Winston Churchill once said of socialism, “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” That pretty much sums it up. Socialism is a Ponzi scheme, and like all good (that is, bad) Ponzi schemes, it sounds so appealing! All the more so when it is with other people’s money.

U.S. senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has built a lucrative career by pandering to the naive masses who, having somehow missed the entire twentieth century, are clamoring for a socialist America. They look to Europe — a continent most of them have probably never visited or just long enough to see Stonehenge or the Eiffel Tower — and believe that Marx really knew what he was talking about, it’s just that everyone who tried to implement his idiotic theories before did it wrong.

Socialists always promise everything for everyone — strict price and rent controls, increased wages, reduced work weeks, more vacations, greater employee protections, free healthcare, free education, free Che Guevara t-shirts, free yellow vests for strikes — everything is free! Of course, nothing is free. Someone has to pay for it, and that burden inevitably falls to the earners and to the taxpayer. Socialism is quite possibly the greatest con of all time. Not only do socialists rob the masses blind, but most of their victims will extol the virtues of the system even as it is reaching into their pockets via a confiscatory tax rate — on everything! Try buying a liter of petrol in Europe. You might as well buy stock. Once you’ve emptied your wallet to fill the tank, see how far you can drive before you hit a toll road. This is to say nothing of income taxes, property taxes, the VAT, and stealth taxes accumulated through speed cameras. But, hey, it’s all free!

Socialism is quite possibly the greatest con of all time.

So it is with some relish that we now see a socialist getting a bit of his own. Karma, as they say, is a bitch, and Bernie Sanders has found himself in the precarious asteroid belt of that universe. For years the whacked-out Vermont senator has campaigned on a $15 per hour minimum wage. CORRECTION: The senator has run a campaign on staffers who are not paid the $15 per hour minimum that he has so strenuously advocated.

Listening to their leader demand a higher national minimum wage while not paying his own staff the minimum he was calling for, it seems that the workers of Bernie World united and use the socialist playbook on their socialist leader: they demanded more money. The Sanders campaign issued a statement saying, “We know our campaign offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns, as is shown by the latest fundraising reports.” That sounds oddly like free market economics, which we love, but that is not Bernie’s platform. I mean, he’s a socialist. Why not just print the money and give it away? Aren’t governments and employers piñatas? Of course, that doesn’t really work in the real world.

Embarrassed by this glaring inconsistency, Sanders responded by increasing wages, but this necessitated cutting hours and limiting paid positions lest he run out of money. In other words, Sanders learned the simple economics that every employer must learn if he is to stay in business: that not every position is worth $15 per hour and your vision, no matter how grandiose, is necessarily limited by your means. As my dad liked to say, “You can’t have champagne taste on a beer pocketbook.” Socialists epitomize that pithy saying in the negative.

You can read the full story at Fox News. But the judges at the Bull Evaluation Center, who can spot a socialist bovine a mile away (they are always skinny), call “Bull!” on Bernie.

Larry Alex Taunton is an author, cultural commentator, and freelance columnist contributing to USA TODAYFox NewsFirst ThingsThe AtlanticCNN, and The American Spectator.  In addition to being a frequent radio and television guest, he is also the author of The Grace  Effect and The Gospel Coalition Arts and Culture Book of the Year, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens. You can subscribe to his blog at