Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), while appearing in the January 25 Democratic debate, was quite open in expressing his Socialist solutions for America’s thorniest problems. As for taxes, when Sanders was asked whether they would rise under his administration, he said: “We will raise taxes. Yes we will.” While that sound bite made lots of headlines and had Sanders’ opponents shaking their heads, what he said next was equally in tune with his statist inclinations.
At the Des Moines, Iowa, event, Sanders argued in favor of his so-called “Medicare for All” – a national single-payer government-administered health care program. When moderator Christ Cuomo noted that his critics say that Medicare for All would be accompanied by a tax hike to fund expanded federal spending, Sanders said that his plan would save taxpayers more in the long run.
“That is an unfair criticism for the following reason. If you are paying, now, $10,000 a year to a private health insurance company and I say to you, hypothetically, ‘You’re going to pay $5,000 more in taxes — or actually less than that — but you’re not going to pay any more private health insurance,’” Sanders said. “Are you going to be complaining about the fact that I’ve saved you $5,000 in your total bills? So, it’s demagogic to say, 'Oh, you’re paying more in taxes.' Let’s all talk about — we are going to eliminate private health insurance premiums and payments not only for individuals, but for businesses.”
Cuomo did not pick up on the government expansion implied by Sanders’ ambitious plan. He asked Sanders, “Just to be clear, you are going to raise taxes?” In response the grizzled political veteran and recording artist Sanders said, “We will raise taxes. Yes we will. But also, let us be clear Chris, because there’s a little bit of disingenuity out there.” Sanders added, “We may raise taxes, but we also are going to eliminate private health insurance premiums for individuals and for businesses.”
Raising taxes is nothing new for Democrats. For example, President Barack Obama campaigned with a promise to increase taxes on Americans earning in excess of $250,000. And Hillary Clinton is doing much the same, having promised to hit Wall Street hard. But the admission by Sander that an across-the-board increase would come once he is in the White House is an explicit admission that puts him beyond the pack of Democrats, past and present.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.