The Democratic socialist darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is campaigning on such a wide array of social programs that even liberals interviewing her are pressing her on just how to pay for them. Among the programs on her platform are socialized medicine, free college, and free child care, among many others.
In July she appeared on Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show” and explained that she could raise $2 trillion towards her programs over the next decade by taxing the rich. That $2 trillion over 10 years would only fund her socialist programs for about six months, but she was lucky enough not to receive any push-back from Noah.
She’s had over a month to ponder how she’ll fund her socialist pipe dream and hasn’t made much progress. Again questioned on the economics of her ideas (at least one of which has bankrupted her former employer), Cortez appeared like a deer in headlights, this time on CNN of all places. “According to nonpartisan and left-leaning Tax Policy Center, the overall price tag is more than $40 trillion in the next decade. You recently said in an interview increasing taxes on the very wealthy, the increased corporate tax rate would make $2 trillion over the next 10 years. Where is the other $38 trillion going to come from?” host Jake Tapper asked.
Cortez dismissed the comment by stating that socialized medicine would actually save money, which is based on her misreading of a Mercatus Center study. Even if she were right that total health care spending would be lower under her plan, it would still require new taxation to redirect money previously going towards private insurance premiums to Uncle Sam. Why does she find it so hard to admit as much?
“Right. I get that. But the price tag for everything that you laid out in your campaign is $40 trillion over the next 10 years. I understand that Medicare for all would cost more to some wealthier people and to the government and to taxpayers, while also reducing individual health care expenditures. $40 trillion is quite a bit of money. And the taxes that you talked about raising to pay for this, to pay for your agenda, only count for two,” Tapper replied.
After another non-answer, Tapper threw in the towel, acknowledging that he guessed he “won’t get an answer for the other $38 trillion.”
Of course, it is entirely possible to fund the kind of social programs Cortez wants, and countries such as Sweden and Denmark already do. Why Cortez doesn’t point out that those countries have no trouble funding such generous welfare-state policies is because she’d have to admit that it would require taxing every American up to their eyeballs. The top tax bracket in Denmark is 60% (Sweden’s is 56%) and takes effect on income above only $60,000. Meanwhile, after workers receive their 40-or-so cents on the dollar due to confiscatory levels of taxation, both countries have a 25% national sales tax.
Are you willing to pay such a price for “free”? Given that Cortez can’t admit the reality of what it would take to fund her platform, I’d suspect she’s well aware the answer for most Americans is something along the line of “hell no.”