No, Bernie Sanders Supporters Aren’t Looking for “Free Handouts”

bernie-sanders-fbNo, I am not supporting Bernie Sanders because I want free stuff. Seriously, if I hear this ill-informed opinion one more time, I’m going to lose my mind. It’s a tired old conservative talking point that needs to be put to rest – once and for all.


Jeb Bush made a statement that Democrats lure voters in with “free stuff” and Mitt Romney made a similar claim back in 2012 with his “47%” comment which helped to sink his already-doomed campaign.

The sad fact is that the right-wing media has done a wonderful job of convincing their base that liberals are welfare queens. It’s a simplistic narrative that plays well with their grossly uninformed viewers, but it has no basis in reality. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The government-hating red states, those that blame government for everything, actually take the majority of federal aid.

Let’s use California and Mississippi as examples. California is a blue state which is solidly Democrat. Mississippi on the other hand is deeply devout to the GOP. According to conservative logic, Mississippi should be full of rugged individualists who don’t need a single dime from the federal government. According to this same logic, California residents should all be living off of the federal government, sitting around collecting government checks for watching daytime soap operas on your dime.

The only problem is, this isn’t the case. In overwhelming numbers, it is the red states who are the real takers. For every dollar that California sends to the federal government, they get back seventy-eight cents. In contrast, Mississippi gets over two dollars back for every dollar that they send to Washington. In short, the blue states like California and New York support the red states like Mississippi and Louisiana. Once and for all, can we please stop this false narrative of Democrats being the freeloaders?

Every Bernie Sanders supporter who I know on a personal level is a hard worker. My wife and I both work very hard. I am employed by a major corporation that you likely rely upon on a daily basis. We each work over fifty hours a week, and often take unfinished work home with us to complete. We pay our own bills, and we do not rely on government assistance for anything. We have no children, therefore we end up owing taxes almost every year. Why in the world would I want to support a Democratic Socialist? I’ll tell you why.


I am sick and tired of seeing Americans having to choose between medicine and food. There is absolutely no reason why, in a country with endless wealth, we have citizens who cannot afford the medicine they need in order to maintain wellness or avoid death. There is absolutely no reason why, in a country with endless wealth, people are forced to get extensions on their light bill in order to put enough gas in their car to get to work. If that car breaks down, they will lose their job because they will not have a way to work. There is absolutely no reason why, in a country with endless wealth, that we sit idly by and watch young people take on mountains of debt in order to get an education they are told they must have in order to succeed. Honestly, what kind of country thinks it is okay to put their future generations in an endless and inescapable cycle of debt?

The uninformed critics of Bernie Sanders’ agenda will tell you that people who support these policies are looking for free stuff. That is not the case. Anyone who works hard should not live in poverty. There are those who are against better pay for service workers, or those who work minimum wage jobs. They argue that these workers must have made mistakes in their lives that prevented them from being able to make more money.

This argument is nothing more than feeble attempt at belittling others in order to make yourself feel better about your own life choices. Service jobs are just as important as any other job. We will always need them, and those who work in these jobs deserve a livable wage. Any American who isn’t wealthy, but is against a livable wage for all workers, is failing to understand the basics of economics.

So yes, I am a hard-working American who supports Bernie Sanders and his democratic socialist policies. Do I support redistribution of wealth? Of course I do. In the last thirty years, over ten trillion dollars has been stolen from the middle class by the top one percent. We want that money back.

Supporting policies that put more money into the hands of the poor and middle class is not only common sense, it is how an economy grows. We’ve been giving money to the rich for thirty years. The result? An ever shrinking middle class, where more and more Americans can barely scrape by. It’s time to go back to the pre-Reagan era and it’s time to finally restore the middle class. That’s why I support Bernie Sanders for president.



Ben Madison

Ben Madison is a Liberal political activist who believes in an America where everyone is afforded the opportunities to achieve their goals and dreams regardless of color, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. He has spent time in Texas as well as North Carolina and currently resides in Louisiana. He is the founder of The Middle Class is Drowning on Facebook and can be followed on Twitter @BenHMadison.

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  • GenerallyConfused

    Very eloquently put. I have a good job, work extremely hard and pay my bills and still can’t make it sometimes. No one should have to go bankrupt because they were extremely sick. No one should have to worry about choosing to get groceries or paying to take care of a medical bill. Not in this country; we’re better than that – or at least we should be.

    • Vince

      Nobody should be forced to pay for your stuff. That’s theft. End of story.

      • GenerallyConfused

        No one is paying for my stuff. However, with that said, at any moment you or I can have our worlds turned upside down by matters not under our control. An accident, an illness, or being laid off..

        We are all paying for others and always have been. Be it healthcare, public schools, roads, police, fire, ems.. that’s just naming a few…

      • Vince

        Just because we already do it doesn’t mean it’s okay.
        I wouldn’t compare police to other stuff. There is a collective benefit to the police. A police isn’t a service provided to individuals. Therefore it makes sense that we all pay for it.

      • GenerallyConfused

        …sooo… libraries and public schools aren’t okay. Nor are roads, 911, traffic lights, snow removal or anything else the government pays for with all our tax dollars. Got it.

        Sorry, but I rather like my clean water and air, making sure that things like soaps and medication are ensured safe and regulated while being able to drive my vehicle safely after a snowstorm and if, heaven forbid, I get hurt, a 911 call will alert appropriate people that i need help so I can go to a hospital and not get charged thousands of dollars in costs just for being in an ambulance. But if you dont…

      • Vince

        Well roads and traffic lights would be paid by user fees, like the gas tax. There

      • shaun

        Roads and traffic lights are paid for by vehicle registration fees and, to a lesser extent, state taxes. The international highway system is paid for by the taxes you pay on gasoline and to a lesser extent federal taxes.

        These systems are, largely, paid for by the people that use them. If you never own a car, you’ll likely never pay for roads or highways.

  • The Cosmic Avenger

    I heartily agree with the general premise, but since we’re talking about misconceptions, as the son of an accountant I can’t let this one go.

    “We have no children, therefore we end up owing taxes almost every year.”

    Getting a refund or owing on your taxes has nothing to do with how much you pay, it has to do with your withholding. We adjusted our withholding so that we only get a very small refund because we didn’t want to give the government an interest-free loan. You could also adjust it so that you get a much bigger refund, which is actually not a bad idea if you’re bad at saving money and are an impulsive spender. You could also adjust it so you owe a lot, but if your withholding is too low for too many years you may be assessed a penalty.

    Next time let’s just say “We are proud to pay every penny we owe, knowing that it goes towards funding our nation’s priorities” or something like that.

    • Vince

      Why should I be forced to pay for other people’s free stuff? That’s thievery. Rand Paul 2016!

  • Well written… Definitely sharing this one.

    Do you know if there is a newer graphic about Red State Socialism? I’d like to see which states are “takers” today, in 2015.

  • Kris

    The article actually contradicts the premise. Many do want free stuff or at least stuff subsidized by the taxpayers. I think the actual argument being made is that free stuff ought to be provided to those in need.

  • PoliticalCorrectnessIsPoison

    You put California up against