Bernie Sanders Comes Face to Face With the Hack Gap

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Poor Bernie Sanders has fallen victim to the hack gap. A few days ago he proposed the Stop BEZOS Act, which would require large companies to effectively reimburse the federal government for any welfare benefits used by its workers. Now, make no mistake: as policy, this is a pretty dumb idea. If you want the details, CBPP has you covered here.

But apparently Sanders and his allies aren’t taking criticism of his plan well:

HuffPost rounded up a few other critics:

Several progressive policy types ― such as Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Mike Konzcal of the Roosevelt Institute ― sounded sour notes on Twitter.  “It’s ham-fisted,” Betsey Stevenson, a labor economist at the University of Michigan who served on the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers, told HuffPost.

Can you imagine this happening in the Republican Party? Think tanks and politicians would all chime in to support this great plan. The RNC would post YouTubes. The con men would send out fundraising appeals. The most intellectually honest of them would just stay quiet. This is because they know it’s not policy that matters to voters, it’s hating the right people—and if Jeff Bezos is on the list, then whatever plan most obviously hurts him is a good one. It sends the right message to your voters, and anyway, it’s not like it’s ever going to go anywhere.

But Democrats? If it’s lousy policy, they just can’t help themselves. They have to write white papers and appear on TV and explain in excruciating detail why stopping Bezos is a bad idea. So the voters never hear about it, Bernie is pissed, and once again the most interesting idea Democrats have is to expand the EITC in some obscure way.

Which is probably great, although Democrats tend to carry this idea to extremes sometimes. But if you’re going to be a Democrat, it’s just part of the deal. The Democratic wonk class really, really cares about policy that actually works and actually helps people in a tolerably efficient way. They demand to know where the funding is going to come from, even though they know this is a lose-lose proposition. Basically, if you’re a Democrat, you have to accept that there’s a limit to how dumb an idea the party will support. If this doesn’t work for you, you’ll have to join the GOP. They have no such restraints.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend