Allahpundit touched on this earlier as part of a more general discussion of the distance between what the new Democratic Party wants to achieve in 2020 and what American voters actually support. One place where this divergence was particularly sharp last night was on the topic of Medicare for All (M4A). Bernie Sanders supports M4A but, to his credit, he admits that getting there will require raising taxes on the middle class. Elizabeth Warren is taking a different approach, one that has worked for Democrats in the recent past: Refuse to tell the truth and discourage others from doing so as well.
Warren’s strategy became evident during the debate when Jake Tapper asked her specifically about raising taxes on the middle class. Her reply was a carefully scripted dodge: “Giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out-of-pocket for their health care.” Asked a second time to respond “yes or no” whether she would raise taxes, Warren replied, “Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs—total costs—will go down.” You can see the full video below.
There’s really zero doubt that any form of single-payer would be massively expensive adding trillions per year to the federal budget. That would require raising taxes not just on billionaires but on the middle class as well. This is, as I’ve pointed out before, how the social democracies of Scandinavia do it. Even Vox has admitted as much. If you want America to look more like Sweden, you can’t do that without raising taxes substantially on everyone.
The gimmick here is that, while refusing to admit middle-class taxes will go up, Warren is promising overall costs will go down. The idea is that, yes, taxes will go up but once the cost of insurance premiums is eliminated, overall expenses will go down. I assume she believes that sincerely but if so it wouldn’t be that difficult to explain the trade-off to Americans honesty, as I just did in a single sentence. Instead, Warren just kept dodging the question and talking about billionaires.
Elizabeth Warren continues to refuse to answer whether she is going to increase taxes on millions of hard working Americans pic.twitter.com/2lgXsyb3vY
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 31, 2019
Obama took a similar tack in his approach to Obamacare. Rather than admit that Obamacare would potentially disrupt existing health care plans for a lot of people, Obama decided early on to just lie: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” That was true for some people, but he must have known it wouldn’t be true for all people and that it wouldn’t be true for long. Obama wanted to own the outcome but he didn’t want to own the disruption because polls showed that about 85% of the people who had insurance at the time were happy with it.
And that’s why part of Warren’s plan is to try to work the refs, both the other candidates and the media, and try to warn them off giving people the messy details. She did that in the first part of the clip below. “We should stop using Republican talking points, in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care,” she said. In other words, don’t mention taxes going up or you’ll mess up the game. Just keep saying costs will go down.
So here we are again with another Democrat trying out a new line about billionaires and corporations paying more, but don’t worry middle-class taxpayer. Your costs will only go down. At best, she’s glossing over the significant disruption her plan would cause. At worst, it’s a lie which she can’t actually guarantee anyone. But I think Warren learned from Obama that the media will let you get away with a lot for a long time if they’re convinced you’re doing something they agree with. Here’s Warren working the refs and dodging the question (clip via the Free Beacon):