Two days ago, I noted there had been little mention in the Democratic debates of the trillion-dollar deficits being run up by the Trump administration. That discussion finally started last night after moderator Abby Phillip asked Sen. Bernie Sanders how he would finance his proposals to double existing federal spending. Several candidates weighed in, offering insight into how their management of the federal budget would differ from one another, as well as with President Trump.
Sanders rejected the premise of the question and insisted that his Medicare-for-All plan would actually reduce total health-care spending in the United States. The reality, however, is that – despite embracing almost every tax hike imaginable – Sanders hasn’t come up with a credible plan to finance even half of the more than $50 trillion in additional spending he’s proposed over the next 10 years. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has made enacting a federal wealth tax one of the central pillars of her campaign, said that some of the revenue from this tax could be used to pay down the growing national debt.
The problem here is that Warren – like Sanders – has already pre-committed every dollar of her wealth tax (and other revenue proposals) to new spending. Major federal programs, including Social Security and Medicare, are facing growing shortfalls due to our ageing population and the Trump administration’s reckless tax-cut and spending policies. As a result, the next president will likely inherit a 10-year deficit of almost $17 trillion. How could Warren or Sanders hope to pay for the promises our government is already making after they’ve tapped every revenue source they conceivably can to pay for new spending?
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