The founders of Ben & Jerry’s visited students in Washington, D.C. Monday to scoop out free ice cream in support of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have traveled to numerous college campuses across the country to rally support for Sanders. The two ice cream makers spoke with George Washington University students about why they think Sanders is the best choice for president. Cohen shared his thoughts with the students, and argued Sanders is actually very fiscally responsible despite critics’ claims.
“I’m a business guy and I like to look at Bernie’s proposal from a business point of view,” Cohen said to the crowd of students. “The reality is Bernie is a fiscally responsible guy. His proposals are revenue neutral. The amount of money they costs are covered by a funding stream that he proposes.
Cohen added that the programs will be funded through new taxes and changes to the national budget. He notes, for instance, that free college education can be funded through a financial transaction tax, while the $15 minimum wage will stimulate enough economic activity to benefit businesses.
“Its good to see people use their platform in a good way and try to make a real difference in America,” Raman Mana, a freshman at GWU, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They believe just as much as us that the time is now. The time for change has come and they’re doing the best that they can to make sure that America benefits from a person like Bernie Sanders.”
Cohen and Greenfield launched their Vermont-based ice cream company in 1978. Sanders became mayor of Burlington, Vermont a few years later, and eventually a U.S. senator. Cohen and Greenfield noted that they saw firsthand Sanders’ leadership abilities and came to personally known him over the last few decades.
“I’m into both the Democratic candidates,” Katherine Mendoza-Wright, a sophomore, told TheDCNF. “I think their hearts are in the right place, especially coming from Vermont. He comes from Vermont. And also, you know, I think its kind of cute them doing the work that they do.”
Cohen and Greenfield also invented a Sanders-inspired ice cream flavor. “Bernie’s Yearning” consists of plain mint ice cream and a chocolate disk that must be broken up and “redistributed” throughout the dessert. The company is known for selling ice cream flavors inspired by people such as “Cherry Garcia,” named for the late lead singer of the Grateful Dead.
[dcquiz] “I think a lot of people from a business perspective and economic perspective think Bernie isn’t going to work,” Mendoza-Wright said. “Them applying their business to their knowledge on how money works, I think that’s a pretty strong argument.”
Sanders has made income inequality a central focus of his campaign. He has advocated for increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, among other ideas, as a way to help address the problem. His platform also includes making more services public, like college, so they can be offered to people for free.
His primary rival former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been unclear about her stance on the minimum wage, making some doubt her sincerity. She originally said the federal minimum wage should not exceed $12 an hour, but supported states that choose to go higher. Clinton said during the Democratic debate Apr. 14 that the $12 mark is meant as a step towards eventually reaching $15 an hour.
Economic experts on both sides of the aisle criticize Sanders for his policy proposals. Several former economic advisers to President Barack Obama wrote an open letter February to Sanders out of concern his plan will cause economic harm.
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