Democratic Socialism: Who Knew That 'Free' Could Cost So Much?

Nov 2012
1,168
708
Missouri
8/08/2018

Socialism: Since the Democratic Party took a turn for the worse toward so-called democratic socialism, the party's leading lights have laid the promises on pretty thick. Free Medicare for all! Guaranteed income! Guaranteed jobs! Subsidized housing! Free college! Universal pre-school! Wow, and all for free.

Well, not exactly. In a devastating piece that appeared on the left-of-center web site Vox (to its credit), Manhattan Institute fellow Brian Riedl went through the simple math of what free actually costs. It's a lot.

It's not just the free aspect, but the fact that the democratic socialists have made so many promises that must be paid for that will make it so tough to swallow for most voters.

Riedl looked at the 10-year costs of all the various promises made by Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other self-described democratic socialists. He was as generous as could be in his estimates, often accepting the democratic socialists' cost estimate even when it was patently and absurdly too low. It's quite a laundry-list of promises with enormous costs:

"Free college" ($807 billion); Social Security expansion ($188 billion); single-payer health care ($32 trillion); guaranteed jobs at $15 per hour plus benefits ($6.8 trillion); infrastructure ($1 trillion); student loan debt forgiveness ($1.4 trillion).

Net cost: about $42.5 trillion over 10 years, give or take a few hundred billion. To paraphrase the late, great Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen: "A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

As it is, current federal estimates expect about $44 trillion in tax revenues over that same period, with a deficit of roughly $12.4 trillion. Remember: All this democratic socialist spending comes on top of what we're already spending.
Long-term, the fiscal picture grows progressively (forgive the term) worse.

"The 30-year projected tab for these programs is even more staggering," wrote Riedl. "New proposals costing $218 trillion, on top of an $84 trillion baseline deficit driven by Social Security, Medicare and the resulting interest costs."

Today, Riedl notes, total federal spending typically swings between 18% and 22% of GDP. But with the democratic socialist agenda in place, it "would immediately soar past 40% of GDP on its way to nearly 50% within three decades." If you include state and local government, the total cost for this federal fantasia would equal 60% of GDP — more than any country in Europe.

Even after massive cuts in other programs, such as slashing defense by half, or adding in phantom savings from supposed cuts in state health spending and anti-poverty programs, you still come up $34 trillion short over 10 years.

To raise $34 trillion, Riedl calculates, would require "seizing roughly 100% of all corporate profits as well as 100% of all family wage income and pass-though business income above the thresholds of $90,000 (single) or $150,000 (married), and absurdly assuming they all continue working."

Or, he said, you could go to a VAT tax — a national sales tax on all goods and services. But it would have to be huge: a tax of 87% on everything you buy. Oh, and by the way, that still doesn't pay for the $12.4 trillion deficit that's already estimated and that we discussed above. So you'd need even more taxes.

Those number are scary enough. But we're not even raising the issues of: a.) massive cost overruns in these programs, which are inevitable; or, b.), whether these programs will work as described or instead end up ruining our free-market economy.

Not surprisingly, in public socialists say they won't ruin free-market capitalism. They'll save it!
Wrong again. As Meagan Day, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, wrote (also in Vox): "Here's the truth: In the long run, democratic socialists want to end capitalism. And we want to do that by pursuing a reform agenda today in an effort to revive a politics focused on class hierarchy and inequality in the United States."

Americans should know that these are the very ideas that have destroyed the economies of the USSR, Cuba, Nicaragua, most of Africa, North Korea and, as we're now seeing, Venezuela. And they're not "democratic" at all. They're just socialism.

Danger: Socialism Ahead
The bigger point is, these utopian ideas are not fiscally sane. And we mean that literally. They are a bizarre fantasy that should be discarded immediately by any reasonable person interested in an economically prosperous future.

That some believe that replacing capitalism with socialism makes you better off shows the profound failure of our nation's education system. Because it's something that has never happened in the history of mankind. And young people, who are among socialism's most ardent fans, don't seem to even know this.

The great economist, social thinker and professor Walter Williams recently summed up the struggle between capitalism and socialism: "Capitalism doesn't do well in popularity polls, despite the fact that it has eliminated many of mankind's worst problems, such as pestilence and gross hunger and poverty."

To vote for socialism is to vote for national bankruptcy, a loss of freedom, a lower standard of living and an end to innovation. And be forewarned: As Venezuelans, Zimbabweans and Nicaraguans are now discovering, once socialists control things, they never give up power peacefully.



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Democratic Socialism: Who Knew That 'Free' Could Cost So Much?
Since the Democrats veered toward democratic socialism, party leaders have promised lots of 'free' stuff. What they don't say is that the price tag for all these promises would be enormous.
 
Jun 2018
1,153
403
Toronto
"single-payer health care ($32 trillion);"
^That's complete and utter BS. In europe many countries have full single payer health care with a fraction of that cost. You are just getting ripped off by the current system of unlimited/unrestricted pricing for everything health care related.
 
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Jun 2018
6,704
1,559
South Dakota
"single-payer health care ($32 trillion);"
^That's complete and utter BS. In europe many countries have full single payer health care with a fraction of that cost. You are just getting ripped off by the current system of unlimited/unrestricted pricing for everything health care related.
Actually your statement is BS. The European countries you seem to love are smaller than many of our states. They are living off the money we contribute to NATO, The UN, a huge trade deficit and a lopsided tariff system. The US is the cash cow that they live on. Head on over there and see how you ake out, with Gas at $15 gal and income taxes at 60+%.
We need to fix the cost structure of our system but we need to do it without reducing health care level of service and effectivness to the level of the European countries.
 
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RNG

Forum Staff
Apr 2013
40,276
28,140
La La Land North
Actually your statement is BS. The European countries you seem to love are smaller than many of our states. They are living off the money we contribute to NATO, The UN, a huge trade deficit and a lopsided tariff system. The US is the cash cow that they live on. Head on over there and see how you ake out, with Gas at $15 gal and income taxes at 60+%.
We need to fix the cost structure of our system but we need to do it without reducing health care level of service and effectivness to the level of the European countries.
You really swallow Dotard's lies whole, don't you? The NATO contribution point is a joke. The trade deficit crap is too. But Dear Leader says it and you suspend your ability to think and believe it.

The size is a total red herring. If that is a concern, organize it at the state level or even divide up the populous states.
 
Jun 2018
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South Dakota
Another utter and complete BS.
When all the NATO countries are paying their agreed on % of GDP and stop spending their military budget on social programs instead of defense thus relying on the US contrib to build their actual defense, then I'll agree that they are carrying their agreed on share. The war's been over for 70+ years, they should be able to stand on their own. When the US is no longer their cash cow we'll see how their socialist system hold up.
 
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Jun 2018
1,153
403
Toronto
When all the NATO countries are paying their agreed on % of GDP and stop spending their military budget on social programs instead of defense thus relying on the US contrib to build their actual defense, then I'll agree that they are carrying their agreed on share. The war's been over for 70+ years, they should be able to stand on their own. When the US is no longer their cash cow we'll see how their socialist system hold up.
The density of the average american right winger approaches warp speed! Most of your military budget is spent on Israel's wars in the middle east. Simple as that. It doesn't have anything to do with NATO.
 
Dec 2015
18,944
18,464
Arizona
This is intriguing. The Democratic Party (as far as I recall) has rarely (if ever) advocated for FREE anything--well except for maybe Bernie and Alex and a few other oddballs....but you keep playing this fiddle and beating this same drum.
Medicare is not free. Social Security is not FREE. No one has a guaranteed job nor a guaranteed salary. In some areas, wages are going up, but remain closer to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Congress hasn't voted to raise the minimum wage in more than a decade. There is no free college education unless the student is the recipient of a scholarship or grant and even then some are restricted.
Just because candidates HOWL for all these things doesn't mean 1) the candidates will be elected--i.e. Ocasio-Cortez. 2)the majority want these 3) the U.S. has become a socialist state.
You people continue to tell blatant lies to anyone who will listen and unfortunately many have believed your lies. STOP. NOW. Present the facts and only the facts. Corporate America doesn't need any more "breaks". If you don't like the deficit talk to your party and your president and start complaining about ridiculous expenses like a military parade and a wall.
This is NOT a socialist country--not Venezuela so stop the stupid comparison. AND lastly, FREEDOM has never been free. Find another bumper sticker.
 
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May 2018
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