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Tipsheet

Brutal: Experts, Journalists, Fellow Democrats Dismantle Warren's Fantasy Healthcare Math

On Friday, Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren published what she said was her 'detailed plan' to finance her radical government takeover of the entire healthcare sector.  She's been scrupulously and painfully avoiding the 'pay for' question for months, falsely insinuating that middle class Americans would not be impacted by the enormous, across-the-board tax increases that are required to fund a single-payer program -- to which a left-leaning think tank recently assigned a $34 trillion price tag, over the course of the scheme's first decade (and exploding further thereafter).  Facing mounting criticism over her slippery avoidance from some Democratic rivals, Warren vowed to present a complete reckoning for voters to consider.  This is what she came up with:

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It is hard to overstate how utterly insane and dishonest this is.  Warren claims that in order to finance the $52 trillion her plan would entail over its first ten years, she'd 'only' need to raise taxes by approximately $20 trillion, to cover new spending.  This math amounts to a $14 trillion shortfall, based on the nonpartisan consensus about the true mathematical cost of her plan (overall, her basket of proposals would double the annual federal budget).  She does not even attempt to account for this staggering amount of money.  Experts and commentators have been punching gaping holes in Warren's proposals, including proving that her 'not one penny of tax increases on non-billionaires' assertion (even ignoring the $14 trillion gap) is a dramatic, fantastical, bald-faced lie.  Here's one lefty journalist:

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And that's only the beginning.  Politico published a piece featuring Democrats openly fretting that Warren's extreme and unpalatable plan, despite its clumsy and pain-masking gimmicks, represents an acute political risk to both Warren and the entire party:

“This is going to cause down-ballot damage in swing districts and states if she’s the nominee,” Buentello says, describing how her Pueblo-area constituents — who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2016 — were already echoing criticisms about a giant, one-size-fits-all big government run plan that cancels private health insurance and raises taxes...Medicare for All has been debated repeatedly by Democrats on stages where Warren has largely ducked specifics and the issue of tax increases. What’s different now is that Warren is emerging as the frontrunner — and centrists and pragmatists in her party are starting to hit the panic button as Warren’s plan seems tailor-made to make enemies of doctors, hospitals, the insurance industry and some employers...The GOP is likely to echo the same criticisms of Obamacare — that it was a step toward socialism. But this time, a wholesale government takeover of health insurance would actually be a step toward socialism, which is still viewed more negatively than positively by Americans overall. “You don’t win with a message of socialism in a swing state like Florida,” said Bill Nelson, a former Florida senator and Biden surrogate.

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Joe Biden and other relatively moderate Democrats have been slamming Warren's calculations in stark terms.  The Biden camp is calling it a $9 trillion tax on workers, which understates the unpleasant reality, if anything.  This is a swing state Democratic Senator and lower-tier 2020 candidate:


Warren has replied by accusing her fellow partisans of deploying 'Republican talking points,' suggesting that Biden should be running in the GOP primary -- which, in turn, has touched off indignant responses.  Some prominent 'Never Trumpers' are also aghast at both the substance and politics of Warren's latest gambit:


Let's linger on the substance for a moment: For a serious review of Warren's risibly unserious proposal, I recommend reading Philip Klein, who notes that the plan (a) ignores the aforementioned $14 trillion shortfall, (b) relies on trillions in "magic" or "phantom" alleged savings and revenues, and (c) lies about middle class tax increases, even if one ignores points (a) and (b).  Brian Riedl similarly invokes 'magic' in delivering his plain-spoken, yet simultaneously generous and brutal, assessment.  Charles Blahous, a public trustee of Medicare and Social Security writes this:

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On yet another critique of her policy -- which was first raised when more than 100 House Democrats embraced a radical bill that largely mirrors Warren's -- the Senator openly concedes that the imposition of her proposal would eliminate two million US jobs.  Not to worry, though; those displaced workers would get hired into...other insurance roles, or something:


This makes no sense, as does Bernie Sanders' wild stab at spinning away the same problem.   She's running on a platform of outlawing private insurance, actively eliminating millions of jobs, and furnishing illegal immigrants with taxpayer-funded health coverage.  I'll leave you with a reminder that even the 'moderate' Democrats want a single-payer regime.  They just prefer to explore avenues that allow them to pretend otherwise for longer, hopefully incurring less immediate political wrath along the way:

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The so-called "public option" is explicitly designed to bring about single-payer, and it would cause widespread disruption by uprooting tens of millions of workers from their preferred existing coverage.  And in case you missed it earlier, it's been a difficult few days for the Senator from Massachusetts:

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