of young people have said well in that case I'm a

socialist

the trouble is you're not going to win this election without a fair number of old people too and it just seems to me the again it's self-indulgent to go down this route I wish you wouldn't I mean if if

Sanders

the nominee then Democrats are going to have to you know get behind him and people like me are going to end up writing lots of things saying you know don't be scared he uses the word

socialist

but he doesn't actually mean which what Republicans think you want you to think he means but you know what who needed this this this extra thing so the I'm not sure that this is I'm not sure I quite see what the point is I mean it seems to me that that there's to make the argument that says I want social justice I want a strong government safety net I want worker empowerment you...
can say all of those things without having to you know give ammunition to people who want to make it make you sound like Stalin so I mean it I'm gonna be spending I expect I expect

Sanders

will probably be the nominee and I expect to spend a lot of of the next year saying look he's really talking about Denmark not in as whele but I shouldn't have to be doing that

Richard

I'm proud to be part of the

socialist

tradition and I understand

Paul

's difficulty he's having to defend now Accenture ISM that's being rejected by a large number of people the stunning reality is that the majority of young people at least aged 35 and under no longer think that

socialism

is a bad word and they are immune to that and the young people are the future of this country which the older people know to and they are being asked to question the older ones by the younger ones why this taboo why we couldn't talk about

socialism

why we can't embrace a

socialism

and their honor electability my goodness if we've seen anything in the last few years we've seen the center whether it's in Europe or this country falling away disappearing center left center right for the extremes on the right and now an extreme on the left I don't find that frightening I understand people who are centrist do but I welcome that we can have an honest

debate

in this country and there's much in the

socialist

tradition that is well worth keeping there are lessons of what we should...
do just like there are lessons of what we shouldn't do which is true for capitalism as well so we're opening things up and I think when it comes to electability we have as much to argue that this is the way forward as anyone on the other side I don't think the people who send me hate mail and I am the king of hate mail I think that I'm a centrist right I'm for universal health care I'm for deficit spending on infrastructure I'm for universal child care if that's centrism then you know let's let's have it by that standard Denmark a centrist right I want it before we go to issues like Medicare for all I want to turn to MSNBC and what's been happening over the weekend a kind of meltdown on MSNBC around the issue of Bernie

Sanders

clearly looking like he's the front-runner and chief among those melting down appears to be MSNBC host Chris Matthews who this weekend compared senator

Sanders

Nevada victory to Nazi Germany's takeover of France about the fall of France in the summer of 1940 and the general right now calls up Churchill and says it's over insurance is a hot be you got the greatest army in Europe how could it be over he said it's over so I had that print suppressed feeling I can't be as wild as Carville but he is damn smart and I think he's stand right on this one so Bernie

Sanders

communications director Mike Aska responded to Matthews comment on Twitter saying quote never thought part of my job would be...
pleading with a national news network - stop likening the campaign of a Jewish presidential candidate whose family was wiped out by the Nazis to the Third Reich but here we are a number of people are now calling for Chris Matthews to resign yeah I mean far be it for me to defend Chris Matthews who I think has been a malign influence on a lot of our political discourse I don't think he was actually calling

Sanders

a Nazi he was just thinking of this is what it looks like when you've lost but it was stupid it was stupid and was insensitive and it was characteristic I mean if that's what Senator ISM sounds like this notion that calling for universal health care or if stuff is is it some kind of extreme position and no I mean this is this is it's telling you something about where Matthews is head is that and and not something good and it's unfortunate I don't think it's unique the fact of the matter is there's a lot of I mean Lloyd Blankfein saying oh you know I might have to vote for Trump if

Sanders

is nominating explain the significance of who long life I'm going sax and you know for God's sake yeah Trump might

Sanders

might raise your taxes that is not an important consideration American democracy is on the line so there are a lot of people out there who are I'm not sure how many there are there are a lot of influential people out there who are horrified by the prospect of a strongly progressive candidate and that should be...
condemned you know I just wish you wouldn't call himself a

socialist

Richard

Weller well I think politics is shifting and the centrists are having to discover that they are centrist because the politics has moved to the left that's what Bernie has accomplished that's what the young people around him have accomplished it may be a walk word and uncomfortable for people who used to think of themselves as the left to discover they're not that there's a movement to their left but we're very proud that that has returned as a kind of sanity of balance in our political discourse and so I'm not surprised that people like Matthew's overreact because they're being outflanked on the Left they weren't ready for it I remember in 2016 talking to a high official the Democratic Party assuring me that Bernie

Sanders

would never get more than 1 or 2 percent of any vote anywhere ever and they didn't know and they didn't understand and it's a little bit like the old Bob Dylan song you know wake up there's things going on that you didn't foresee and that are shifting the ground on which you stand but I want to be clear that many of us welcome this I mean Chris Matthews has been on a tear he recently said I remember the Cold War I have an attitude toward Fidel Castro he added I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones executed and certain...
other people would be there cheering suggesting as he was talking about Bernie

Sanders

that Bernie

Sanders

would be responsible for his execution in Central Park yeah for me this is all that I hear in all of this is a anguished fear that the politics is moving to the left these are individuals who made a commitment long ago in their lives not to go to the left even if they had sympathies there to stay in the middle because it was the safe the wise thing for their future for the country and for their careers and that's no longer the case and they are outraged and outcome these kinds of comments as we continue our

debate

on Bernie

Sanders

and democratic

socialism

with

Paul

Krugman

Nobel

Prize winning

economist

op-ed columnist for The New York Times has a new book out called arguing with zombies and

Richard

Wolf

e emeritus professor of economics University of Massachusetts Amherst visiting professor at the new school his book is called understanding

socialism

so

Paul

Krugman

I wanted to go to you're one of your columns that you just wrote headline Bernie

Sanders

isn't the left's Trump were you right I'm more concerned about the electability of someone who says he's a

socialist

even though he isn't and if he does win whether he'll squander political capital on unwinnable fights like abolishing private health insurance your stance on Medicare for all if I could do it if I could wait for magic wand or if I the time machine because somehow a bet go...
back to 1947 when we almost almost got single-payer health care I would do at the moment if there's it's not the only way to do it one thing you learn if you study health care systems is every other advanced country has universal health care they do it in different ways some of them have government provisions some of them have regulated private health care some of them have single-payer single-payer is not the only solution but it's it's fine the trouble is there's 160 million people in America who have private health insurance you're saying to those people we're going to replace what you have with something completely different trust us it'll be better it will probably be true for most of them that would be better but that's a huge political lift you're asking people to make a huge leap of faith whereas we can in fact get to universal coverage through a more through a public option through a you know something like Medicare for America something that lets people buy into Medicare and subsidizes it without having to waste that time and there's so many you know that's not having the absolute best health care system is not the only priority if I say what is the most biggest gap in America is that we're not doing enough to help children and I would like to get another couple of percent of GDP spent on helping children at a variety of ways and I think that the drive for Medicare for all will kill that possibility interestingly...
when you look at the polls in New Hampshire and in Nevada about what people care most about in both places it's the same number one is health care number two is climate change number three I think it's inequality and number four its foreign policy and especially in nevada

richard

wolf

fe what's interesting is you had a very powerful union the culinary union where they were offering excellent health insurance to their workers and yet their workers overwhelmingly the rank-and-file bucked the leadership and said even if we're getting great health care we have family members who are not loved ones who are not and ultimately we want medicare-for-all so explain this discrepancy

Paul

crabman is saying it's not realistic well I think again the politics in America have changed I don't think the mass of Americans want to hear the details about what you might get and how careful we should be and what step we should they want change they wanted it from Obama who promised hope and change they wanted even from mr. Trump who promised the change that we didn't get the changes that they promised neither the one nor the other and so people now want something that will solve their problem will not respect the old centrist let's go carefully let's do this let's not push too hard so how do you get to Medicare for all immediately or more rapidly than what

Paul

Krugman

is suggesting ladies yes

Paul

which is a surprise is probably both of us but the point is...
there are plenty of models out there of countries that have in a variety of ways answered the basic human demand I want to be careful I want to know that when I'm born and until I die if something happens to me in the way of illness or injury I am taken care of like I want a public park and I want public schools I want public health care and they don't want the details and the hesitancy they want that and any of them would be a perfectly good basis you know it's always interested me how people look to other countries to say what would be models when we have the model right here at home we have Medicare one of the most popular programs in this country oh yeah we have socialized medicine for everybody over 65 and although it's interesting if you look at it we also do have private insurance we have not abolished private supplemental insurance for older people in America so it is in a way a bit of a compromised system the actually existing Medicare that we have for older Americans is not as radical as the Medicare that Bernie

Sanders

proposing for everyone but look yeah the United States contains multitudes we have we have pure socialized medicine the Veterans Health Administration is a is actual government provision of health care and it works we have regulated private markets and Obamacare maybe trash obama a lot but you know given given the constraints he was under he got 20 million people health insurance who didn't have it before i personally know people...
whose lives were saved by obamacare so let's not let's not dismiss it as nothing and and we have single-payer but you know it says that in a ways of telling you that there are many ways to achieve it and we should look at every other country does it for everybody the problem is we have we have a safety net that's got huge holes in it interestingly this Yale study just came out in the medical journal Lancet it said Medicare for all would save the u.s. four hundred fifty billion dollars and prevent nearly seventy thousand deaths a year you have Bernie

Sanders

recently saying that he wants people in the movement to say I'm willing to fight for someone I don't know yeah I mean I could match

Paul

's argument and his little model of somebody whose life was saved by introducing him to people whose life was lost or at least their relatives because they didn't have the coverage that mr. Obama was unable to get and for someone who kept saying I could do more if only I had a groundswell of support we do have to remember that when that groundswell developed called Occupy Wall Street mr. Obama wiped it out with his bulldozers in Zuccotti Park and everywhere else undercutting the very groundswell he had earlier used as an excuse for not doing more but my response is whether it's health health care or a decent college education for Americans that doesn't saddle them with tens of thousands of dollars of debt the demand is now out there and that's...
what's fueling mr. Bernie

Sanders

support they don't want the middling biddle this change that they want these problems that

Paul

is right have existed in this country for many years they want it finally solved and they want a politician who they can believe might actually do it as opposed to those in the middle who have been saying it and promising it and delay burring the difficulties and basically not getting it done one of your columns

Paul

Krugman

you talk about the headline is zombies eatin Bloomberg's and Buddha judges brains yes explain okay that was mostly so my book is arguing with zombies and one of the zombies is this obsession with public debt and the the belief that that that you know we should be terribly scared of government debt and we can't do anything because deficits eke and that's the way bondages talks now at the top at the very moment when mainstream economics if you like centrist economics it has God has concluded hey this these debt worries were way overblown you know the president the American Economic Association gave this presidential address saying death is just not nearly the problem people think it is and it's not a constraint and of course Republicans have pulled one of the greatest acts of Policy hypocrisy in history you know deficits were an existential threat as long as Obama was in office they don't matter as soon as Trump is in office so I really don't want to see I mean I it if we did get a democratic...
centrist who bought into this deficit scare mongering that would be a really bad thing that would block any kind of initiative and as we begin to wrap up there is a mayoral there is a presidential

debate

coming up on Tuesday night in South Carolina two of the seven candidates are billionaire

Richard

Wolf

f your thoughts well for me it is always an astonishment to observe this inequality getting worse and worse I'm one of the people even though I wasn't alive then who celebrated that during the 1930s we compress the inequality in this country by means of an unusual president whose politics are remarkably like that of mr. Bernie

Sanders

these days and we actually did something to lessen the inequality and as soon as the war was over we resumed we undid the New Deal and the inequality began to get to the crazy levels now it is an abomination that one person for example Jeffrey Bezos disposes of a hundred plus billion dollars deciding what is to be done with all those resources that's not democratic that's that excludes the mass of people from the knee that could be met if that money was used differently and he can hardly consume it himself it's an extraordinary critique of capitalism that it allows this kind of concentrated wealth which of course protects itself by trying to control the politics of our country so that they don't have the power in Congress to undo the inequality in the first place so for me claiming against that right on Bernie

Sanders

I...
mean I don't think that billionaires are inherently evil but there is something wrong when two guys who really don't have any kind of national political base are in this

debate

only because of their money peculiar thing is of course that steyr may well make Bernie

Sanders

the nominee by drawing support away from Biden but but no this is I mean seconds Bloomberg is not evil but he shouldn't be in this race we want to leave it there for the moment but of course we will continue to cover all of this during this 2020 election year we will be doing a five hour special on Super Tuesday night from 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time right through midnight I want to thank

Paul

Krugman

Nobel

Prize winning

economist

op-ed columnist for The New York Times he is the author of numerous books his latest arguing with zombies and thanks so much to

Richard

Wolf

f author of the new book understanding

socialism

that does it for our broadcast I'm Amy Goodman thanks so much you