Bill Maher apparently had a great time with Bernie Sanders on Friday night's Real Time because he unofficially indicated he was behind the Vermont Senator's bid for President.
In the first segment of the show, Maher greeted Sanders by saying "I want to help your campaign. I want to see you get the nomination. I want to see you be president." One hell of a way to start out an interview. The conversation quickly turned into the two nerding out over Sanders' brand of "democratic socialism" and the funding model for of some of Sanders' political agenda.
"My question for you is the word 'socialist' — I want to get right to this," Maher said. "Because I want to help your campaign, I want to see you get the nomination, [so] we have to teach Americans what this is ... I don't think most Americans realize that they're already socialists."
Sanders said that most Americans need to better understand the what democratic socialists like himself aim to achieve. "We want to deal with grotesque level of income inequality in America," he said. “On every one of the major issues I am talking about, the American people agree.” His examples were free public college tuition and raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
Maher went on to agree but said that Republicans can't understand what they call socialism as a problem solver. He continued that the way Sanders must explain to Americans what he's talking about is to point out the things we already have that are working:
"Socialism is the programs they already like. They like Social Security. That's socialism. They like Medicare. They like the VA. They like the military. It's already a socialist country. ... We have to un-demonize that word. ... [The number of people who say they'd vote for a socialist] is at the bottom [of the list] — they hear 'socialist,' they hear 'herpes,' Bernie!"
Maher said that even Vermont couldn't afford to pay for universal healthcare for it's citizens using only the model of "tax the wealthy" that there needed to be another revenue stream to support it. He said it is only because "democratic socialist" nations are able to provide "both ends" of the economics of the issue. “If you’re saying that the government is gonna pick up the tab," Maher went on, "but not make the insurance companies, the hospitals, and the doctors not gouge people, then we are gonna break the budget. It has to work both ways.”
“The United States is the only major country on Earth that allows private insurance companies to make huge profits in the health care system,” Sanders replied. “The function of health care should be to provide quality care to all people, not to make huge profits for the drug companies and insurance companies.”
Sanders told Maher the way we pay for it is to restore taxes to the one percent. "You're saying we can pay for all of this without raising taxes on anyone but the 1 percent?" Maher asked.
"We may have to go down a little bit lower than that, but not much lower," Sanders replied.
Later on in the show he was feeling the Bern saying that the GOP hears something entirely different when Sanders speaks. Almost like a broken translator.
For example, when Sanders announced in Tuesday night's debate that he “has a D-minus voting rating from the NRA," what conservatives heard was, “Rifles are for men with small penises. Every single gun in this country should be confiscated and melted down to make Tony Awards."
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