The media’s (and the Republicans’) favorite new Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, had another embarrassing interview last week, this time failing to clear even the low bar of a predictably puffball interview with Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show.” When asked how she would pay for all the bloated government and federal freebies she wants to create, she had no answer other than reversing the tax cut and raising the corporate tax rate, which she estimates would raise $2 trillion in 10 years (even Bernie Sanders admits the “Medicare for All” harebrained scheme would cost $14 trillion over two years, and that $2 trillion figure doesn’t take into account the damage to the economy and lowered revenues all those new taxes would cause.)
RELATED READING: Correcting the record
Naturally, a number of leftist media figures are trying to perform their own version of Medicare by doing emergency foot extractions from Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s mouth. One who got a lot of attention was MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who tweeted with the confidence of the clueless, “I think a good answer for ‘How will you pay for your agenda?’ is ‘We're a very rich country. We'll figure it out.’" Imagine hearing similar reasoning from a surgeon AFTER he cuts into your chest, and that sums up what Democratic socialists want to do to America.
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit destroyed Hayes’ “reasoning” in one sentence by tweeting, “Venezuela was once a very rich country.” It was a swift and chilling reminder of how quickly nations’ fortunes can turn when the people are foolish enough to fall for the false promises of socialism. At the link, blogger Dan Mitchell takes up the baton and runs further with it, giving some examples of just how far and how fast a nation’s wealth can plummet once socialists get their paws on the levers of power. Venezuela is the most obvious current example, but hardly the only one.
As Margaret Thatcher famously noted, the big problem with socialism (but hardly the only one) is that sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money. These numbers show that no matter how rich your country is, the day of reckoning tends to arrive sooner than you expected. To paraphrase JFK, ask not what “Democratic” Socialism can do for you! Look at these charts and see for yourself.
I realized yesterday that in writing about the cost of everyone’s favorite crazy socialist uncle Bernie Sanders’, “Medicare For All” idea, I made a typo. I wrote that Bernie estimated that it would cost $14 trillion over two years, when I meant to write “ten years.”
Well, no sooner did I start correcting it than another story appeared that made me realize how little it mattered. This more detailed analysis by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University estimates that it would cost $32.6 trillion over the first ten years, and that’s a conservative estimate. By 2031, it would be eating up 12.7% of America’s GDP and require not only an exponential expansion of government but more than double our current taxes. Sanders claimed the report’s findings are biased and inaccurate, unlike the numbers being bandied about by the 76-year-old socialist who’s never held a successful job outside of government. His leftist supporters say that’s still slightly less than we would pay for health care anyway – of course, that's the cost people would pay for quality health care over which they have choice.
I’m not going to waste any pixels writing about which is more likely to be accurate, 14 trillion (enough dollars so that a jet flying at the speed of sound and reeling out a string of dollar bills behind it would have to fly for 196 years to expel it all) or 32.6 trillion (in miles, that's about the distance required to fly from the Earth to Uranus and back over 19,000 times.) That’s because there’s not a chance in a trillion that either of these estimates is remotely accurate. The estimated cost of any government program – particularly one based on creating a new right to “free stuff” for everyone – always turns out to be absurdly short of reality. When Medicare begin in 1966, experts assured us that by 1990, it would cost only $12 billion, adjusted for inflation. The actual cost in 1990: $107 billion. Medicare spending in 2016 reached $672.1 billion.
So if we’re being told now that “Medicare for All” will cost anywhere from $14 trillion to $32.6 trillion over 10 years, you can bet that the actual number will probably be one that only mathematicians know how to pronounce. It might be enough dollar bills to stretch to Uranus and back a trillion times. When it comes down to it, all these numbers are just being pulled out of Uranus. There’s only thing that can be said with absolute certainty about the cost of these massive new government giveaway proposals: we can’t afford them.