Hang Onto Your Wallets ... And Your Freedom | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Hang Onto Your Wallets ... And Your Freedom

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Listening to the Democratic presidential debates these past two days has been alarming.  Pandering to specific groups, the candidates are prepared to have the federal government cover the costs for a myriad of programs.  The New York Times wrote, “The Democrats’ two nights of debates showed that liberalism is on the march in the party.  All of the intellectual energy this week has been with the liberals, from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plans Wednesday and Mr. Sanders’s ideas Thursday night.”

The candidates promised to provide free government-run healthcare for everyone, including illegal aliens; free public college; free childcare services; cancelling all college debt and, breaking up major corporations.  They topped all of that off with a Green New Deal, new taxes, and more government regulations.  The Democrats have made socialism their number one priority and have thrown economic freedom, which made us into a wealthy and powerful country, into the trash can.

Particularly disturbing is how “Medicare for All,” introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and co-sponsored by presidential candidates Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); and, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), would work.  Private insurance, which according to a December 2018 Gallup poll has a quality rating of 80 percent in the U.S., would be eliminated.  Everyone would participate in the government-run plan, including seniors in the current Medicare fee-for-service and Medicare Advantage programs.

While only Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D-N.Y.) said they would eliminate private insurance, the others supported incremental ways to achieve universal, government-run healthcare.  For example, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, Ind.) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) called for ways to “buy” into a public plan while allowing private insurance to remain.  However, because a government-run plan will use taxpayer financing, price controls (and eventually rationing) to keep costs down, it will not be long before any kind of public option would crowd out private plans.

Sen Kamala Harris later walked-back her support for eliminating private insurance but, as the Daily Mail pointed out, this is not the first time she has done so.  In an interview in January 2019, she said it was time to move away from private insurance and then later said she meant the bureaucracy.  What is clear is that Sen. Harris understands the vulnerability of forcing everyone into a government-run plan, even if her competitors do not.

If the U.S. adopted a government-run healthcare system, it would not be long before our healthcare resembled what is found in other countries: long waits for medical procedures, limited access to innovative medicines, and denial of care.

How much would Medicare for All cost?  It’s been estimated it would cost the federal government at least $32 trillion over ten years according to two reports; a 2018 study by Charles Blahous at the Mercatus Center and a 2016 study by the Urban Institute.

Add that hefty sum to the other “free” stuff the Democratic candidates want to give away such as free public college that would cost $47 billion per year, forgiveness of student loans, currently at a level of $1.56 trillion, free childcare costing $70 billion per year, and the Green New Deal that could cost as much as $57 trillion over ten years (this amount is minus government-run healthcare included in the bill.)

Add all of this to the current $22 trillion debt and you are talking about some real money.  How will all of it be paid for?

Your taxes would go up -- a lot.  Sen. Sanders has called for a tax on Wall Street and admits the middle class would see a tax increase under his plan.  Mayor Bill DeBlasio (D-New York, NY) has called for a 70 percent tax rate on the wealthy, which are usually the entrepreneurs that create jobs.  Venture for America Founder Andrew Yang called for a value added tax (VAT) of about $800 billion a year.  A VAT is a consumption tax levied on products at every point of sale where value has been added, starting from raw materials to the final retail purchase.  Europeans use a VAT, which ranges from 7.7 percent to 25 percent depending on the country (average of 21 percent) to pay for all their “free” stuff.

The bottom line is if any of the candidates became president and implemented their ideas, America would change drastically.  The federal government would control a large portion of how we conduct our individual lives, most importantly our health.  That should make all of us scared.

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