Sanders Complains Media Makes Too Big a Deal About 'Socialism Versus Capitalism' Debate

CBS Host ends interview by saying there's no time to ask Sanders how to pay for free college, Medicare for all

August 15, 2018

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) complained Wednesday the media "makes a bigger deal" than it should about the modern debate between socialism and capitalism.

Appearing on "CBS This Morning" following his Democratic primary victory in Vermont, Sanders was asked by co-host John Dickerson about the appeal of democratic socialism to younger party members. Young democratic socialists like New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have challenged older party leaders to shift further to the left.

"Democratic socialism is appealing to some of them, who also might be interested in the Democratic Party," Dickerson said. "The idea of socialism versus capitalism, does that conversation need to be more in the present, in the forefront?"

"I think media makes a bigger deal of it than it should. Look at the issues!" Sanders said impatiently. "Should every American have health care as a right at a time when we spend twice as much per capita on health care as any other country, have the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, and 30 million people have no health insurance? That is a disastrous system.  Of course, we need to move to Medicare for all."

"Should, at a time we're in a competitive global economy, we make public colleges and universities tuition-free?" he added. "The answer is yes. Look at the issues out there. But I will also say this, John. I think that there is growing resentment, not only among young people, who in many cases are going to have a lower standard of living than their parents. I think that there is an understanding there is something fundamentally immoral and wrong about a nation in which we have three people who own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people. That does not make sense."

Co-host Bianna Golodryga noted the response of "many" is they like Sanders' ideas, but "how do we pay for them?" However, she said there was no time to ask Sanders, sitting across the table, that question, and the interview concluded.

A recent study commissioned by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University concluded a "Medicare For All" program would raise government expenditures by $32 trillion over the next decade. Sanders was hit by the Washington Post for misinterpreting the study by claiming it showed his plan would save Americans $2 trillion.

While Sanders ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 and has routinely run for the party's nomination for Senate, the self-described democratic socialist has remained an independent. After his victory primary victory Tuesday, he is expected to again turn down the Democratic nomination as he did in 2012 and 2006 and continue running as an independent.

A new Gallup poll shows Democrats view socialism (57 percent have favorable opinion) far more positively than capitalism (47 percent).

Published under: Bernie Sanders , CBS