Monday, July 30, 2018

If You're Looking for Crazy, Don't Forget Bernie!

Before Evita Guevarra-Castro, when you talked about openly socialist idiots you always mentioned Bernie.  Don't forget Bernie!  He's still there and still talking nonsense.

Bernie released his plan for single payer, universal health services Medicare for All (like the failing British NHS) last September, and a George Mason University study released this week said the plan will cost taxpayers $32.6 Trillion dollars over 10 years.
Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for all" plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to a study by a university-based libertarian policy center. That's trillion with a "T."

The latest plan from the Vermont independent would require historic tax increases as government replaces what employers and consumers now pay for health care, according to the analysis being released Monday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia.
As I always say, these "over 10 years" numbers tend to be about as accurate as when someone asks you "pick a number"; go find an archive of your favorite news sources and see what they were saying 2018 would be like back in '08.  Nobody gets it right.  Plus, they tend to be constructed to favor spending by making it appear linear ("just 3.26 Trillion a year?") when it's cheaper at the start and more expensive at 10 years. 

The important point is that the US National Debt is $21.3 Trillion right now, and we're racking up debt every year.  It's true that we currently have the highest tax revenues in history, thanks to the tax cuts, but the projected FY 2018 deficit still adds $600 Billion to that debt.  The entire Federal Budget is officially $4.1 Trillion, adding this plan would cost 80% of that.  There is simply no way to get that $3.26 Trillion/year.

What Bernie says is laughable, or would be, if it wasn't so serious.
Sanders said that this plan could be paid for by a “6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers,” a “2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households,” and a progressive income tax rate that ranged from 37 percent on those earning $250,000 to 52 percent on anyone earning $10 million or more. He also proposed cutting tax deduction options for wealthy people and increasing taxes on inheritances for the wealthiest Americans.
This is either deliberately lying or economically illiterate, as you'd expect from a self-proclaimed socialist.  Anyone who has thought about it a moment knows that anything "paid by employers" is part of your pay.  If they're paying a “6.2 percent income-based health care premium”, that means they're not paying you that money.  Much like your social security contributions where you're told that you and your employer both pay half; in reality, their half is your money, too.  If you're self-employed, you know you pay that.  A tax that goes from 37% to 52% is guaranteed to result in forms of pay that aren't taxed as ordinary income (stock options, different types of non-monetary bonuses; we've seen these things before).  

That paragraph can be rewritten more honestly as: the plan could be paid for by an “8.4 percent income-based health care premium paid by all taxpayers”, and a penalty ranging from 37 percent on those earning $250,000 increasing to 52 percent for anyone earning $10 million or more.  Plus there will be an all out effort to screw over as many wealthy people as possible. 

Like I said three paragraphs ago, that's increasing federal spending by 80%.  Increasing income taxes by 8.4% ain't gonna cut it.  I don't think they could make their Wealth and Success penalties big enough.

There's only one way they can hope to pay for that: confiscatory taxes rates; tax hikes much bigger than 8.4%.  Since the top 50% of incomes pay over 97% of the tax revenues, such taxes will by necessity hit the middle class and higher the hardest.  That probably wouldn't work.  The Blaze piece on the Mercatus report includes this:
The study argued that a “doubling of all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan.”

The Mercatus study also speculated that this plan could also cut the amount of medical services offered to patients, since the payments awarded to providers would be cut “by more than 40 percent.”
The socialist magazine Jacobin cherry picked data from the Mercatus study that said Bernie's plan would save (an oddly specific) $2.054 trillion in national health expenditures.  Only they would think spending $32 trillion to save $2 trillion is a good idea.  As always, I don't think that's the only option here. 

Bernie at the podium, flanked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., left, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, supporters, and obligatory actor looking like a doctor.  Andrew Harnik / AP


  1. Where did Evita Guevarra-Castro come from?

    I found this post to be a bit of an eye opener:

    1. That's from Aesop at Raconteur Report. That piece has about a dozen names like that for her, and is really funny.

  2. This WOULD require doubling Federal taxes, and there would still be a deficit. At what point would it no longer be worth going to work, and sitting at home on the dole?

    1. We've arguably passed the tipping point now, where over 50% of the population doesn't pay federal taxes and about 30% profit from it.

      Last June, David Stockman (Reagan's old budget chief) said,

      "The income tax has been slashed so many times since 1981 that it’s no longer a broad based societal tax; it’s a kind of luxury tax on upper income salary earners and the small share of households which garner most of the capital income from dividends, interest payments and capital gains…"

      As more and more people get excused from Federal income tax (or make profit from it), the closer we get to the bottom income groups being able to vote to confiscate the wealthy's possessions.