Monday, September 21, 2015

Big, Scary Numbers

Lost in all of the "Who Donald Trump called ugly this week" hype was the panic a report in the Wall Street Journal set off in the camp of Bernie Sanders supporters with estimates on how much it would actually cost taxapyers to cover all of the "free" stuff the Socialist candidate is promising voters.  To produce the biggest, scariest number possible, the WSJ used an entire decade's worth of spending to come up with $18.6-TRILLION.  The vast majority of that--$15-TRILLION is for universal, single-payer healthcare--or as Sanders likes to call it "Medicare for all".

That started a furious spin cycle from the Far Left trying to discredit the numbers and lessen the shock value.  The most common explanation was "That's money we were already going to spend in the private sector"--followed by "People won't get as sick if they have comprehensive coverage" and finally "The cost of health care will go down significantly thanks to efficiencies of having the government run it."  What the "Medicare for all" supporters seem to forget is that a minority of people account for much of the cost of health care in the US--meaning those of us not using the system that often are not "already paying that cost".  Furthermore, how does having health insurance prevent serious accidents, palliative care at the end of life and things like birth defects and congenital illnesses--all of which are huge medical expenses?  And do we need to bring up the VA system when we talk about the "efficiencies" of government-run health care?

But one thing that no one seems to be disputing is the revenue equation that has also been put forward by the Sanders camp.  Remember, the free health care, the free college, the paid leave fund, the jobs for youth, expanded Social Security and free child care were all going to be paid for by new taxes on the 1% and evil corporations.  The same analysis of the plan shows all of those new taxes will amount to just over $8-TRILLION in the same ten year period--leaving a TRILLION DOLLARS a year deficit.  And yes, that does include a tax on every single transaction on Wall Street, 90% top tax rate for individuals, and closing all of the corporate tax loopholes (and is in addition to the revenue already collected by the IRS).

I am yet to see any Sanders supporters explain where the rest of that money is coming from--although one article did predict that with all of the free stuff we would be a much more "productive" nation and perhaps that would lead to higher-than-expected tax revenues as well.  I know that when I don't have to pay for something I work even harder to get it.

As for Sanders himself, he says he will release his own sets of numbers to explain how he is going to pay for all of his promises--just as soon as he can find a way to suspend the laws of mathematics and economics.

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