Did Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) learn economics at the University of Chicago or at Hogwarts? I’m only asking because his brand of oxymoronic “Democratic Socialism” seems less rooted in classic economic theory than in wand-pointing hocus-pocus. Sanders, along with 15 Democratic co-sponsors, recently introduced his single-payer, “Medicare-for-all” plan in the Senate, and it’s practically aglow with paranormal activity. Magic economics. Magic math. Magic solutions to America’s health care woes. It would be safer to hand over the U.S. health care system to Count von Count from Sesame Street — whose math may be simple, but at least it’s recognizable to muggles like me.
Sanders’ plan is similar to the one he touted on the campaign trail in 2016. The cost of that plan was estimated by the Urban Institute at $32 trillion over 10 years. So if you thought the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was unkind to Republican ideas on health care, get your popcorn ready, because Sanders’ bill is a veritable masterpiece of train-wreck economics! The average cost for the first decade breaks down to $3.2 trillion per year. To put that price tag in perspective, the CBO projects the federal government’s entire revenue for the 2017 fiscal year — every dime the fed will bring in — will be $3.3 trillion. Sanders could confiscate all the money from all the millionaires and billionaires in America, and it wouldn’t cover the price of this new entitlement.
Why do we need "Medicare-for-all?" According to the CBO, this year alone U.S. taxpayers will cover $705 billion in health care subsidies for children and adults under 65 who don't yet qualify for Medicare. I don't mind covering the bills of those who are struggling, but why do we have to subsidize the health care of the rich? In fact, every Sanders-generated idea begs this same question. Free college for all. Why? Why do taxpayers need to turn their pockets out to educate those who can afford it and those who could afford it 100 times over? The question is rhetorical, of course. Everyone knows it has zero to do with providing for the needy and everything to do with the government taking over and controlling entire industries.
What's concerning about the Sanders plan is not that it will pass. It won't. Frankly, if it stood a chance, it would have zero co-sponsors. This joyride on the Bernie bandwagon is the Democratic version of all those phony GOP repeal-Obamacare votes that were never destined to go anywhere beyond the White House dumpster. What's concerning is the willingness of Democrats to back teenager-with-a-black-Amex-card spending in hopes of inheriting the Bernie base. Consider the co-sponsors: Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — all potential 2020 presidential candidates. Of the remaining 10 co-sponsors, six are from states where Sanders won the Democratic primary, and the rest are from states where he garnered at least 46 percent of the Democratic primary vote.
When Sanders introduced a similar single-payer bill in 2013, it managed to attract zero co-sponsors. Back then, the idea was crawling with legislative cooties. No senators were willing to put their names on policy that would usurp an entire industry and wreck the country until it came with a shiny new voting base attached to it.
Fear. The. Bern. Because Sanders' band of populism is driven by the desires of a population who want their entire lives bought and paid for by the federal government. Free health care for all. Free education. Free everything. If conservatives are "science deniers" for not genuflecting every time a leftist utters the words "climate change," then it must follow that Bernie Sanders, his supporters, and his 15 new friends are economics deniers, math deniers, and comparative politics deniers.
We've seen this brand of magic economics destroy business, cripple innovation, empower government tyranny, create poverty, and ruin countries all over the world. Yet now we have 15 Democratic senators willing to put their names on it in a desperate attempt to add the Bernie base to their respective electoral coalitions.
Did Democrats learn nothing from their extreme lurch to the left that began in 2008 and has so far cost them the House, the Senate, the White House, the Supreme Court, and over a thousand seats in state legislatures? Do they believe giveaways, tax hikes, identity politics, and the great statue purge of 2017 is an investment that will suddenly pay huge electoral dividends? Is this the grand plan to win back independents and the middle class? If so, they must have taken their political science classes at Hogwarts, too.
Eddie Zipperer is an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College and a regular LifeZette contributor.
(photo credit, homepage image: Gage Skidmore/Acslaw1776, Flickr/Wikimedia; photo credit, article image: Lorie Shaull, Wikimedia)
Last Modified: September 18, 2017, 6:18 am