New economic confidence polls show why Bernie won't win the White House
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Amidst some of the most ambitious regulatory reforms in history, the U.S. economy steadily outpacing Asia and Europe, and 145,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs added in December 2019, it shouldn’t be surprising to see the latest polls (including one from Gallup) indicating the highest consumer confidence in 20 years.

Yet, while the economy continues reaping the benefits of less regulation and more service industry growth, this last week saw Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressive Democrat confronts Rep. Cuellar at parade, calls for him to debate her: report Ocasio-Cortez claps back after article on her dress: 'Sequins are a great accessory to universal healthcare' Democrats working to ensure Trump's second term MORE (D-N.Y.) lambasting billionaires and entrepreneurs at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event. "No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars," she said, drawing applause from the audience. "I'm not here to villainize and to say billionaires are inherently morally corrupt... It's to say that this system that we live in, life in capitalism always ends in billionaires."

Seriously? It is no secret that socialists have historically had a difficult time coming to terms with even basic economics, but why should the American people be expected to abandon the prosperity we are beginning to enjoy for this level of dumbfounding ignorance? The so-called “democratic socialism” supported by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE (I-Vt.) would plunge the U.S. right back into the tangled web of overregulation and government control that we are just now beginning to fight our way out of. In other words, it is the ideas like those of Ocasio-Cortez that have kept the economy from reaching its full potential in decades past.

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Take the Obama administration, for example. Regulatory costs skyrocketed so much during Obama’s eight years as president (to be fair, they did so during the administration of George W. Bush as well) that by December 2017, the total cost of federal regulation alone was nearly $2 trillion annually (about 10 percent of GDP). Throughout 2018 and 2019, however, federal agencies cut regulatory costs by $23 billion, partially accounting for the 50-year-low unemployment rate President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE is making a staple of his 2020 campaign.

But now, socialists like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez want to subordinate every corner of the economy to the whims of the administrative state, following a model of what might most aptly be called “less innovation, more regulation.” Sanders’ version of the “Green New Deal,” for example (which far surpasses that of any other presidential candidate in terms of scope and spending) would cost taxpayers a mind-boggling $16.5 trillion, expand the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in regulating greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and “require corporations to audit and report their climate risks” under the scrutiny of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Additionally, Sanders’ plan explicitly calls for tightened regulations on pipelines and drilling sites to prevent oil and natural gas leaks.

While much remains to be achieved in the pursuit of a truly free-market economy, it can be said for now that Bernie — should he make it to the general election — will have a difficult time explaining to the American electorate why they deserve to have their small businesses and good-paying jobs regulated out of existence — especially as America enjoys its lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.

Cliff Maloney is the president of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL).