The debates made it clear that all the Democrat presidential candidates pretty much want the same things:
- Health care for illegals = $150 billion per year
- Medicare for all = +/- $2.5 trillion per year
- Free college = $150 billion per year
- Forgive student loans = $1.6 trillion
- Reparations = Cost unknown
- Guaranteed annual income = $500 billion to $1.5 trillion per year depending on which proposal
- And, at least “in principle,” A Green New Deal = +/- $4 trillion per year
As a whole, it’s not really worth taking seriously. An 80% tax rate on every income earner in the country would barely pay the aggregate costs — and even then for only one year because it would wreck the economy and there’d be few actual taxpayers left.
But even accepting a few of their more “realistic” plans, means accepting either a massive tax increase on families and companies, an intolerable new debt load, or some combination of both.
Most of the candidates were mum when it came to their expected means of paying these extravagant costs. Only Bernie produced a revenue plan that at least on paper allowed him to maintain a straight face in insisting his proposals were “paid for.” His schemes were both complex and silly as they utterly failed to account for the realities of capital flight and tax avoidance.
At least as interesting as what Democrat debaters talked about was what they failed to talk about.
They didn’t acknowledge the strength of the economy, the record number of jobs it’s created, or the fact that the gap between wealthy and poor is finally showing signs of closing for the first time in more than a decade. They completely failed to mention a single policy intended to keep the economy moving in the right direction - keeping job growth strong, helping grow the 401(k)s of working Americans, improving trade relations, rebuilding infrastructure, avoiding regulations that hurt job creators, or further improvements to the tax code.
In fact, about the only tax policy they discussed was rolling back President Trump’s tax cuts — arguably the main reason for our historic rate of job creation.
I heard nothing about how to protect our southern border, or, for that matter, how to address the devastating crisis that continues there. I heard nothing about how we’ll pay for the 12 million or so migrants who are already here illegally and receiving billions in healthcare, education, housing, and other benefits.
I did hear general platitudes about a “comprehensive immigration plan” multiple times, but no specifics about what was meant, what it would cost, or what group was supposed to pay the cost.
I also heard platitudes about American unity, solidarity with the United Nations, and the urgency to be a team player on the world stage. Again, no cogent interpretation of what that meant.
How does taking from one group, giving to another, and washing it all through a mega-government bureaucracy aid unity? How does our paying the costs for a corrupt United Nations intent on appeasing dictators, undermining human rights, and attacking U.S. sovereignty, promote international solidarity? How does our picking up an unfair bulk of NATO’s costs help create a “team” approach to western security?
Other things I didn’t hear include …
- A single peep about Social Security reform that averts the system’s impending insolvency by 2035;
- Any mention of balancing the federal budget or paying down our $22 trillion+ federal deficit;
- Any ideas to save Medicare from its 2026 expected bankruptcy;
- How we’ll cope with American dependence on Arab oil when Democrats shut down our domestic exploration and production;
- Whether they’ll insist other countries pay a fair share for the Paris Climate Accord they would force the U.S. to rejoin;
- Any word about making schools more accountable or competitive, or giving families any choice at all about where their children attend school;
- Even one utterance about vocational training for young people and adults who don’t want, or are unable, to attend college;
- Any semblance of regret, apology, or even acknowledgement that the Obama-Biden Justice Department and FBI unfairly and illegally launched an investigation into Trump supporters and staff intended to undermine his campaign;
- Or, any acknowledgement at all that the only “Russian collusion” anyone’s found was that on the part of Hillary Clinton when her campaign paid for a dossier filled with false allegations against Trump by Russian operatives.
The first round of debates are behind us (thank The Lord). We need to count the cost of what they said, and of what they didn’t say - and figure out who will pay it.