On the CNBC's "Speakeasy With John Harwood,” Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the only admitted socialist in Congress, pushed many of the same income redistribution policies as the more mainstream progressive Democrats. He also contended that GDP growth doesn't matter if people still have to struggle to eke out a living.
"If 99 percent of all the new income goes to the top 1 percent, you could triple it, it wouldn't matter much to the average middle class person. The whole size of the economy and the GDP doesn't matter if people continue to work longer hours for low wages and you have 45 million people living in poverty. Source CNBC Transcript"
"You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country."
Sanders' solution is to bring back the 90% marginal tax rate of the Eisenhower years.
"If my memory is correct, when radical socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, the highest marginal tax rate was something like 90 percent (...) That's not 90 percent of your income, you know? That's the marginal. I'm sure you have some really right-wing nut types, but I'm not sure that every very wealthy person feels that it's the worst thing in the world for them to pay more in taxes, to be honest with you. I think you've got a lot of millionaires saying, 'You know what? I've made a whole lot of money. I don't want to see kids go hungry in America. Yeah, I'll pay my fair share.'"
Obviously, Sanders does not believe that GDP growth helps everybody as in the phrase, "a rising tide lifts all boats." Apparently, he also doesn't seem to believe that the Kennedy tax cuts had anything to do with the economic boom which began soon after he was killed, or that the low taxes implemented during the Reagan presidency had anything to do with the economic boom beginning midway through Reagan's first term and lasting at least through the Clinton years (some say through 2007). The GDP growth of each of those periods helped all segments of the economy.
He also forgets that consumerism (I.E., 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers) generates more taxes or that the IRS is collecting more tax revenue than ever before.
In the end though, Sanders is convinced his progressive populist message will earn him the nomination.
"I fully concede that I get into this race as a major underdog. No question about it. I mean, Hillary Clinton is known by 95 percent of the American people. And clearly, in terms of money, I will be very, very, very heavily outspent. As I've said before though, don't underestimate me.
"We're going to do better than people think. And I think we got a shot to win this thing."