Who will pay for Bernie Sanders' plans?

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)I spent a good chunk of time doing the math to come up with a bottom-line figure for all of Bernie Sanders' proposals -- not just "Medicare for All" but the Green New Deal, free college, universal pre-K and child care, and so on. The total? An estimated $50 trillion. This week, he released fact sheets explaining how he'd pay for them -- or rather, how he'd raise $44 trillion in taxes to pay for them. Read more here about all of his plans. Take a look at the Medicare for All portion in the chart below. You'll see that some of the money comes from rolling back the 2017 Republican tax cuts, some comes from new taxes on the rich and some is from capital gains taxes. But some also comes from collecting money that employers and individuals currently pay to private insurers -- that is, trading premiums for higher taxes. Friendly assumptions. For this little experiment I gave him Medicare for All at the bargain basement price of $27 trillion -- current national health spending that would be ported over to federal spending -- over 10 years. That's a steep discount off an estimate from the Urban Institute and does not include $7 trillion in new national health spending. But whatever. The myth of Sanders' turnout boomSanders promises new voters. There's a great Ron Brownstein piece in which he fact-checks the Bernie Sanders claim that he'd squash Trump in 2020 by mobilizing turnout in an unprecedented way, building on a coalition of minority voters and bringing new people into the fold.Experts think turnout is going to be massive. "Experts in both parties believe that as many as 15 million to 20 million more people could turn out for this presidential race than the 139 million who voted in 2016."That would be the highest turnout among eligible voters in more than 100 years, since before women could vote.Even split. Nonvoters are pretty evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, according to studies Brownstein cites. Even if Sanders has a slight advantage, generally, among nonvoters, the nonvoters in Rust Belt states might skew more toward Trump.Appeal to swing voters. It's the same as it ever was. Sanders' campaign pollster, Ben Tulchin, tells Brownstein that Sanders can make, perhaps, a more convincing economic argument than other candidates to swing voters in swing states.Sanders' argument against Trump goes like this, Tulchin tells Brownstein:Rigged economy benefiting Trump: "Our case is Trump is a product of the rigged economy, he doesn't pay his workers fairly and he doesn't pay his fair share of taxes -- he takes that money and buys himself the presidency to give himself and his billionaire cronies a tax cut while trying to take away health care from working people.People are still "pissed off" by corrupt politicians. "Bernie can say I'm going to stand up for you: better wages, health care, lower prescription drug costs. And if we can prosecute that case -- what we see [is gains] with more downscale independent voters -- who get pissed off by corrupt politicians."Old Sanders audio vs. old Bloomberg audioPonzi scheme. CNN's Andrew Kaczynski, Em Steck and Nathan McDemott unearthed a bunch of old radio interviews of Michael Bloomberg, then a Republican mayor, talking about how Social Security was ultimately going to be insolvent and was essentially a Ponzi scheme.You can imagine he'd modulate that in this Democratic primary.Sanders is not mainstream. He's authentic. It's interesting, though, comparing these newly reconsidered old interviews (Sanders on Cuba and Bloomberg on so many things) and it underscores what Sanders has that the others do not: authenticity. And he keeps saying the same things today. Support for some literacy programs in authoritarian regimes? Sure! Other politicians modulate.What Sanders won't ever say. Truth-speaking has its limits. He will not admit that he cannot pass what he promises in the current political environment. He's authentic in his ideology, but not publicly realistic. Bloomberg is the opposite.Biden's problems won't be solved by one winCan't just win with black voters -- This South Carolina voter who talked to CNN's "New Day" explained, better than any pundit you'll see anywhere, why even if former Vice President Joe Biden wins on Saturday in his firewall state, he's still got huge problems:"I think a lot of people felt like ... he was a sure bet," says a black South Carolina voter about Joe Biden. "He was a unifier. Thus far he's been in two of the whitest places in the country and he's lost miserably."Watch it.One more note about Trump and coronavirusCNN's Marshall Cohen reports that Rush Limbaugh and right-wing fringe sites are attacking Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a top CDC official handling the coronavirus response, because she is Rod Rosenstein's sister. They're spreading the lie that she's part of the "deep state" and trying to tank the markets to weaken Trump.Truth is, she's a decorated expert in the field who has worked on public health issues for 25 years. Trump supporters often create far-flung theories to defend him and smear his perceived opponents, but the stakes are much higher when dealing with a deadly virus on the verge of a pandemic.What are we doing here?The American system of government has been challenged to deal with a singular President and a divided country that will decide whether he should get another four years in the White House. Stay tuned to this newsletter as we keep watch over the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential campaign and other issues of critical interest.

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