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Raise the Alarm

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


A WSJ.com headline today reads “Sanders Proposes to Wipe Out All Student Debt With Funds Raised From Wall Street.” Yet the text of your report belies this headline.

Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn’t propose to retire all student debt with money raised from Wall Street; he proposes to retire this debt with money taken from Wall Street.

An entrepreneur raises money when she entices venture capitalists voluntarily to risk their own money to back her business plan. A business raises money when it motivates investors voluntarily to buy its shares issued in an IPO. A development officer raises money when he persuades generous souls voluntarily to contribute funds to an institution or cause that the generous souls support. Government, in contrast, doesn’t raise money; it takes money.

Unlike people who actually raise money, Sanders doesn’t have to creatively present those with money with a win-win proposal. No. Like a thug well-armed, he simply and uncreatively – and with a motivation utterly primitive – seizes other people’s money.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030