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What’s really obstructing left-wing dreams - The Washington Post
"But the left’s base doesn’t want to hear about taxing itself. So left-wing policy analysts are forced to fund every proposal with the same few pieces of high-income tax capacity — eliminating the cap on Social Security taxes and raising the top marginal income-tax rates on high earners. Together, some of these proposals come close to confiscating every dollar that these people earn above the level of the next-lowest quintile. But perhaps you, budding socialist, see that as a feature rather than a political disaster. The question remains: After you’ve taken this money to pay for Medicare-for-All, what do you do for an encore? You cannot spend this money on Medicare-for-All and free college and expanding Social Security and a universal basic income or a job guarantee. Until the left acknowledges that the welfare state they want means ordinary people sacrificing a great deal of current consumption, we are not going to have that welfare state."


"Notably, almost all the foreign programs that American social democrats envy were enacted during Europe’s long post-war economic and demographic boom. That meant that the initial cost of these systems was fairly low — young people don’t need much in the way of health care or pensions, and economies at full employment don’t spend a lot on unemployment insurance or job retraining. As incomes soared, it was comparatively easy for government to skim some of the surplus for their new social insurance schemes, because even as their taxes went up, workers still got to take more money home every week. Governments ran into problems when the boom stopped, of course, but by then, political sentiment had cemented those programs in place."


"What was easy in 1960 looks herculean as 2020 approaches. Economic growth has slowed, and populations are aging, which raises the cost of any proposed program and requires you to fund heavy losses on someone to fund it, either workers in those industries, or taxpayers. As psychologists tell us, people are 'loss averse' — they care much more about losing something they have than about equivalent potential gains. Given the mammoth cost of socializing the U.S. economy now, and the huge number of people who face substantial losses, I’d argue that we should probably change 'herculean' to 'impossible.'"
megan-mcardle  welfare-state  healthcare  taxes  government  politics  policy  social-democracy 
may 2018 by actualitems

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