Vox Media – as in Vox Media, the left-leaning outlet more prone to defending far-out liberal ideas than debunking them – ran a brilliant piece Tuesday criticizing Democratic socialists’ plan to put us all in the poorhouse with their free-everything-for-all agenda, putting the total estimated cost of Bernie Sanders & Co's to-do list at roughly $42.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
While socialists’ platform of handing out free drinks to everyone in the crowd might sound good to some, Vox’s Brian Riedl points out the bar tab would be pretty hefty, to say the least. He writes:
However, the democratic socialist agenda will face resistance not only from other lawmakers but from basic math. Their promises, which include free college, a single-payer health care system, guaranteed jobs, and more, would require astonishingly high expenditures that would cause the federal deficit to skyrocket. Once the costs become clear, most mainstream politicians and voters will surely balk. Making big promises is one thing; paying for them is another.
Pulling from government data and studies primarily from liberal and libertarian-leaning institutions -- i.e., using the left's own math -- Riedl then goes through the painstaking process of tallying up the grocery list attached to Democratic socialists’ plan, including (but not limited to) things like free college, universal health care, a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave and Social Security expansion. He then weighs the added costs of all this stuff against the country’s increasing deficit, arriving at an absolutely staggering total.
Total cost: $42.5 trillion in new proposals over the next decade, on top of the $12.4 trillion baseline deficit.
And, Riedl adds, this doesn’t include several more vague socialist promises, like expanding free pre-k education and child care. Even still, the ramifications of an all-out government spending binge would be catastrophic.
What would be the effects of such an unprecedented spending binge? Federal spending, which typically ranges between 18 and 22 percent of GDP, would immediately soar past 40 percent of GDP on its way to nearly 50 percent within three decades. Including state and local government spending would push the total cost of government to 60 percent of GDP by that point — exceeding the current spending level of every country in Europe.
“Raising the final $34 trillion would require seizing roughly 100 percent of all corporate profits as well as 100 percent of all family wage income and pass-through business income above the thresholds of $90,000 (single) or $150,000 (married), and absurdly assuming they all continue working,” he said, adding the government would also have to implement an 87 percent national sales tax, throw on another 37 percent payroll tax, and tack on another 15 percent in personal income tax.
“Mix and match these tax policies and it still represents an unfathomable and impossible tax burden…Taxing the rich is not enough. America would need to match, or even surpass, Europe’s enormous tax burden on the middle class.”
Pretty promises of free stuff aside, the simple truth remains: you can't get blood out of a rock.
And you can't get infinite cash out of it, either.