- - Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ten-thousand college students, many of whom may not be able to find a good, full-time job when they graduate, were cheering socialism at a Democratic political rally in Wisconsin Wednesday.

The campus rally took place at the “People’s Republic of Madison,” also known as the University of Madison. The speaker was Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described ultra-socialist, and the kids who were lustily cheering him loved the agenda he was peddling.

It included tuition-free public universities, paid vacations for everyone, a generous boost in the minimum wage (that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says would kill up to 1 million jobs), lengthy maternity leave, a break-up of the big banks, the end to income inequality, and a roar of approval for a dramatic reduction in unemployment among young adults.

And Mr. Sanders said this revolutionary, left-wing agenda was just for starters if he is elected president of the United States next year. “Please, think big, not small,” he told the students.

How big? Well, Mr. Sanders made that clear throughout the course of his speech to the adoring crowd. His campaign wasn’t about him he said repeatedly. It was a grass-roots movement to redistribute America’s wealth.

The reigning left-wing ideology among the University of Madison’s student body is tailor-made for Mr. Sanders and for presidential candidates like him. For anyone running for president, this is a mandatory stop on the campaign trail.

President Obama spoke on the Madison campus twice, addressing a crowd of 30,000 in 2012. He didn’t just win the student vote, he owned it.

Their professors had thoroughly brainwashed them, turned them into unthinking, robotic, knee-jerk Democrats who didn’t have a clue about what goes into creating a healthy, job-creating, prosperous economy.

That’s the political challenge Republicans face in this 2015-16 election cycle at colleges and universities across the country.

There’s a powerful case to be made about what’s wrong with the Democrats’ redistribution of wealth, cradle-to-grave welfare agenda.

Look no further than to Europe, where various forms of Barack Obama’s, Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda is running at full throttle.

But Europe is in a deep recession, taxes, jobs are hard to find, and governments are deeply in debt. It’s estimated that more than 23 million people in the European Union are unemployed.

Europe’s unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, was 11.1 percent in May. Redistributing incomes, high tax rates and a mountain of welfare benefits isn’t working very well over there.

Nor is it working very well here, either.

Mr. Obama was scheduled to be in La Crosse, Wis., on Thursday to talk about his economy. Here are a few things he probably didn’t mention in his speech.

One is the large number of jobless Americans filing for unemployment benefits, which “rose in late June to a five-week high, up 10,000 to 281,000 in the seven days stretching from June 21 to June 27,” according to the Dow Jones economic news wire.

Economic forecasters expected unemployment claims to decline, but there were more layoffs than anticipated in a very slow growth economy.

The government said the economy created 223,000 jobs last month, but wages remained flat and job gains in the previous two months were revised downward by a combined 60,000. Ouch.

The jobless rate fell to 5.3 percent, but the decline was due to more than 400,000 people leaving the labor force — who included discouraged, long-term job seekers who said they couldn’t find work — but were not counted among the unemployed.

Not a pretty picture of Mr. Obama’s economy or for the Democratic presidential candidates who want to follow him into the White House in 2017, and have backed his failed economic policies since Day One.

But there are a lot of other things deeply wrong with the economy that the president was unlikely to bring up in his speech yesterday.

The economy stopped growing in the first three months of this year, and actually shrank, causing economists to lower their forecasts for economic growth in the seventh year of Mr. Obama’s so-called recovery.

Last month, the Federal Reserve downgraded how the economy would perform for the rest of this year to a pitiful 1.8 to 2 percent — well below its previous projection of 2.7 percent growth.

Meanwhile, gasoline prices have begun rising again to previously high levels, squeezing consumer wallets — with incomes showing no signs of rising anytime soon. Not as long as Mr. Obama is in office.

Economic analysts say business investments remain at anemic levels and business startups are at their lowest rate in more than a decade.

Homeownership hasn’t recovered to its prerecession levels, either, held back by lower incomes, higher prices and a shrinking housing inventory, as mid- to low-income families are forced into rentals.

As for those college students lustily cheering Bernie Sanders’ clarion call to redistribute America’s wealth, they better check out how his ideas are working across Europe before they go into the voting booth.

One of the economic hallmarks of Mr. Obama’s presidency is the specter of disappointed college graduates having a difficult time finding full-time work that’s commensurate with their educational skills.

Producing jobs requires building capital investment and creating wealth. Barack, Bernie, Hillary and all of the other Democrats are against both.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.

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