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WATCH: Van Jones Claims ‘Young’ Sanders Supporters Aren’t Really ‘Socialist’; Policies ‘Actually Pretty Reasonable’
2020 Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to supporters during a campaign rally on October 19, 2019 in New York City.
Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

On Friday night, Van Jones appeared on a CNN panel following the Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire.

When asked by anchor Chris Cuomo if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) can “redefine” the word “socialist,” Jones replied that he’s not sure it can be done, but went on to defend Sanders’ ideology and policy as “pretty reasonable.”

I don’t know if he can – but I will say this. For his young supporters, they call themselves socialists, but they really just seem to have, like, grandparent envy. In other words, their grandparents get to see a doctor pretty much for free, and they want to do the same thing. When their grandparents went to college, it cost, like, $4 a semester, and they want to do the same thing. Why [do you] call yourselves socialist? You basically just say: “Grandpa and grandma, I want what you had.” The idea that this is some socialist revolution or whatever, this is not a socialist revolution of the kind that we heard about in the 60s and 70s, and I think the label does a lot of harm when the policies are actually pretty reasonable.

Cuomo then noted that during the 1970s, Sanders “did argue for state ownership of corporations and the industries of commerce.”

Cuomo said that when he brought that up during a town hall in April 2019, Sanders replied, “When did I say that?” to which Cuomo responded, “You said it in the 70s.” Then Cuomo told the panel that Sanders said, “Look, my ideas have progressed.”

That’s not exactly what happened.

During the town hall, the exchange between Cuomo and Sanders was as follows:

CUOMO: You were asked earlier on, as a quick follow on this, what do you feel differently about now? I was reviewing what CNN’s KFile had come up, taking a look at your evolution in politics. You used to argue that you should have government control of the means of capitalism, energy companies, factories, banks –

SANDERS: When did I say that?

CUOMO: In the 70s.

SANDERS:  Okay, right.

CUOMO:  No, but hold on.

SANDERS: What did you say in the 70s?

CUOMO: Ga ga goo goo. What I’m saying is that you’ve changed.

SANDERS: Wait a minute. First [thought], he hears me criticizing media all the time and he gets nervous about it.

CUOMO: One of many things that makes me nervous.

SANDERS: I was a mayor of a city for eight years. Did I nationalized any of the industry in the city of Burlington, Vermont? I don’t think so. Congressman for 16 years.

Look, I said what I said, and that is, I want to live in a nation in which all people in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world can have a decent standard of living. I’m not talking about everybody owning a big, fancy house or Cadillac or anything like that, but I think we can do what other nations in the world are already doing. The ideas that I’m advocating for you tonight, you know, they’re not so radical. Health care as a right exists in virtually every other major country on Earth. Does anyone here know how much it costs to go to college in Germany? It’s free.

I once was giving a speech, Chris, and I said that in Finland, college is free, and some guy jumped up, and said, “I’m from Finland. You’re wrong. It’s not free.” … He said they pay us to go to college. So, these ideas about guaranteeing economic rights to working people rather than seeing in New Hampshire and in Vermont, and all over this country, people working two or three jobs, for $8 or $9 an hour, living under great stress, not having time for their kids, marriages dissolving as a result. Yeah, that’s what I believe. I believe in a nation in which we guarantee fundamental economic rights, basic necessities of life to all of our people.

Sanders noticeably doesn’t disavow what he said, and he doesn’t indicate a changed belief system. Instead, Sanders pivots to claiming that when he was a mayor, he didn’t act on his alleged ideology, and then goes on to describe some of the broad policy he believes in.

During the 2020 election cycle, Sanders has proposed several policies that would nationalize certain industries, or portions of industries, and rack up staggering costs, which would be paid for by the American taxpayer.

The senator wants to implement Medicare for All, which is estimated to cost approximately $32 trillion over the first decade of implementation. He wants to cancel student loan debt for the roughly 45 million borrowers at a cost of $1.6 trillion, and “provide at least $48 billion per year to eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs.”

Sanders also wants to “end the housing crisis by investing $2.5 trillion to build nearly ten million permanently affordable housing units,” reads his campaign website.

Notably, Sanders favors the so-called Green New Deal (GND), which would radically transform the way we live.

On the senator’s campaign website, it claims that when Sanders is President, he will end “unemployment by creating 20 million jobs needed to solve the climate crisis.”

These jobs will be good paying, union jobs with strong benefits and safety standards in steel and auto manufacturing, construction, energy efficiency retrofitting, coding and server farms, and renewable power plants. We will also create millions of jobs in sustainable agriculture, engineering, a reimagined and expanded Civilian Conservation Corp, and preserving our public lands.

The website adds that the plan would include “directly invest[ing] an historic $16.3 trillion public investment toward these efforts.”

Although the details of the Green New Deal are vague, multiple organizations and individuals have attempted to ballpark the cost of the initiatives put forward in the proposal. Looking at several key aspects of the policy, the Aspen Institute estimates that the GND could cost somewhere between $52 trillion and $93 trillion “over the next ten years.”

[Editor’s Note: Sanders’ “Green New Deal” would allegedly cost $16.3 trillion, according to his campaign. The Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is what the Aspen Institute’s estimates pertain to. However, Sanders is on record supporting AOC’s Green New Deal].

According to Sanders’ website, the candidate is also interested in public ownership of utilities, as part of the GND would see a massive movement in the energy sector:

The renewable energy generated by the Green New Deal will be publicly owned, managed by the Federal Power Marketing Administrations, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Tennessee Valley Authority and sold to distribution utilities with a preference for public power districts, municipally- and cooperatively-owned utilities with democratic, public ownership, and other existing utilities that demonstrate a commitment to the public interest.

Over the decades, Sanders has praised and advocated for socialist ideology on numerous occasions, including allegedly campaigning for “the Socialist Workers Party in the 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns,” reports the Washington Examiner.

When confronted about his self-proclaimed Democratic Socialism, Sanders often invokes allegedly socialist Nordic countries in defense of his ideology.

However, as Danish economist Otto Brøns-Petersen told The Daily Wire: “The Nordic countries are far from socialist. It is true that some of us have large public sectors and high taxes, but in most other respects, the Nordic countries are more free-market than even the United States. The government doesn’t own or plan the economy in the Nordic countries, and in some respects, doesn’t even regulate as much as other Western countries. There are, for instance, no minimum wage laws in Denmark.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  WATCH: Van Jones Claims ‘Young’ Sanders Supporters Aren’t Really ‘Socialist’; Policies ‘Actually Pretty Reasonable’