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Tue Mar 1, 2016, 02:45 PM

Bernie Sanders' Most Radical Idea Is One He Almost Never Mentions


The presidential hopeful is harder on Big Pharma than he is on Wall Street.

The crowds always love the line. If they haven't heard it at a Feel The Bern rally before, they've seen it on TV. It's scripted and predictable, but the faithful love the script.

"Are you guys ready for a radical idea?" Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) shouts. The audience screams in exultation. Sanders beams at the lectern and says something in no way radical.

"Together we are gonna create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent," Sanders said in his New Hampshire primary victory speech. Sounds cool, but even Speaker Paul Ryan could sign off on the sentiment.

"We're gonna invest in jobs and education, not more jails and incarceration," he said on Twitter.

At an MSNBC town hall, it's raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Whatever Sanders says after his "radical" set up always, always gets an ovation.

But for all the branding, most of his economic policy platform is a prescription for the United States to do the things it already does to help working people -- just more. We've had a minimum wage since 1938. Raising it to $15 is ambitious, but not a radical change to the way the labor market is structured. Free tuition at state universities? We already have had 13 years of free education and reduced tuition for in-state college. The corporate lobbyists at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce want the United States to spend more money on infrastructure, too. They don't want to break up Wall Street banks and reinstate Glass-Steagall, but even this reform is essentially conservative in nature. The banking system did pretty well from 1940 to 1990. Let's quit screwing around and go with that.

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