Tom Petty’s 1989 hit song Free Fallin’ could very well become Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) campaign anthem. Why? Because Warren is plummeting in the polls faster than the speed of light. In recent weeks, Warren has gone from near-front runner for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination to yet another middling contender.
While there are several reasons for Warren’s precipitous drop among the Democratic Party’s faithful voters, this turn of events has also coincided with Warren’s (long-overdue) pseudo-admission that her bounty of “free stuff” would mean big tax hikes on the middle class.
For months, Warren dodged and weaved the question of whether she would increase taxes to pay for her socialist schemes a la Muhammad Ali in his heyday. Yet, with her back against the ropes, Warren finally cried “mercy” and relented—admitting her insane policies might hit middle-class taxpayers after all.
Of course, Warren did not come out and flatly state something akin to, “If you elect me to the Oval Office, I will soak middle-class Americans with crazy high taxes.” Believe it or not, even Warren is not that dumb. However, the candidate with a “plan for everything” is finally coming under media scrutiny to explain how she would pay for her fantasy-rife legislative agenda.
For months, Warren has claimed all of her big-government-on-steroids plans could simply be bought and paid for by the greedy billionaires and corrupt corporations. Yet, one does not have to be Albert Einstein to understand that this is—as Joe Biden would say—is a bunch of “malarkey.” (For those who were not alive in the 19th century, when the term malarkey was in vogue, it means: nonsense, hogwash, rubbish, etc.)
Warren, like most politicians, loves taking and spending hardworking Americans’ money. But she is also very reluctant to admit to the fact that her grandiose government expansion is completely impossible without massive tax hikes on the backbone of America: the middle class.
If this mathematical reality somehow escapes Warren, all one must do is look at other countries that have instituted similar big-government welfare states. Exhibit A would be the Scandinavian countries, which happen to be adored by many on the far Left of the political spectrum, including Warren.
It is 100 percent true that the Scandinavian countries—namely Denmark, Norway, and Sweden—contain cradle-to-grave entitlement programs. In these nations, universal health care, “free” college, generous maternity leave benefits, etc. are the norm. However, another mainstay of these nations is a tax burden that would cause most Americans’ heads to spin.
In the new Policy Brief, Debunking the Scandinavian Socialism Myth: An Evaluation of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, this disparity in the tax burden borne by the middle class could not be more clear.
For example, “[i]n Norway, all citizens, including middle- and lower-income earners, foot large tax bills. ‘Scandinavian income taxes [including Norway’s] raise a lot of revenue because they are actually rather flat’ notes the Tax Foundation.”
In Norway, middle- and lower-income earners pay far more in taxes (including a 25 percent value-added tax on all goods and services) than their American counterparts. This is how the Norwegians pay for their generous welfare state. One should also note that Norway also rakes in hundreds of billions in oil exports, something that Warren fervently opposes.
The same “broad-based for all” tax structure is alive and well in Denmark and Sweden, and basically every other nation with programs resembling those Warren commonly touts.
However, the odds of a Scandinavian-style tax system being accepted in the United States is somewhere between slim and none. As the Brief notes, “According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 45 percent of Americans already think taxes are too high, a figure made even more stunning by the fact that 44 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes.”
We should remember that the American Revolution was predicated on an anti-tax footing. If somehow, Warren miraculously gains ground in the polls, and becomes her party’s 2020 nominee, the odds of her actually winning the presidency on a campaign to raise middle- and lower-class taxes is about as likely as the resurrection of Tom Petty.