Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders enjoyed their debate over healthcare so much that they came back to CNN to do it again on Wednesday. This time, the subject was tax reform, and – like before – the news network couldn’t have found two other senators with as diametrically opposite views as Cruz and Sanders. Over the course of the debate, the two disagreed about how taxes impact the average U.S. citizen, why and whether inheritances should be taxes, and how and when the federal government should be spending taxpayer money.
At one point, the two senators even disagreed about the meaning of the old English legend of Robin Hood. Sanders said that the GOP tax reform plan was a “Robin Hood proposal in reverse,” with Republicans seeking to steal from the poor and give to the rich. He said that, according to the Republican framework, the wealthiest 1% would benefit the most from the tax cuts while 30% of middle class tax payers would wind up paying more.
Cruz, on the other hand, said the socialist from Vermont had a misconception – not just of the Republican plan, but of Robin Hood himself.
“Robin Hood was robbing the tax collectors, who were collecting too much taxes from the working men and women, and taking it for the rich. In Bernie’s analogy, it is the Democrats who are King John and the sheriff of Nottingham,” he said. “And Robin Hood is saying, ‘Tax collectors, stop hammering people who are struggling, who are laboring in the fields, who are working. Stop taking it to the castle to give out to your buddies.'”
As amusing as the Robin Hood part of the debate was, things got even more entertaining when Cruz turned to Sanders and asked, “What is the difference between a socialist and a Democrat on taxes?”
To which Sanders replied: “I don’t know the answer to that.”
“I don’t either,” Cruz said.
That’s a point of contention that came up several times in last year’s election, and no one – including then-DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz – could come up with a satisfactory answer then, either. And the clear point being made to millions of Democrat voters is that there no longer IS any meaningful difference. Sanders is perhaps more left-wing than most in the Senate, but he’s really not that much more “progressive” than the mainstream of the party. He is the Democratic Party, two or three years in advance. This is where the party is going, and the sudden push towards single-payer universal healthcare is an obvious sign of that. Democrats in the leadership can talk all they want about how much they respect and cherish American capitalism, but they want to take us, slowly but surely, into a form of democratic socialism that bears more in common with Denmark than the U.S.
Crazy Bernie is just the only one with the guts to say it out loud.