I have a high level of respect for Sen. Sanders bringing this important issue up on the floor of the Senate. Sen. Sanders makes many excellent points, but there is one serious flaw in his statement where he makes a rather conservative-leaning assertion rather than a progressive-leaning one. The flaw relates to the notion of the taxpayers funding the research and development of pharmaceuticals. Economics professor Stephanie Kelton, Sen. Sanders’ former economic advisor and author of a NY Times bestseller ‘The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy,’ makes the empirical point that federal government spending in the US is not financed with taxpayer money. I’m not sure why Sanders is deviating from what Prof. Kelton and many others, including some in the Fed, have posited.

What is the importance of this flaw? It comes down to the question of what is the purpose for the Covid-19 vaccines and any other pharmaceutical. Is the purpose solely for the public benefit in terms of public health? Is the purpose to benefit private businesses?

If we say that pharmaceuticals are solely for the benefit for the public, then there is no reason to even have private corporations involved in the creation of pharmaceuticals other than perhaps for some very downstream functions such as delivery of medications at private pharmacies and perhaps some contract manufacturing at fixed costs to fulfill demand. Even the need for that is debatable. Much of the R&D work is already funded by the federal government, as Sanders accurately points out, but there is no reason why the government cannot fund the complete development and manufacturing process for pharmaceuticals. The federal government can, and should, offer healthcare coverage for all citizens which includes prescription drug coverage. Since federal government spending does not come from taxpayer’s recycled money (there are a reason to have taxes, but it is not for funding spending), the ability to pay for public R&D, manufacturing, distribution, and so forth is not a hurdle.

Unfortunately, Sen. Sanders’ rhetoric is falsely making it seem that the federal government, and thus the public, is reliant on a rather limited supply of recycled taxpayer money to fund everything which needs to be funded to ensure the public benefit of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare needs. This right-wing Milton Friedman-esque stance leads to reliance on corporations for public health needs and everything that goes with that. Even in the foreign countries Sen. Sanders mentions in his speech, people are increasingly finding it difficult to pay for their medications. There is no need for that.

Sen. Sanders should be pointing out to the Senate that there is no need for the privatized intermediary for the development and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals if the purpose of them is for the public benefit. Now, if the reason for privatized pharmaceuticals is to ensure the success of private businesses, I believe there are serious corruption issues which then must be investigated. Besides that, I think the public will not be enthused about that justification for pharmaceuticals.

Sen. Sanders is doing good work, but even he can do better and we must demand that from him.

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I Love Bernie ! He has tirelessly for years and years worked for helping people. Corporate America stepped in and stopped him from becoming President putting Biden in, instead. I would Love ❤️ to see Bernie run for President again. However, he is up against Corporate Media which tells the public only half truths and wiii do everything they can to stop him.

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Bernie "Sellout" Sanders is not a "friend" to working people. Senator Sanders is a fake.

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