The laundry list of left-wing programs touted by the expanding progressive wing of the Democratic Party just keeps growing. Also adding up: the trillions of dollars Democrats will have to come up with to fund their authoritarian adventures.
A study of "Medicare for all," the single-payer healthcare program designed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., estimated (under favorable assumptions) that it would cost $32.6 trillion over its first ten years. This estimate is likely lower than the actual projected cost, as the economists studying the system assumed that physicians and hospitals would accept a 40 percent cut in their reimbursement rate. In reality, this would probably result in a mass exodus of providers from the market as seen in France, where physicians take home about half of what American doctors earn.
The "Green New Deal," favored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., claims to combat climate change while banning nuclear power — our only currently feasible form of carbon-free energy — while initiating a federal jobs guarantee. A report from Power the Future prices the "Deal" at $49.109 trillion in the first decade that its enacted. The American Action Forum found that the regulatory and investment costs alone would come to $6.7 trillion.
[Related: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests 60, 70 percent tax rate for the rich to pay for 'Green New Deal']
And that "Free College" plan backed by Sanders, Harris, and fellow presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass ? That would cost taxpayers $47 billion per year, or half a trillion dollars per decade.
The few times journalists have actually asked the new socialist superstars of the Democratic Party how they actually plan on funding these projects, they've come up with a few variations of a fairly simple premise: make the 1 percent pay for it.
Warren wants a wealth tax on those with assets more than $50 million. It would raise $2.75 trillion over ten years, or about 1/16 of "Medicare for all."
Ocasio-Cortez wants to raise the top marginal income tax rate to 70 percent. The conservative Tax Foundation estimates it would accrue nearly $300 billion in a decade, and liberal economists for the Washington Post place the number closer to $700 billion per decade. But even by the Post's estimation, Ocasio-Cortez's tax would only pay for roughly two percent of "Medicare for all." (She also once cited cutting Pentagon waste to pay for single payer. Our entire defense budget is $600 billion annually. Eliminating it entirely to fund "Medicare for all" would cover about one-fifth of its costs.)
Sanders just released his estate tax plan, the "For the 99.8 Percent Act." It would raise $2.2 trillion, but, according to Sanders staffers, "over an unknown period of time, because it would only take effect once they die."
For posterity's sake, let's just say we took every member of the much reviled "1 percent," beginning with household incomes of nearly $400,000, took everything from them, and then locked them in the GULAG, how much could we fund then?
The nation's total net worth just passed the $100 trillion threshold. The much reviled one percent owns nearly 40 percent of that. So if you took all of their assets, you'd wind up with a one-time payment of a little less than $40 trillion. That's not even enough to cover the "Green New Deal," let alone free college, single payer. So then what?
Well, returns on capital far exceed returns on labor. None of these programs would grow the economy, and "Medicare for all" would shrink it in ways both intentional (by capping providers' prices) and unintentional. Considering that the 1 percent earns more than one-third of its income through capital gains, we can safely assume that investment, which alongside entrepreneurship and free trade is responsible for wealth creation, would see a significant decrease. As American entrepeneurship, investment, and medical research and development (responsible for most of the world's medical progress) ground to a halt, the world's overall economic engine would likely slow down and sputter. And all of the international single payer systems that currently depend on our pharmaceutical subsidies and technological advancement would likely see their healthcare systems collapse.
To quote the late and great Margaret Thatcher, the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.