What 'The Wall Street Journal' Gets Totally Wrong About Bernie Sanders' Agenda
 The Journal wants to shock and awe voters with big numbers, but Sanders’s proposals would save America big bucks.
What 'The Wall Street Journal' Gets Totally Wrong About Bernie Sanders' Agenda
By Joshua Holland / thenation.com
Sep 17, 2015

This week, The Wall Street Journal dropped a terrifyingly large number on Senator Bernie Sanders’s upstart campaign, warning that his proposals would carry a “price tag” of $18 trillion over a 10-year period. It’s a number designed to shock and awe and discourage voters from giving the social democrat’s ideas a close look.

But according to the very data cited by The Journal’s Laura Meckler, Sanders’s highly progressive proposals wouldn’t cost the United States a single penny, on net, over that 10-year window. In fact, they’d cost less, overall, than what we’d spend without them.

It’s not hard to understand why. The lion’s share of the “cost”—$15 trillion—would pay for opening up Medicare to Americans of all ages. (Meckler notes that Sanders hasn’t released a detailed proposal, so she relies on an analysis of HR 676, Representative John Conyers’s Medicare-for-all bill.)

Rather than cost us more as a society, this proposal would only shift spending from businesses and households to the federal government by replacing our current patchwork system of public and private insurance with a single, more efficient system of financing.

But it wouldn’t be a dollar-for-dollar transfer from the private to the public sector. According to Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who authored the analysis cited by the Journal, that transition would reduce American healthcare costs by almost $10 trillion over 10 years through economies of scale, better control of pharmaceutical costs, and savings on administrative bloat.

Friedman also projects that, as every American got coverage, we’d spend close to $5 trillion more on actual healthcare services. So we would get more healthcare and still end up saving around $5 billion on net. In other words, Sanders’s Medicare expansion would cost $15 trillion, but without it American businesses and taxpayers would spend $20 trillion over the same period, while still leaving millions uninsured.

This shows just how badly we get ripped off under our current system. And as Friedman writes at the Huffington Post, “The economic benefits from Senator Sander’s [sic] proposal would be even greater than these static estimates,” because they don’t factor in “the productivity boost coming from a more efficient health care system and a healthier population.”

So let’s look at the rest of the Journal’s terrifyingly socialist buffet of policies:

Fed_Funds_WSJ

As you can see, the $5 trillion we’d save on healthcare costs would more than cover the costs of the rest of Sanders’s agenda—offering tuition-free education at public colleges, expanding Social Security benefits, bolstering private pensions, repairing some of our aging infrastructure and establishing a fund to help cover paid family leave. That doesn’t seem so frightening after all.

If the study cited by the Journal is correct, all of those benefits would not only effectively cost us nothing, we’d still have $2 trillion left over to, say, cut federal deficits for the next ten years—something that should warm the hearts of fiscally conservative Wall Street Journal readers.

But the real challenge Sanders’s proposals present for theWall Street Journal crowd is ideological. In America, our taxes are quite low relative to other advanced countries, but we shell out dramatically more out-of-pocket for social goods like healthcare, education, and retirement. In fact, in 2009 (before Obamacare’s subsidies and Medicaid expansion kicked in), Americans spent almost four times as much as the citizens of other wealthy countries buying social goods on the private market. As a result, while we know that a big chunk of our paychecks are going to Uncle Sam, we don’t see the same kind of benefits coming back to us as people in the rest of the developed world do. And that disparity makes Americans receptive to the right’s anti-government rhetoric.

So this isn’t really about costs, because the government is more efficient than private enterprise in providing social insurance and higher education. If, in some alternate universe, Bernie Sanders were able to win the presidency and enact his proposals in their entirety, it would pose an existential threat to the conservative project to convince Americans that their tax dollars don’t buy much—that government is all about bloat and corruption and giving their hard-earned dollars to the undeserving poor.

Seen in that light, it’s no surprise that The Wall Street Journal would drop this kind of bunker-busting number-bomb on the gentleman from Vermont. 

4.0 ·
2
Trending Today
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 11,596 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
The Coming War on China
John Pilger · 5,753 views today · A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 4,647 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Murdoch and Trump, Sitting at the Tee, S-C-H-E-M-I-N-G
Frankie Boyle · 4,028 views today · Say what you like about Donald Trump but he's already done things people said were impossible, like made Twitter worse. Looking back, the Harambe situation is the closest...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 3,057 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
Thich Nhat Hanh: How We Can Learn to Love Our Enemies
5 min · 2,987 views today · This is a short excerpt from Peacemaking. I often think about this story when I think about the kind of activism I would like to bring into this world. I want to help build a...
I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
3 min · 2,498 views today · In his new film, director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished - a radical narration about race in America, using the writer's original words. He draws...
Simple Social Experiment Shows We Are More Than The Boxes People Put Us In
3 min · 2,480 views today · We live in a time where we are quick to put people in boxes. Maybe we have more in common than what we think?
What Would It Take to Stop the Raids?
CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective · 1,333 views today · Responding Effectively to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Attacks
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,246 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 1,147 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
The Charter For Compassion
2 min · 1,108 views today · The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,084 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 1,023 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 964 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Surviving Capitalist Depression
Michael Emero · 774 views today · We live in a toxic society filled with toxic people. Even the ones with the best hearts- including ourselves- have been raised in ignorance, with disinformation. Our examples...
Hans Rosling Brilliantly Explains Complexity of Population and Resource Issues Using Simple Tools
3 min · 560 views today · Let me show you the world, says Swedish academic Han Rosling as he demonstrates the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge...
"The Myth of Time" - Martin Luther King Jr.
3 min · 539 views today · Excerpt from MLK Jr.'s last sermon, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution". Delivered at The National Cathedral on March 31, 1968 (4 days prior to his...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 536 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 392 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
What 'The Wall Street Journal' Gets Totally Wrong About Bernie Sanders' Agenda