If anything defines the modern-day progressives now dominating the Democratic presidential race, it’s an almost childlike faith in the ability of technocrats and bureaucrats — the Brain Trust, as H.L. Mencken labeled them — to diagnose, analyze and solve perceived problems by harnessing the benevolent power of the state.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat/socialist, has a particular affinity for this approach, gaining plaudits from fawning media cheerleaders for trotting out “plans” to overhaul various aspects of U.S. society, including the internet, Wall Street, corporate America and, of course, health care. Regarding the latter, Sen. Warren proposes a government takeover of American medicine, outlawing the private insurance that now covers 170 million men, women and children in favor of a system overseen by Beltway politicians and bureaucrats.
One of the many obvious questions regarding such a grandiose scheme: How to pay for it all? Last week, Sen. Warren finally opened the books on her road map to finance “free” health care. The details — which one liberal Wall Street Journal columnist described as a “suicide note” — expose the sheer fantasy of the notion that putting a cabal of deep-thinking leftist policy analysts in charge of the nation’s health care will result in an efficient, accessible and affordable system for consumers.
The numbers in Sen. Warren’s plan are astronomical, almost as if they’re intended to numb voters into sheer submission. The Democrat figures that her “Medicare for All” reform will cost $52 trillion over the next decade — which includes $20.5 trillion in new spending. She estimates this is “slightly” less than what the country would otherwise spend on health care over the same period. But the savings are largely illusory — accounting gimmicks dealing with provider payouts or cost shifting with states.
Sen. Warren also keeps digging deeper and deeper with the fantastical contention that her plan won’t require middle-class tax hikes. Instead, she says her administration would simply order businesses to begin paying the government the equivalent of their current health care costs, ignoring the fact that this is essentially a tax on employees. She also wants to generate $1.2 trillion by jacking up corporate taxes by 67 percent and proposes a new shakedown of the rich through a 1 percent tax on unrealized capital gains. That’s on top of her proposed 2 percent wealth tax on assets of more than $50 million and her “plan” to levy a 6 percent charge on assets of more than $1 billion. Count on all these revenue estimates to be exaggerated.
Keep in mind it was Sen. Warren who promised that the Obama administration’s nationalization of the student loan industry would save almost $80 billion. Taxpayers are now potentially on the hook for $1.5 trillion.
Notably, there is nothing in the Warren plan regarding the economic ramifications of her financing prescription. According to this fantasy scenario, all economic activity would remain static despite hefty new taxes on the wealthy and the largest bureaucratic expansion in the history of the nation. To hear her experts tell it, hospitals currently surviving on private insurance payments will simply carry on under the new order; doctors and medical providers will transition comfortably under their federal overlords; the millions of Americans toiling in the health insurance industry will seamlessly move into new employment — courtesy of an expanded federal program, no doubt. In reality, the Warren plan would likely trigger a recession that would dwarf the 2008 downturn.
None of this takes into consideration the senator’s trillion-dollar “plans” for free college tuition, free day care and the federalization of the U.S. energy industry through the Green New Deal.
Sen. Warren and her cohorts portray her agenda as bold and inventive. In fact, it’s nothing but warmed over collectivist gruel, a distasteful mixture of wishful thinking, envy, class warfare and central planning that would make P.T. Barnum gag.
Ironically, Sen. Warren is at the forefront of movement to pressure Facebook into censoring political speech under the guise of protecting the “truth.” The company has so far honorably resisted. But if it caves, the first content to be excised should be anything promoting the giant whopper that Sen. Warren can implement her health care pipe dream without imposing massive tax increases on Americans of all incomes and radically crippling the U.S. economy.