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FACT CHECK: Will Lieawatha's Health Care Increase Middle-Class Taxes?

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Posted: Nov 06, 2019 2:15 PM

It’s an issue that’s gnawed at Senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign until she gave an answer in late October. I mean, it was just unsustainable to not answer it regarding her health care plan. It would be a massive undertaking, unrealistic really unless you think Monopoly money could be used, and she was getting hammered in the debates. Warren isn’t a moron. She saw what Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) did to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) in a mere 30 seconds. Gabbard ruined her, and now Harris' campaign is on the verge of death. Yet, even before Sen. Warren (D-MA) unveiled her plan to pay for her forced Medicare adventure, we all knew it was going to be shredded for its incredulous claim that middle-class taxes won’t be raised. 

So, yeah, I can see why some people are saying that she can’t really reveal any details about her health care proposal, which her supporters reportedly view as “savvy” politics. But it goes deeper because this action item is too expensive, and her other ideas can be buried at Wounded Knee for being unconstitutional. Michael Graham at InsideSources has more (via InsideSources):

Most political pros see “how will you pay for your government program” as Journalism 101. But for Warren, it doesn’t matter either way. She’s not answering the question because she doesn’t have to. In fact, not answering fits in with her overall campaign strategy: Promise progressives everything they want today, and worry about the details later.

Shutting down the entire private healthcare system and its millions of jobs while simultaneously putting 320 million Americans on a single government system may be a brilliant idea or a bad one. But making it happen in four years is virtually impossible. Even if a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate agreed to pass the legislation (also extremely unlikely), the court challenges and bureaucratic obstacles would take years to resolve.

Progressives want it, Warren is promising it, but no serious observers believe it’s going to actually happen.

The same with Warren’s $189 billion a year wealth tax. Economists debate its value as an economic policy and dispute Warren’s revenue projections — why wouldn’t America’s wealthiest families simply move rather than pay billions in new taxes on their assets? But tax experts and attorneys already see a bigger problem: her wealth tax is almost certainly unconstitutional.

As Richard Epstein, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University points out, Warren’s tax is an “unconstitutional wealth grab” that violates the prohibition of direct taxation. “Nothing whatsoever in the history of American law supports the unprecedented and punitive Warren wealth tax,” he writes.

“It is clearly a direct tax – period – which means that it has to satisfy the [Constitution’s] apportionment requirement,” tax expert Louis Vlahos of Farrel Fritz said in Forbes. 

But once again, her progressive base loves this assault on the “millionaires and billionaires,” so she promises to do it–with no mention of the decades of litigation that would certainly follow.

As Graham put it, progressives don't care about the tab. They care about Warren being serious about moving this country closer to Leninism. Now, she finally relented and offered some details about her new health care agenda, which will trash the economy. But before we get into all that, let’s go over the projections and nonsense about this health care proposal that has become the albatross around Warren’s neck. Take a few minutes, grab a glass of bourbon, and maybe take a few hits of the peace pipe.

Lady, This Is a 'Yes' or 'No' Question

We all knew the answer. But Journalism 101 was on full display during the October debate when one of the moderators, Marc Lacey, national editor of The New York Times, pitched the question about whether middle-class taxes will go up under Warren's health care proposal. It was a simple yes or no question. There was no riddle to this. It was not an enigma.

Yeah, Warren tried to pass herself off as a Cherokee Indian, and now she’s trying to hijack a proposal that Sen. Bernie Sanders has championed from his earliest days in public life. That’s a whole other matter, but this was Warren's response (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:

MARC LACEY: Senator Warren, we've proposed -- you've proposed some sweeping plans, free public college, free universal childcare, eliminating most Americans' college debt. And you've said how you're going to pay for those plans. But you have not specified how you're going to pay for the most expensive plan, Medicare for all. Will you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for it, yes or no?

ELIZABETH WARREN: So I have made clear what my principles are here, and that is costs will go up for the wealthy and for big corporations, and for hard-working middle-class families, costs will go down. You know, the way I see this is, I have been out all around this country. I've done 140 town halls now, been to 27 states and Puerto Rico. Shoot, I've done 70,000 selfies, which must be the new measure of democracy.

And this gives people a chance to come up and talk to me directly. So I have talked with the family, the mom and dad whose daughter's been diagnosed with cancer. I have talked to the young woman whose mother has just been diagnosed with diabetes. I've talked to the young man who has MS.

And here's the thing about all of them. They all had great health insurance right at the beginning. But then they found out when they really needed it, when the costs went up, that the insurance company pulled the rug out from underneath them and they were left with nothing.

Look, the way I see this, it is hard enough to get a diagnosis that your child has cancer, to think about the changes in your family if your mom has diabetes, or what it means for your life going forward if you've been diagnosed with MS. But what you shouldn't have to worry about is how you're going to pay for your health care after that.

LACEY: Senator Warren, to be clear, Senator Sanders acknowledges he's going to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for all. You've endorsed his plan. Should you acknowledge it, too?

WARREN: So the way I see this, it is about what kinds of costs middle-class families are going to face. So let me be clear on this. Costs will go up for the wealthy. They will go up for big corporations. And for middle-class families, they will go down. I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle-class families.

Oh My...It's Going to Cost How Much? You'll Need Another Hit of the Peace Pipe for This

Before we get into Warren's actual proposal, let’s take a look at what she has said thus far, which is the mother of all political prevarications. Costs for the wealthy will go up with her health care plan but will go down for the middle class. I have a new bulletin for Warren: the American voter is not that stupid, and they know when a deal is too good to be true. This Medicare for All proposal, which is socialized medicine, is a popular entrée among the elite and the professional classes that dominate the Democratic Party’s bastions of power. It's not popular once voters realize for it to work, taxes have to go up for everyone and private health insurance will have to be totally obliterated. That’s around 150 million health care plans that will be nixed. For all the Democratic fear tactics of ‘the GOP is gunning for your health care,’ well, it looks like Democrats decided to take that mantle while adding their spin to it: we had to destroy your health care to save it

That’s why Warren is hiding and doesn’t want to give any smoke signals about this plan. It's a guaranteed election killer come 2020. It’s the epitome of taking people’s stuff, which we all know is a total loser when it comes to political messaging. So, she’ll dance around, beg us to take a puff of the peace pipe, and hope we’ll smoke ourselves into a stupor over her expensive, tax heavy health care proposal that will dole out sub-par care. 

Forget the free college tuition proposals, the Green New Deal, the federal jobs guarantee, and other pie-in-the-sky ideas that are being taken seriously in this debate among Democrats. This forced Medicare option will cost at least $32 trillion over the next decade. The Urban Institute and the Commonwealth Fund were quite clear in their study: we’re going to need an additional $32.01 trillion to pay for this piece of Leninist policy. And no one with cognitive function thinks that the wealthy, also known as the job-creating and investing class, can foot the entire bill. The New York Times analyzed Medicare for All, and even it said that taxation is the most “obvious” way to boost revenue with “broad tax increases that are likely to be partly borne by the middle class.” It’s painfully obvious that middle-class taxes will go up. They will have to go up, and employer-based plans, which are well-liked by voters, will have to go away. The debate among most in the 2020 Democratic top tier is not whether private health insurance should be buried at Wounded Knee, it's the timing to execute this campaign of socio-economic destruction on America’s working families for the sake of satisfying the snobby, over-educated elites that infest the Democratic Party. The sheer cost of this plan had the writing on the wall in terms of burden (via The Atlantic):

The Urban Institute, a center-left think tank highly respected among Democrats, is projecting that a plan similar to what Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders are pushing would require $34 trillion in additional federal spending over its first decade in operation. That’s more than the federal government’s total cost over the coming decade for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined, according to the most recent Congressional Budget Office projections.

[…]

Even if families would eventually save under a single-payer system, a President Warren would still need to identify a politically plausible funding plan to pass such a program through Congress. By all indications, that looms as an extremely daunting project.

The new Urban Institute study helps define the magnitude of the task Warren (or Sanders) would face. The think tank modeled the costs of eight possible plans to expand health-care coverage that generally track ideas from the Democratic presidential candidates. By far, the most expensive was its version of the single-payer plan that Sanders introduced in the Senate and that Warren later endorsed: a blueprint that would eliminate private health insurance, require no co-pays or premiums from individuals, and provide everyone in the United States (including undocumented immigrants) an expansive benefits package including dental, vision, and home health care.

The 10-year cost of $34 trillion that the study forecasts nearly matches the CBO’s estimate of how much money the federal government will spend over that period not only on all entitlement programs, but also on all federal income support, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Former Vice President Joe Biden said incorrectly at the debate that the single-payer plan would cost more annually than the total existing federal budget—it would cost less. (The CBO says Washington will spend about $4.6 trillion in 2020.) But over the next decade, the plan on its own would represent a nearly 60 percent increase in total expected federal spending, from national defense to interest on the national debt, according to CBO projections.

[…]

How big a lift is it to raise $32 trillion? It’s almost 50 percent more than the total revenue the CBO projects Washington will collect from the personal income tax over the next decade (about $23.3 trillion). It’s more than double the amount the CBO projects Washington will collect over the next decade from the payroll tax that funds Social Security and part of Medicare (about $15.4 trillion). A $32 trillion tax increase would represent just over two-thirds of the revenue the CBO projects the federal government will collect from all sources over the next decade (just over $46 trillion.)

The Fallout

So, you could see why there was no detailed plan from the Warren camp for how to pay for this mother of all socialist programs. Alas, she decided to unveil one anyway, and it’s, uh, just as ridiculous as you’d expect. Businesses and the wealthy will be hit with $20.5 trillion in new taxes (via NYT):

Senator Elizabeth Warren … revealed her plan to pay for an expansive transformation of the nation’s health care system, proposing huge tax increases on businesses and wealthy Americans to help cover $20.5 trillion in new federal spending.

The plan represents a significant bet that enough voters will favor an approach that dismantles the current system and replaces it with “Medicare for all,” a government-run health insurance program. And it comes after decades in which Democrats have largely tiptoed around policy proposals that relied on major tax increases and Republicans ran on tax cuts.

While the proposal allows Ms. Warren to say she is not raising taxes on the middle class, it opened her to renewed charges that her plan is too radical to pass through Congress. It represents an extraordinary embrace of the tax system to redistribute wealth and re-engineer one of the pillars of the American economy, with measures that would double her proposed wealth tax on billionaires and impose new levies on investment gains and even stock trades.

Okay, The New York Times, are you on crack? Just because she has some quack math put out there that spares the middle class from tax increases doesn’t mean that question has been answered and the fallout neutralized. For goodness sake, why is it going to be hard to get it through Congress? Besides a host of other reasons, it’s because it will require a tax increase on the middle class. It’s total garbage. It’s a $52 trillion health care plan. Anyone who thinks that no taxes for the middle or working classes will go up is insane (via CNBC):

In a new outline, Warren’s campaign said her single-payer health plan would cost the country “just under” $52 trillion over a decade, which includes $20.5 trillion in new federal spending. It estimates the proposal would cost just less than the estimated $52 trillion in spending for the current system over 10 years.

[…]

In response to Warren’s plan, Biden campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield accused the Warren campaign of using “mathematical gymnastics” to hide that “it’s impossible to pay for Medicare for All without middle-class tax increases.”

And you can bet the reservation that this will come up again and again because everyone knows this is pie-in-the-sky nonsense. Even with a Democratic Congress, I doubt this will get 60 votes in the Senate. In a divided Congress, this plan is dead on arrival. These folks know the price tag, and the method of payment isn’t popular, and the fallout would be politically unsurvivable. Again, we’re talking about the end of private health insurance, which impacts a lot of Democrats, especially labor unions. And when you tell voters that dirty secret that’s on top of the pile of garbage that is Warren’s math for how to pay for all this, the plan is brutally scalped (via NBC News) [emphasis mine]:

The public is divided over a single-payer health care system, with 47 percent favoring such an approach and 46 percent opposing it.

But when supporters are told that all health care costs would be covered under a single-payer system — but that it would eliminate employer plans and that there would be only one government plan — the numbers move to 36 percent favor, 55 percent oppose.

Conclusions

It’s socialist healthcare. Period. And the very people the Democrats say they’re champions for will be screwed the hardest to satisfy their Karl Marx fantasy. We all know the answer, and so do a lot of Democrats. So, let’s keep the powder dry and let Biden, Buttigieg, and others rip this idea apart before we sink our claws into Warren. If she thinks she’s facing pressure, wait until Donald Trump goes full-court press should she become the Democratic nominee. 

To America’s middle class, the Democrats will boost your taxes big league to pay for a health care proposal that is not only significantly worse, but also ruinously expensive. Veterans Affairs has a similar system. How have veterans faired? Exactly. Not good—now expand that to all 50 states. Warren knows she’ll get scalped for telling the truth, so she’ll keep repeating the ‘wealthy costs up, middle-class costs down’ line like Frankenstein’s monster. Not the best look for a party so desperate to beat Trump in 2020. 

We all knew what the rating would be, and now, with Warren’s math on forced Medicare, it’s official. The claim that no middle-class taxes will go up in her lust to make America into a den of Leninism is total and complete garbage.