Vox: Yup, even the Left’s math shows that democratic socialism will tax us into slavery

· August 7, 2018  
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With all they hype surrounding democratic socialism, it’s surprising that a left-wing publication like Vox would run an in-depth article proving socialism’s math is impossible, but it did.

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Brian Riedl wrote a great piece showing how Bernie Sanders’ and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s demands for free college, a single-payer health care system, guaranteed jobs, and other big-government programs “would require astonishingly high expenditures that would cause the federal deficit to skyrocket.”

Conservatives would say “no duh,” but the Left wants to believe, so Riedl goes through the cost estimates from nonpartisan and even left-wing political groups to show exactly what democratic socialism is asking us to pay for. Here’s a summary of costs spread out over the next decade:

  • Expanding Social Security like Bernie Sanders wants costs $188 billion.
  • 12 weeks of paid family leave costs $270 billion.
  • Sanders’ single-payer health care plan costs $32 trillion.
  • A more moderate version of Ocasio-Cortez’s and Senate Democrats’ guaranteed jobs plan will cost $6.8 trillion.
  • Senate Democrats’ infrastructure plan will cost $1 trillion.
  • Paying off student loan debt will cost $1.4 trillion.

The total cost, excluding other “vague promises” from the Left: “$42.5 trillion in new proposals over the next decade, on top of the $12.4 trillion baseline deficit.” And when you project these costs over 30 years and add the costs of Social Security, Medicare, and the interest on the debt, Democrats are demanding programs that will put federal spending at a whopping 50 percent of GDP.

“Including state and local government spending would push the total cost of government to 60 percent of GDP by that point — exceeding the current spending level of every country in Europe,” Riedl writes.

So how are the democratic socialists going to raise $42.5 trillion in the first decade of their policies? They would have to cut defense spending and pass impossibly large tax increases.

Under the most generous assumptions possible, liberal proposals would cut $8.5 trillion on the spending side. To begin with, state governments no longer burdened with health care costs would save $4.1 trillion, according to the Urban Institute. The popular leftist goal of slashing defense spending down to Europe’s target of 2 percent of GDP, for which there is no plausible blueprint, would nonetheless save $1.9 trillion if achieved, according to CBO data. Charitably assuming that the jobs guarantee would reduce antipoverty spending by one-quarter would save $2.5 trillion.

Paying for the remaining $34 trillion would require nearly doubling federal tax revenues (emphasis added).

To raise taxes to the levels required to pay for democratic socialism, the United States would have to:

  • Seize “roughly 100 percent of all corporate profits as well as 100 percent of all family wage income and pass-through business income above the thresholds of $90,000 (single) or $150,000 (married), and absurdly [assume] they all continue working.”
  • Pass a value-added tax at a rate of 87 percent.
  • Create a new payroll tax of 37 percent on top of the current 15.3 percent payroll tax.
  • Hike income taxes across the board by 15 percent to pay for current federal programs.

“Mix and match these tax policies and it still represents an unfathomable and impossible tax burden,” Riedl writes.

Go and read Riedl’s piece for yourself. Share it with your leftist friends.

Show them that democratic socialism is a mathematical fantasy that will irreparably destroy the economy.


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Author: Chris Pandolfo

Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.

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