This speech is so full of economic fallacies, it would be hard to cover them all, but let me point out a few things:
- His conceptualizing of the wealthy as greedy people who take at the expense of others is a gross misunderstanding of the non-zero-sum outcome of a free economy. Consider just some of the wealthiest people in the US. There's Bill Gates (#1), the Waltons (of Walmart #s 4, 7, 8, & 9), the Mars (of Mars candy #26), Mark Zuckerman (of Facebook #35), and Steve Jobs (#42). Did any of these people steal from me? Of course not. These people provide valuable services that I willingly give money to in exchange for their services. Only the state takes money without consent, and it is the public sector that is wealthier than the private sector. To clarify, it is not a problem that some make more than others, it is a problem that the public makes more than the private sector because it does so on the backs of the private sector. It holds monopolies on services not necessarily demanded by or needed by the public and it often funds its 'public service' operations through theft via taxation.
- His criticism of the Wall Street executives is odd. While he--commendably--did not vote for TARP, it was Washington DC that effectively took money from the private sector and gave it to Wall Street. Wall Street itself has no power to take money from others without their consent. Thus, again, it is not the private sector that did the robbing. They were, in this case, accessories to the crime.
- Finally, he rails against the trade deficit--or as Don Boudreaux says--a "capital-account surplus"-- because US companies that hold operations over-seas allegedly are stealing jobs from the US. In reality he contradicts himself. He stands as a proponent of the "little guy," protecting him from the evil rich, yet here he essentially argues here for higher prices. We shouldn't be surprised about Sanders' inconsistencies. He, after all, helped to protect the Federal Reserve--the biggest of big banks--from Ron Paul's audit. So, who are you standing up for, Bernie?
One must wonder if this is legitimate economic misunderstandings or political arrogance. As I see it, he takes "legitimate economic misunderstanding" off the table because he is so willing to steer the economy by effectively stealing from the private/ productive and diverting that money where the state wishes to grant it. Thus, Sanders speech can only reflect political arrogance and hypocrisy.