by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The bad news is, Elizabeth Warren has some barmy ideas about raising your taxes. The good news is, she’s a proven coward. She says she likes to “nerd out” on the policy details. Okay, let’s do that.
Warren estimates that her health-care scheme would cost about $2 trillion — every year, forever. As often is the case when we are talking about the federal budget, the numbers sound incomprehensible to many people: millions, billions, trillions, squidillions, whatever. To put that $2 trillion a year into perspective, a comparison: That is more money than the federal government collects annually in all of the personal and corporate income taxes combined. Put another way, even if the federal government were able to successfully double the revenue it gets from personal and corporate income taxes, the additional revenue would not pay for Warren’s health-care plan.
In fiscal year 2019, all federal tax revenue from all sources combined amounted to $3.4 trillion. If a Warren administration and a Democratic Congress were successful in raising Americans’ taxes by 50 percent, the extra revenue still wouldn’t be enough to fund Warren’s health-care program. …
… Writing at Slate, Jordan Weissmann describes Warren’s plan to pay for her health-care proposal as “not entirely realistic.” Indeed. And it is worth keeping in mind that all of the above relies on Warren’s own estimates of the cost of her program. Other analysts have put the number much higher — about 50 percent higher, in fact. If those estimates are closer to the truth, then paying for all this means doubling or more than doubling federal tax revenue.