The 1,473 Democrats running for president have apparently settled on a campaign slogan: “Vote for me and I will give you more free stuff than the other guys.”

The free stuff doesn’t go to everyone. Very specific groups are selected to receive the free stuff. Giving free stuff to everyone would be like cutting taxes, but many of the candidates bemoan tax cuts as some anti-patriotic gambit by the evil other side. How could free stuff be given away if the evil other side didn’t actually pay more in taxes?

Students should not have to pay back their loans. It doesn’t matter why they have student debt, or what they did with the money, or what they decided to do while in college, or even a three-credit class studying obscure 13th century Sri Lankan writers did not exactly help pay back the loan.

In the real world, it does matter that every cent of the loan is owned by someone and they want it back. But our dictatorial candidates will force those evil, old white men who scurry around like rats on Wall Street to pay it back. Good luck with that!

Why have debt at all? College will be free. No mention by our candidates that free college is not free, and that the government would have to tell students how long they could stay at college and evidently what majors they would have to take.

Ah, reparations! Let’s make everything right by giving away money. Indeed, “money answereth all things,” but I believe Ecclesiastes also said it was all vanity. But who should get what? If one goes back far enough, it is unlikely there is a human alive who does not have a slave somewhere in their blood line, or, for that matter, a slave owner.

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There is a solution, and it is in line with the “free stuff” campaigns. Everyone should receive reparations from everyone else, and since we believe in equality, diversity and inclusion, everyone gets the same amount and pays the same amount. Presto! We all can feel better, sanctified. Finally we are free from the burden of guilt for whatever we and our ancestors might have done.

Elizabeth Warren has a new free stuff idea called “refund equality.” Gay couples can claim back all the federal income taxes they had to pay because the government would not allow them to be married. This is classical “free stuff,” but Warren needs to widen her net. Why not have refunds for other people the government won’t allow to marry? There is a long list.

However, the question remains: Will giving away free stuff to only selected groups buy an election?

Why not promise free stuff to everyone? Congress has shown no interest in controlling government spending. Whatever is needed could be borrowed from, well, someone.

But not to worry. This is an election. If promising free stuff works, then one of the 1,473 candidates will be in office, and that’s worth it.

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Dennis Clayson is a marketing professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of the University of Northern Iowa.


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