Left Scared Warren’s Medicare for All Plan Will Alienate Swing State Voters
“You don’t win with a message of socialism in a swing state like Florida.”
2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has insisted her Medicare for All plan, estimated at $20.5 trillion, will only raise taxes on billionaires.
Her plan shows otherwise, which has led to people on the left criticizing the plan. Others have shown fear Warren could alienate voters in swing states.
From The New York Times (emphasis mine):
But that is not what she proposed on Friday. Ms. Warren’s plan for Medicare for all, which calls for $20.5 trillion in new federal spending over a decade, would be financed through a mix of sources, including taxes on businesses and $3 trillion in total from two proposals to tax wealthy Americans.
One of those measures would steepen her proposed wealth tax on net worth above $1 billion. But the other — accounting for $2 trillion of the $3 trillion total — would go far beyond billionaires. For the top 1 percent of households, Ms. Warren would increase taxes on investment gains. She would put in place a new system in which capital gains are taxed annually instead of when investments are sold, and she would raise the tax rate on capital gains to be the same as on ordinary income like wages.
Warren’s spokeswoman claimed the candidate referred “to her wealth tax proposal when she said taxes would increase only for billionaires.” In other words, only the top 1% of the country will witness a tax raise.
Warren refuses to name the top 1%. That could be because the top 1% includes those who have income above $515,000, according to 1.4 million tax returns in 2017.
America only has 607 billionaires.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield explained the plan would affect non-billionaires due to “a tax on employers that is similar to what they are currently spending on their employees’ health care, and a tax on financial transactions like stock trades.”
(I have this crazy idea. Why don’t we leave the system alone?)
I know we have all pushed Warren to release her payment plan for Medicare for All, but even with all the “math,” it remains unclear.
Warren refuses to accept the fact that us regular people can read between the lines and know our taxes will go up.
Warren’s rivals have attacked her, but I think it’s more important to address the concerns from those about swing states.
Earlier today I blogged that President Donald Trump leads Warren in six swing states except for North Carolina.
That poll did not include Colorado, but it has become a swing state. Colorado State House Rep. Bri Buentello has dreaded the election due to Warren’s plan:
“This is going to cause down-ballot damage in swing districts and states if she’s the nominee,” Buentello says, describing how her Pueblo-area constituents — who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2016 — were already echoing criticisms about a giant, one-size-fits-all big government run plan that cancels private health insurance and raises taxes.
“This is an idea that’s dreamed up in big, urban rich states like Massachusetts and they expect them to go over well in places like Colorado and they don’t,” Buentello said. “The Denver suburbs won’t be in Democratic control forever, and this makes it harder for us to keep.”
Buentello is not alone. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has described “Medicare for All as a ‘terrible mistake.’” The culinary workers union in Nevada does not like the idea.
Warren does not even have support from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “I’m not a big fan of Medicare for All.”
Those who worked on past campaigns also worry about “swing districts in the swing states” they need to win electoral votes:
“The fundamental challenge Senator Warren has in selling her plans across the country is that Medicare for All, while popular in largely urban coastal areas, does not share the same appeal in the middle of the country, particularly in the areas where people largely have health insurance and are mostly satisfied,” said Bill Burton, a former spokesman for President Obama’s campaign and the founder of a super PAC that supported his reelection, who also briefly worked for billionaire Howard Schultz’s brief 2020 presidential campaign.
“When you look at the counties that President Obama and President Trump won, you see rates of health insurance in the 90-95% range, so she’s potentially solving a problem that many of these voters may not share these views on,” Burton said.
Former Democratic Florida Senator and Biden surrogate put it bluntly: “You don’t win with a message of socialism in a swing state like Florida.”
Now let’s look at Warren’s rivals. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) believes his plan is more progressive. Sanders has railed against Warren because he has at least admitted taxes on the middle class will go up to fund his Medicare for All plan:
“I think the approach that we have, in fact, will be much more progressive in terms of protecting the financial well-being of middle income families,” Sen. Bernie Sanders told ABC News on Saturday, alleging that Warren’s proposal could have a “very negative impact” on middle-class job creation.
“I think we have a better way, which is a 7.5-percent payroll tax, which is far more I think progressive, because it’ll not impact employers of low wage workers but hit significantly employers of upper income people,” added Sanders, who last week told CNBC’s John Harwood that he would not release a plan outlining how to pay for his proposal.
To justify his middle-class tax raise, Sanders promised lower health care costs.
Biden, who has made an effort to reach the middle, also criticized Warren’s plan over the weekend:
“She’s making it up,” Biden said in an interview with PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff.
“Look, nobody thinks it’s 20 trillion dollars,” Biden said, adding that studies have shown the cost was more likely to be “between 30 and 40 trillion dollars.”
The former vice president said in contrast, his plan to strengthen the Affordable Care Act with a public option would cost $750 billion over a decade.
“We can pay for that,” Biden said, “and it can be done now. Not in four years. Not in eight years. Not in ten years.”
Biden knows the plan will have a hard time getting through Congress, even if the Democrats control both chambers.