"Wrong. He's blaming the system that is set up to pit unsuccessful Americans against successful Americans."
Hell no. Bernie is specifically pitting unsuccessful Americans against those who have succeeded by suggesting that those who do succeed should pick up the tab for those who haven't. Here's the thing: If Bernie was offering to provide additional benefits in return for an obligated return for the taxpayers, I wouldn't be that put off. But that's not the case. Bernie's whole shtick is that the taxpayers, those who have succeeded, owe something to those who haven't, while those who haven't bear no responsibility in return. I'd be amongst the first to support an initiative where the government became the employer of last resort, but from a progressive standpoint that would be a failure, as it would require those who receive benefits to contribute time and energy in return. And making demands of recipients is a sure way to lose votes.
"Free stuff (i.e., higher education) is aimed at upending the system's inequality."
Another thing. If you look at the countries that produce the most college graduates, the number is consistently between 30-40%, regardless of whether the student pays for it or the state. Having the student incur a cost, be it in time, service, or money, ensures that they are not there to waste time. I don't think the taxpayers need to fund a student to earn a degree that provides no return in value to the taxpayer.
"His general gist seems to be, screw the American worker. Because he feels poor/homeless people in America somehow have it good."
They most certainly do, but that's neither here nor there. Like I said, I'd have no problem supporting a CCC-type program where the government was the employer of last resort. Would progressives support it? I don't think so. We saw in Maine what happened when people capable of working were deprived of cost-free benefits made available without working. The rolls decreased by 80%. Did they all just decide they would rather starve? Maybe. I suppose we could determine that pretty easily if the number of deaths from starvation went up dramatically in Maine, but more than likely they went out and got jobs. For the simple fact that if they have to work, they may as well get a job that pays more than what they would get meeting the requirements for food stamps.