Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Free Stuff For Everyone

“Free health care for all” is the price tag for admission to the Democratic primary election race. Don’t even enter unless you are making that promise. Everyone agrees that it will cost $3.2 trillion per year to provide that, which is about what the government spends in total right now. That presents no problem, we are told, just raise taxes on rich people.

Individual income tax revenue in total, rich and poor, is currently about $1.78 trillion. The increase on the top rate to 70% as proposed by Ocasio-Cortez, by the most optimistic projection I can find, would increase that by $20.2 billion per year. That’s less than 1% of the amount needed to fund “free health care for all,” so we’re still $3 trillion short.

Corporate taxes are about $225 billion. Let’s double that tax, oh what the hell, let’s triple that corporate income tax and pretend it won’t harm the economy. We’re down to being $2.6 trillion short.

Elizabeth Warren claims that her wealth tax, even if it proves to be constitutional, will raise $2.3 trillion, but that’s in ten years, not one year, so we find ourselves still about $2.4 trillion short.

So “taxing the rich” pays barely one fourth the cost of “free health care for all,” and we haven’t touched yet on covering the cost of “free college education for everybody” and the “Green New Deal” that Democrats are promising.

A relatively sane Democrat will counter with the argument that taxing to cover the cost of “free health care” would cost less than paying health insurance premiums, copays and deductibles. The individual cost to cover the $2.4 trillion balance above would come to $8,125 per person, or $32,500 for a family of four. I’ll leave it to you to compare that to what you are paying now, but it certainly isn’t “free health care.”

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