Democratic presidential candidate and junior California Senator Kamala Harris wants voters to believe that she’ll be able to pay for her “Medicare for All” plan without raising taxes on the middle class. The problem is the numbers just don’t support her pledge.
In an interview with CNN’s Kyung Lah that aired Wednesday, Harris tried to avoid talking about how she’d pay for the socialist health care plan that she introduced alongside Bernie Sanders, but eventually said, “I mean, I’m not in support of middle class families paying more taxes for it.”
Later in the interview, Harris outright said that she believes “there are ways to pay for” her over $30 trillion-dollar proposal “without a middle class tax hike.”
She explained, “Part of it is going to have to be be about Wall Street paying more. It’s going to have to be about looking at what we tax in terms of financial services. That’s part of it. The other part of it is to understand that this is about an investment which will reap a great return on the investment. We can’t only look at this issue in terms of cost without thinking about benefit. The benefit to the American public will be that people will have access to health care that right now they cannot afford. And we are all paying a price for that.”
Here’s the problem with that. The health care plan put forward by Harris and fellow Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, Vt., would cost the federal government an additional estimated $32 trillion over 10 years. That’s $3.2 trillion per year on average.
Now, let’s talk about taxing the rich here. Just on the back of the napkin, that almost doubles the total operating cost of the whole federal government, which is already operating at an almost $1 trillion deficit for this year, according to the Treasury.
Also, in case anyone forgot, the United States is still over $22 trillion in debt, with no foreseeable correction to that in sight. And, as I pointed out at the introduction of President Trump’s most recent budget request, we can’t even address the debt problem by taxation alone, much less take on a massive new health care program.
Here’s why: According to numbers from October, the 585 billionaires in the U.S. have a combined net worth of about 3.1 trillion (less than a year of Medicare for All). And even if some socialist scion were to seize control and tax those billionaires for literally everything they were worth, we’d have enough revenue to make about a 14 percent dent in the national debt or fully fund a 4.75 trillion federal budget for 237.4 days (just under eight months).
It’s also important to keep in mind that 37.3 percent of the total tax burden is already carried by the top 1 percent of earners.
Taxing Wall Street sounds like an easy place to put the cost burden, and the suggestion makes for a good sound bite, but the “speculation tax” proposed by Bernie Sanders earlier this year would only raise $600 billion over a decade, according to estimates. It would have to be about 50 times as burdensome to cover a $32 trillion bill over the same time period.
There is, however, one other option to pay for socialist health care without putting the burden on the middle class taxpayers it supposedly seeks to help: Blow up the national debt and force our grandchildren to deal with the cost of yet another federal boondoggle.
Put simply, the math just doesn’t add up. At least Bernie Sanders admits that he’d have to raise taxes to pay for this plan.