The Engine Behind Bernie’s Popularity

“A political revolution is coming.” Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Kind of dangerous, but also kind of tantalizing? Bernie Sanders’s official slogan, and variations on it, inspire a revolutionary mindset in young liberals. We want to rise up and fight the powers that have been controlling politics from the shadows for years now.

This kind of message resonates with the youth in America, seeing as an Ipsos poll shows Bernie leading Hillary by 11 percent among Democrats age 18 to 34. This lead is a 23 point difference from the national average, in which Hillary leads Bernie by an average of 12 percent.

Supporting Bernie Sanders has become kind of the “in” political position, if such a thing even exists. But you can’t vote for someone just because they respond well to Larry David’s amazing impression of them, or because you want to “join the revolution.” You vote for a candidate because you believe that they have the best plan for America’s future.

I will be voting for Bernie Sanders because, out of all the candidates in the field, his plans for the U.S. economy simply make the most sense, and I believe that revitalizing and growing the U.S. economy is one of the most pressing issues of our generation. Here are some of the non-rhetorical reasons for which I, and many others, support Bernie Sanders.

The 2008 recession was the worst economic dip since the Great Depression. Every candidate on the field has plans in place to make sure that this kind of recession doesn’t happen again. One hundred and seventy leading economists, including former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research Dean Baker, have signed a letter endorsing Sanders’s plan to place restrictions on big banks, saying, “The only way to contain Wall Street’s excesses is with reforms sufficiently bold and public they can’t be watered down. That’s why we support Senator Sanders’ plans for busting up the biggest banks and resurrecting a modernized version of Glass-Steagall.”

Indeed, Bernie’s well known Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist policy would ensure that no bankers would be exempt from justice should they follow practices that lead to situations as dubious as the housing bubble in 2007.

Bernie’s platform also calls for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 over the course of the next few years. This means a slow but steady increase, rolling out the increases in increments to mitigate economic shock.

A gradual approach is important because economic shock, and specifically unemployment shock, is the greatest fear people have when it comes to increasing the minimum wage. An instant jump to $15 an hour would in all likelihood cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, and even smaller, more incremental increases would in all likelihood lead to some jobs being lost at first. This would be because smaller businesses would have to lay off some workers in order to pay other workers the higher salary.

However, economists agree that those workers that had a higher salary would then have more spending power in a very short period of time. That spending power would go right back into growing many of those businesses that experience layoffs to the point that they could hire more employees than they could before. Then the new employees would have their spending power similarly increased, and the cycle would continue with each increment until $15 an hour was reached.

A rollout like this is already starting to take place in Seattle, where the city council passed legislation that has a similar incremental increase in minimum wage, capping out at $15 an hour. Despite cries from the right stating that the Seattle economy would implode, employment has actually slowly gone up since the bill was passed, with no signs of stopping.

As Seattle is one of a kind, there’s very little data on the specifics of how much a jump to $15 an hour would boost the GDP. However, the Economic Policy Institute conducted analyses of the phase-in to $10.10 an hour, which would almost certainly be a stop along the way to $15. On the way to $10.10 alone, there would be a $22 billion dollar increase in GDP, creating an estimated 85,000 jobs. And that’s just halfway to the eventual target.

Solving America’s economic woes is the first step to ensuring that America remains both the greatest economy in the world and the greatest military power. I’m voting for Bernie Sanders because his plan for the economy gives me the greatest faith among all the candidates for America’s future.