We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Bernie Sanders fails to compete with the AAPP

Bernie Sanders announces a plan to guarantee every American a job, but he fails, yet again, to come even close to the promises made by the And A Pony Party (“AAPP”).

We remind you, once again, not to be swayed by politicians hopping on to the bandwagon by cynically pushing inadequate substitutes for the program of the only political party that really cares.

Stay the course. Support the AAPP.

30 comments to Bernie Sanders fails to compete with the AAPP

  • Michael Jennings


    Everyone needs kittens. Ponies need kittens. Kittens need ponies. Kittens need kittens.

  • Alisa

    No kittens for you – come back one year!

  • Mr Ed

    a plan for the federal government to guarantee a job paying $15 an hour and health-care benefits to every American worker “who wants or needs one,”

    And if you like your job, you can keep your job.

    And who decides if you ‘need’ a job? The IRS?

  • Julie near Chicago

    For pity’s sake, this is easy.

    1. Divide the entire should-be-working* population in half.

    2. Issue serious military-grade handguns, or Uzis and Kalashnikovs, to each member of one of the groups.

    3. Assign one armed person to accompany one unarmed person at all times.

    4. Assign a job to each of the unarmed persons.

    5. Pretend to pay all persons of both groups.

    Bingo! 100% full employment, easy as pie. (You don’t want to know what that means in my particular case. My pies do, however, always taste good. That’s because, by mandate of the Great Frog and any set of functioning taste buds, lard is the only acceptable shortening for making edible pie crust.)

    * The Administrator will set the criteria for who will be included in the work-force. Personally, I would exempt those under the age of 6 months and those in vegetative coma; and of course those who have shown themselves unfit to be members of the human race. Such as Sen. BS of Vermont. These, formerly called “people,” might be shipped off to a nice desert island somewhere where they won’t bother real humans. They will have to look after themselves.

    * Likewise, He/She/It will set the criteria for employment as an Armed Companion.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I must say that upon serious review, my opinion of Mr. Metzger’s original manifesto of his AAPP remains one of the highlights of Samizdata postings. Given the nature of the latter, this is a high bar to surmount.

    Well done, Perry M. I shall continue to forgo joining the AARP (not a difficult task) and instead to throw the entire weight of my pocketbook and salesmanship (“saleswomanship”? I think not) behind the AAPP. Every mg of mass helps.


  • Michael Brazier

    Bah! If the AAPP can’t give me Twilight Sparkle, what good is it?

  • Paul Marks

    Cyrus the Great (according to Herodotus) got the Persians to follow him by promising them the goods of the Medes (the people we now call the Kurds).

    Pericles (the idol of Boris Johnson – which shows a lack of understanding of the Classical period on the part of Mr Johnson) won over the poor of Athens by promising them money at the expense of the rich – and at the expense of the allies of Athens in the Delian League (thus turning those allies into enemies – and leading to the downfall of Athens).

    Themistocles (my own hero in relation to Ancient Greece) was a democrat in the sense of accepting that the people must have the right to peacefully get rid of a government they can not stand – indeed he (Themistocles) wrote his own name for an illiterate person who wanted him exiled (the practice being for the citizens of Athens to write down the name of someone they wanted to exile from the city – “I want to exile Themistocles but I can not write” “allow me citizen – I will write the name for you”). But Themistocles was not a democrat in the sense of thinking that government should be about giving goodies to the voters – indeed he spent his political life making sure the money went to defence (especially the navy) rather than on nice-stuff-for-the-voters.

    How does one save the right of the people to peacefully remove a government they can not stand, without falling into the trap of elections turning into bribe-fests where the voters are promised the Moon and Stars at the expense of “the rich” – by Populari vermin such as Senator Sanders?

    This is the great question of politics.

    Themistocles died in exile – ironically administrating a city of the Persian enemy. The great Roman Republicans died – either by their own hand (as with Cato the Younger) or murdered to the applause of the mob, as Cicero was (by order of Mark Antony – but with a green light from Octavian later “Augustus”).

    The people often do not recognise their true friends (Themistocles saved Athens, and all Greece, from the Persians and was exiled – Pericles ruined Athens and has been wildly praised for two and half thousand years) – and cheer to the skies those who offer them Free Stuff – as a way of ENSLAVING them.

    Montesquieu and John Adams were both right – a Republic (including a constitutional monarchy – also a Res Publica) depends on the basic moral virtue of the people. If they are a mob who can be won over by free stuff then all is lost.

    Both Plato (who did not care) and Aristotle (who did care) understood this is how elected governments are destroyed – by the lack of basic virtue in the voters themselves. One can blame the tempters (the Demagogues – the Populari), but it is THE PEOPLE who listen to the tempters – rather than turning their backs with contempt.

    The left teach people to sneer at the very term “moral virtue” – and they know exactly what they are doing, when they promote such sneering.

  • Phil B

    I recall an anecdote about (I think) India where a westerner was watching the workforce digging a ditch or some other similar earthworks with spades. He asked why a mechanical excavator wasn’t being used as it would be quicker and cheaper. He was told “Oh, it’s job creation. All those men are in full employment and using spades gives them a job for a long period”. “In that case, why hot issue them with teaspoons?”

    This seems to be a similar make work type of scheme with equally vague promises of “doing something”. Beware of the jobs that eventuate, unless they are working for the Government doing paper shuffling to no useful purpose, which is known as a money pit for the non financially literate.

  • newrouter

    Fourteen States Hit Record-Low Employment Rates, Media Shrieks
    Whoops, I Meant Record Unemployment, and the Media Is Silent


  • Russtovich

    I think the best reply (so far) to this is from Iowahawk:


  • Eric

    I recall an anecdote about (I think) India where a westerner was watching the workforce digging a ditch or some other similar earthworks with spades. He asked why a mechanical excavator wasn’t being used as it would be quicker and cheaper. He was told “Oh, it’s job creation. All those men are in full employment and using spades gives them a job for a long period”. “In that case, why hot issue them with teaspoons?”

    That one is usually attributed to Milton Friedman, and he probably said it at one time or another. But as usual, the first person to use that particular anecdote is someone you never heard of.

  • TomJ

    There is a rather spend little novel called The Scheme For Full Employment wherein the eponymous scheme consists of people being paid to drive a fleet of bands from dept to dept carrying… spares for the fleet of vans. One spot phrase in it is “there’s a difference between full employment and being fully employed”.

  • “In that case, why not issue them with teaspoons?” (Phil B, April 24, 2018 at 10:58 pm)

    A sensible question – one I wonder if the supporter of the job creation scheme could answer?

    The answer is that humans, even under idiot management, retain much freedom. Only the fiercest labour discipline could prevent the men acquiring spades and discarding their teaspoons. By contrast, the men cannot as easily acquire and operate a mechanical digger, so this job-creation-and-prolongation scheme can function without its managers’ having to exert maoist methods ceaselessly. (For them, having to do that would be the management equivalent of having to dig with a teaspoon.)

    Interestingly, the quote-research article that Eric links to (at April 25, 2018 at 4:52 am) does not suggest the anecdote was in response to Keynes’ suggestion that men be paid to dig holes while others were paid to fill them in again. IIRC, Keynes suggested this before any version of the anecdote, and it would seem to be the logical endpoint of the approach – why pollute your job creation scheme with any actual purpose?

  • Michael Jennings

    I recall an anecdote about (I think) India where a westerner was watching the workforce digging a ditch or some other similar earthworks with spades.

    Last year, I decided to buy some Indian railway tickets over the internet by myself. After a registration process that took about three months (which involved submitting various documents to the Indian government, amongst other things), I managed to do this.

    Of course, if you go to India, there is a man in an office on every street corner who will happily buy a railway ticket for you instantly, and charge you a fee for it. He will have navigated the bureaucracy for you in advance.

    That’s India. Half of the population lives by fighting the bureaucracy on behalf of the other half. If these people were doing something useful, and the other half were not hindered (and were not having their costs massively increased) by all the bureaucracy, India would be China times six, and much nicer to boot.

  • Eric

    That Bernie Sanders came up with this unfundable scheme has another delicious layer of irony (or is that satire? I always get those confused) – he was asked to leave a commune in 1971 because all he did was sit around talking about politics instead of working.

  • Paul Marks

    The idea of preventing the use of technology in order to “save jobs” is quite old.

    The Emperor Tiberius had a man executed for the “crime” of inventing shatter resistant glass (those who hold to view of Legal Positivism of Thomas Hobbes and co will have no problem with calling such ravings “laws” – after all Tiberius was the ruler, and the ruler or rulers can do no wrong) as this would supposedly throw glass makers out of work. And the Emperor Vespasian rejected the construction technology he was offered – rejected it with the statement “please allow me to feed my people”, by giving them building jobs.

  • Alisa

    Eric: that would be irony – unless all these years Bernie was putting up a satirical performance, but forgot to notify everyone in advance.

  • CaptDMO

    It just hasn’t been done RIGHT yet!
    Finnish social experiment to finish.
    They didn’t wait for the pre-scripted academic research studies, award winning economists, recent polls, or public input Town Hall pretense.
    We have just GOT to find a place for Uncle Bernie.
    (Oh wait, he has THREE)
    Maybe a new hobby, like communal living? Sex therapist? Interstate Traveling salesman?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Speaking of the Universal Basic Income Guarantee, maybe I’m missing the Big Picture, but–

    Isn’t this thing just a Minimum Wage writ huge, from a purely economic point of view?

    It seems to me this would in the end result in no financial improvement for individuals, overall. For the same reason that the minimum wage doesn’t really help anyone, long-term: all it does is to cause prices to rise, so that in the end the people whose wages were raised to meet the new minimum will find that their purchasing power is no more than it was before.

    Of course the minimum wage also raises another barrier to entry into the labor force, by forcing many employers to forgo hiring and even to cut out existing jobs, thus throwing the formerly employed out of work. No news to anyone here, of course, but it’s an example of one of the large and important details I left out of the argument above. Another of which is, that some people would be helped, at least for a short time after the BIG was begun.

    So in the last analysis, I don’t see how anybody could reasonably expect such a BIG to work long-term.

    And now I’ll go read the Breitbart piece. Thanks for the link, Capt.


    Well, I see that the Usual Suspects, including Zuck and other gazillionaires, are not as bright as the Finnish government.

    I think we should all hold a bonfire and roast weenies and marshmallows, to show the Great Frog how much we appreciate its/her/his kindliness in keeping Zuckerberg, Musk, Sanders, B.H. “Libertarians,” and other lowlifes from acquiring great formal political power.


    Of course, the whole scheme is completely immoral. Unless everybody, across the board, regardless of financial status, willingly decides to throw X $ into the pot to support the thing. Where X $ is the same for all. And by “willingly,” I don’t mean they go along so as not to go to pokey or some such. I mean everybody actively wants to contribute, and if they have to go to work or work several jobs to contribute, they’re happy to do it.

    At which point, wouldn’t people see that the amount thus contributed (willingly, happily) would have to add up to more than they get back in the yearly check, onaccounta the costs of administering the program. In which case how, exactly, would a person come out ahead?

  • Eric

    Eric: that would be irony – unless all these years Bernie was putting up a satirical performance, but forgot to notify everyone in advance.

    You know, that’s the only possibility I can envisage in which he gets my respect.

  • Guys, am I missing something? Never mind the Finnish experiment – are they (and we) all forgetting that this ‘basic income’ experiment has been done before?

    From my (human and fallible) memory, it was done by the Ford Foundation in the United States. The sample size and duration were both much longer than in the Finnish experiment. The clear and conclusive results are detailed in Charles Murray’s “Losing Ground” and in the research papers the experiment produced.

    They didn’t wait for the pre-scripted academic research studies, award winning economists, recent polls, or public input Town Hall pretence.

    Actually, terminating the experiment early more likely just prevented it becoming another thing to flush down the memory hole.

    At the end of the day I returned and told the collective farm chairman that the task had been accomplished. He asked no questions. He had long ago learned that whenever the Communist Party gave orders, things invariably ended in a way no-one wanted to remember.

    (Viktor Suvorov, aka Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun, soviet-era defector, recalling his teenage years, quoted from memory.)

  • Mr Ed


    That quote from Suvorov is in The Liberators, a Soviet ‘Good Soldier Svejk’, you are very close and convey it perfectly. The context is a celebration of Lenin’s birthday, which starts with the General Secretary ordering an increase in agricultural output. This is, locally, by a chemical plant doing overtime to make more fertiliser for the kholkhozes. They have to collect it at short notice as they have produced more than they can store. He gets ordered to take back 1 1/2 tons of the stuff to the Collective Farm, but there is nowhere to put it there either, so he is given it, and he puts it on his own private plot and kills it by overdosing, this plot being his only sustenance, forcing him to join the Army to survive, and he then ultimately ends up in the West.

    Late that night, I delivered one and a half tons of the fertilizer to the kholkhoz and reported to the Chairman that I had fulfilled the task ahead of time. He thanked me but did not go into detail. Everything had been clear to him from the very beginning. He had long been accustomed to the fact that, whenever the Communist Party issues instructions, these invariably end in a way no one wishes to remember.

  • Runcie Balspune

    When you consider it, any resolve to move more people into public service is a sure way to edge towards a soviet state. On a basic calculation, consider that on average about 1/3rd of wages goes on tax to be spent on public service, this means that you need two “private” worker (paying 1/3rd each) for each “public” worker (earning 2/3rds, as they pay tax as well), once the balance is tipped beyond this 2:1 ratio, it will presumably just free fall into a 100% public worker situation, and bingo , Bernie wets his pants.

  • Mr Ed (April 26, 2018 at 9:45 am) thanks for the exact quote.

    IIRC, the key point was that all the collective farms in the region were ordered to collect an impossibly large volume of fertiliser in a single day. As there was no way their lorries could collect it all and drive back to their farms, they dump all but the last load in the river adjacent to the factory (either the Dneiper or the Don, I forget which), causing an ecological disaster. Half-way through the day that they spend doing this, a communist party official arrives, puts them all under arrest for an hour and investigates. Realising nothing can be done to sort out the absurd situation, he leaves and they continue polluting the river. They all take only the final load back to their farms.

  • Thailover

    We can trust Bernie. After all, he’s a socialist / communist who is a millionaire public servant and has three mansions. He said white people can’t know what it’s like to be poor, and was more than happy to nervously hand his mic over to the nearest black lives matter Thug who felt like storming his stage.

    We can trust Bernie, he has the mind and character of a sea slug.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “Yes,” she said complacently. “Isn’t it nice to have some things you can absolutely depend upon.”

  • Thailover

    Julie, we should take half the population of doesn’t want to work, put them in a spaceship with the telephone sanitizers and send them adrift.

  • bobby b

    Cool. An entire new Lucasfilms property.

    Star Whores.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby: *Ee-e-e-ewwww !!!!* That’s the “worst” yet. 😉 😉 😉