Bernie Sanders

Progressive Economists Say Bernie Sanders' Economic Plans Don't Add Up

Democratic wonks have delivered harsh assessments of the presidential candidate's policy proposals.

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phil roter / foter

Even liberal economists think Bernie Sanders' economic plans are complete nonsense.

Sanders' plan to replace the nation's health care financing mechanisms with a fully government-run single-payer system have drawn particular scrutiny, with Emory University health economist Kenneth Thorpe finding that, in order to pay for the plan, Sanders would need to impose a 14.3 percent payroll tax and his income-based "premium" (which is really a tax) at 5.7 percent. That's more than double what the Sanders campaign has proposed. It is hardly surprising to find that Sanders has underestimated the tax hikes necessary to pay for his plan. The senator's home state of Vermont killed a long-gestating plan to pursue state-based single payer after confronting the high tax hikes that would be necessary.

Thorpe's estimate also undermines Sanders' claim that under his plan, even with all the new taxes, most families would save money after accounting for the elimination of private health premiums. Thorpe, in contrast, estimates that 71 percent of working homes would actually see an increase in health care spending. Thorpe makes not secret of his generally low opinion of Sanders' plan. He told The Huffington Post that it is "completely implausible."

The basic problem with the Sanders health care plan is that he assumes that U.S. health care spending as a percentage of the economy, which at about 17 percent is by far the highest in the developed world, can be easily cut down to a size more comparable to many other countries, creating massive savings. But his plan provides no clear way to do that, except for the imposition of single-payer itself, and in fact would seem to be even more generous in its coverage than America's current single-payer program, Medicare. He nods toward bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, but doesn't note that pharmaceuticals only account for about 10 percent of health spending; even if drug spending was eliminated entirely, the U.S. would still be spending more than the rest of the world. 

Thorpe is not the only liberal economist to question Sanders' attachment to economic reality. Former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee recently said that  "the numbers don't remotely add up."

And in an open letter to Bernie Sanders this week, four former Democratic economic advisers, three of whom worked for President Obama, produced a harsh assessment of a paper authored by University of Amherst economist Gerard Friedman, and touted by the Sanders campaign, finding that Sanders' economic plans would produce GDP growth in excess of 5 percent annually—even more than the already empty 4 percent growth target proposed by Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

"We are concerned to see the Sanders campaign citing extreme claims by Gerald Friedman about the effect of Senator Sanders's economic plan—claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence," the letter says, adding later that, "As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes." In other words, they're total hokum.

Paul Krugman has piled on too. In a column citing the economists' letter, he argues that "these claims for the Sanders program aren't just implausible, they're embarrassing."

There are various political agendas in play here, of course. This is one of many skirmishes in the left's ongoing battle between its establishment and activist wings. These economists are all liberals of some stripe, but they are also establishment operators, and they are weighing in against an insurgent candidate. 

But there is also a clear worry that Sanders could end up discrediting the liberal economic agenda. Krugman, for example, writes that he is broadly supportive of higher taxes and an expanded social safety net, he believes that these rosy claims undermine the case for progressive programs:

Good ideas don't have to be sold with fairy dust.

Mr. Sanders is calling for a large expansion of the U.S. social safety net, which is something I would like to see, too. But the problem with such a move is that it would probably create many losers as well as winners — a substantial number of Americans, mainly in the upper middle class, who would end up paying more in additional taxes than they would gain in enhanced benefits.

By endorsing outlandish economic claims, the Sanders campaign is basically signaling that it doesn't believe its program can be sold on the merits, that it has to invoke a growth miracle to minimize the downsides of its vision. It is, in effect, confirming its critics' worst suspicions.

Well, yes. And the reactions from Krugman and his peers confirm that critics are right to be suspicious that the end-state for progressive economic policy—the Bernie Sanders-endorsed democratic socialist extreme favored by activists on the ground—is a radical expansion of government built on economic claims that simply aren't believable.

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  1. By endorsing outlandish economic claims, the Sanders campaign is basically signaling that it doesn’t believe its program can be sold on the merits, that it has to invoke a growth miracle to minimize the downsides of its vision. It is, in effect, confirming its critics’ worst suspicions.

    Krugman proves there is no such thing as peak projection.

    1. What Krugman proves is that most liberals believe that some socialism is good, a lot is bad. They don’t realize that socialism is like a parasite. Ever stops eating, never stops growing. Until the host is dead, anyway.

      1. Ah yes ,…”Progressive Economists”. My new favorite oxymoron for the new year.

        1. For similar, see: “Progressive Constitutional Scholar”

      2. Crimson,

        We are blessed to have Krugman as a respected and by many PC Libs, revered econ voice. He’s actually a run of the mill economist. He got a Nobel prize for being nasty to “W” in his NYT political commentary column.

        His “Nobel in Econ” was for an early paper that simply analyzed why it should cost more to produce overseas, import, set up a sales infrastructure, and compete with domestic cars with less such overhead. No exaggeration here-it was an uber basic, “checking – the – box – for – producing – a – publicized – paper” kinda paper. The Nobel committee trolled through his econ output and that was the most “Nobel” worthy they could find.

        When he analyses Bernies effort, he doesn’t explain any economics except to repeat talking points. That all his econ analysis ever is. All he was advising Bernie on was political tactics. He should remember that by lying, Obama got his Obamacare. Bernie is giving political advice as basic and simple-and shown to be wrong-as his “Nobel Prize Winning Economist” level econ analysis.

        1. Obamacare is a Rube Goldbergian attempt to avoid two facts:

          1. Federal taxes (unlike state and local taxes) do not fund federal spending. Even if all federal taxes, including FICA, fell to $0, the federal government could continue spending, forever.

          2. The federal government creates dollars, ad hoc, by spending, and this spending stimulates the economy.

          The real answer to “Medicare for All”: http://goo.gl/1Mk5SU

          Medicare is a good program. It should be expanded. The government can afford it.

      3. According to Suderman and Krugman, any federal spending is “socialism.” (Socialism if government ownership of business, not government spending, but hey, why should a Nobel winner understand that?)

        Given their way, Suderman and Krugman would eliminate such “socialist” programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the U.S. military, federal highways, federal drug inspection, federal food inspection, etc., etc.

        Oh, that awful “socialism”!

    2. If you want to see why Krugman (and Suderman) are absolutely wrong, read this: http://goo.gl/DYtxrW

  2. You know it’s bad when even Kruggernuts is calling bullshit.

    1. See, I told you guys they had just adopted R talking points.

    2. You know it’s bad when even Kruggernuts is calling bullshit, and the idiot Sanders supporters don’t have a f***ing clue!

  3. Shocker. I have to admit though healthcare is very problematic. Since hospitals don’t turn people away,the insured end up paying for the uninsured anyways. What I take from this is that sanders plan would drive up costs because the government can’t manage anything, not because more people would have healthcare. Am I way off base here, does anyone have any realistic ideas on how to improve from the crony ass obomacare system?

    1. I’m convinced that most progressives, when they speak of reducing healthcare costs, are secretly thinking of rationing and price fixing.

      1. This. That just know they can’t come right out and say it. Not yet anyway. Once the revolution has succeeded and the wreckers are on the cattle cars headed for the camps though…

      2. “most progressives, when they speak of reducing healthcare costs, are secretly thinking

        You had me until the end there.

        1. Surely they are at least capable of holding an idea in their mind. I think that counts as thinking.

          1. I’ll round up in that use as well.

          2. Surely they are at least capable of holding an idea in their mind.

            The problem is that they are quite capable of holding ideas in their mind, despite abundant evidence that the ideas are erroneous.

      3. Not so secretly. The price fixing part is pretty explicit. And the rationing is acknowledged when they argue that free market health care is also “rationed” in that people with more money can have more of it (which is of course bullshit since the market will produce more of it to meet demand).

        1. The rationing is acknowledged by the price fixing.

      4. I think you’re giving way too much credit. I know plenty of otherwise generally well-educated people who have next to no understanding of economics. I don’t even mean the comparative merits of
        Keynesian pump-priming versus free market laissez-faire. I mean the basic shit. Few of them are even equipped to call bullshit on Sanders’ conflation of actual socialism with the mere existence of the welfare state, or swallow whole the idea that “if you don’t like socialism, you must hate the police department and post office”, as if socialism just means “pretty much anything the government does”. To them, prices are arbitrary, or decided by fiat, or…they’ve literally never thought about it and chalk all of it up to “greed”. Their position is a normative one (this ought not to be this way!), fuelled only by emotions and their morality, bereft of any genuine understanding of even basic principles.

        1. Speaking of “next to no understanding of economics,” anyone who doesn’t understand Monetary Sovereignty is clueless about economics.

          A ten minute outline is at: http://goo.gl/WI4pES

    2. “Since hospitals don’t turn people away,the insured end up paying for the uninsured anyways.”

      Yeah, and it was done in an ad-hoc manner, with a lot of experimentation, and absent the UUUUGE gov’t bureaucracy. AFAICT, it was about the least-worst of the tries at making sure we don’t have ‘people dying in the streets.

    3. The problem with healthcare in this country is that people are not price sensitive. Hospitals, Other providers, Medical Technology companies and PharmaCorps have little incentive to deliver cost-effective health solutions. If they develop a treatment for cancer that is 2x in cost and 10% more effective, insurance companies will pay for it as long as a doctor prescribes it.

      Decreasing the cost of healthcare requires the entire industry to have some level of competition on price. Consumers should look at a hospital with 24×7 concierge service and a hospital that provides bare necessities and factor the price differences into their decision.

      1. Why I liked my HSA plan. Most of the time, I was paying 100% ( with tax benefit). So I was price sensitive.

        1. I also like it because it was actually insurance. It prevented me from getting hit eith surprise expenses I couldnt afford, while leaving me alone to buy routine medical care.

          1. I have one. I like it in principle. In practice, since so few people have plans like that, I end up paying a lot.

            1. My ideal world is one where everyone has an HSA. If we must have a “Safety Net” then that is expressed in the government depositing means-tested money in your HSA that can be used to buy policies and cover deductibles.

              1. Get rid of income tax and you don’t even need an HSA.

                1. You mean just *allow* people to save for their own medical care? Ridiculous.

                  1. No, allow the federal government to pay for medical care. What? You think the government can’t afford it and taxes would rise? Not at all.

                    Even if FICA were eliminated, the government could pay for “Medicare for All.”

                    Impossible? Read: http://goo.gl/pr7hWv

            2. Same here. My HSA premium doubled since just before the ACA (Obamacare) went into effect. I received six rate hike letters over that time, five of which explicitly stated that the rate hike was due to the ACA. Only one rate hike was due to my moving into a older age bracket.

              My formerly catastrophic-only coverage became much bigger in order to comply.

              I am paying more than I would if I were to switch to Obamacare, but I refuse to do it on principle.

      2. ^This. The problem is, people have been hoodwinked into believing that health care is a “right”. These two ideas can’t possibly be reconciled.

        1. Also, if health care is a “right”, practically anything is.

          1. Sure it’s a right. You have the right to purchase health care just like you have the right to purchase any other product or service from a willing seller. Health care is a right in just the same way that free press is a right. If you can afford a printing press, you can publish whatever you want.

            1. What if I can only afford a PC and laserjet printer?

              1. Sorry, the first amendment only covers printing presses, just as the second only applies to muskets and flint lock rifles.

                1. So does the unwritten Healthcare Rights amendment only cover leeches and whiskey?

            2. You have the right to purchase health care just like you have the right to purchase any other product or service from a willing seller.

              OK, wiseacre. Most people think *free* health care is a right.

          2. Had a recent conversation with a single-payer backer. I explained he currently is allowed to pay the healthcare costs of others not insured and he also has the right to become a doctor and provide services to the uninsured without charging.

      3. Overt: Well said. Except for one issue that seems to proliferate and thrive in the United States. We allow our industries to compete but we also allow them to eliminate their competition. They successfully create barriers to entry into a market to capture and generate maximum profits and reduce costs. As a direct result many of these “healthcare competitors” publish or at least do not squelch the release the costs of their services or products. In effect, the advertise what they are or will ask for a product or service and allow the competitor to match that price. We are many times naive in believing that this drives prices down when in fact it is one of the most broadly used tools to increase prices on those products or services.

        In the tech industry, we do this on an almost quarterly basis and as a result, we have been successful in increasing our margin on our products thru price increases thru what some would call public collusion. Since we have the freedom of speech in this country and we are not telling our competitors what our pricing model is behind closed doors, this is a perfectly legitimate tactic that is very successful. Case in point, watch automobile dealerships….by publishing their “no haggle” price, they are encouraging other dealers to do the same to protect margins and profitability. That is not competition in the terms you are referring to I believe?

    4. sanders plan would drive up costs because the government can’t manage anything, not because more people would have healthcare
      It’s both, I think. People who regularly go to the doctor like you are supposed to spend more on healthcare than people that wait until they are in a bad way and go to the ER. The savings from preventative care never quite work out the way they are sold.

    5. It would work more like the VA.

      You know, that medical system run by the government and overseen by the committee Bernie Sanders was chairman of.

    6. Yes ML, We have it in Mexico where I have lived and worked for 25 years. It is called free-enterprise competition. Mexico also has a typical govt.-run health system called IMSS. It is free and slow and bureacratic. BUT we have many private clinics and doctors (no AMA) so that I forego my free healthcare many times and simply to a regular doctor or hospital where the service is good and VERY cheap. My last hospital stay cost me $1400 for double-cataract operations including all stays, tests, medicines etc.
      I visit the “Dr. Simi” clinics for about $2 and see a real doctor; sometimes just for a second-opinion.
      Many of you gringos come here for healthcare. Get the govt OUT of it and all will be fine.

    7. The uninsured have never been a big contributor to health care costs in the US. The high cost of health care in the US is due to regulations, mandates, and redistribution.

    8. It’s oh, so chic to be negative about the government. So, I guess we should eliminate Medicare. And we should eliminate Social Security, Medicaid, federal food inspection, federal drug inspection, federal highways, etc.

      The fact is, if the commenters on this site understood federal financing, they would realize that federal spending does not cost taxpayers a dime. That’s right. It’s not like state and local government spending that DOES cost state and local taxpayers.

      The federal government never can run short of dollars. It creates dollars by spending. Your federal taxes are sent to the U.S. Treasury where they disappear. They are not kept in any sort of fund.

      If you try to learn how much money the Treasury has, you will discover there is no answer. Strangely, the Treasury has no money. All those tax dollars simply are gone. The federal government creates dollar, ad hoc, by spending.

      Even if FICA fell to $0, the federal government could fund Bernie’s “Medicare for All.”

      So the issue is not government cost. The government can afford anything. The issue is people cost. You pay for health coverage, or your employer does. Why?

      Because you have been conned into believing the federal government can’t afford what you can.

      Want to learn the facts? Read: http://goo.gl/DYtxrW

  4. Really, if they wanna see how well single-payer works and how expensive it is, all they have to do is cast their gaze northwards to O Canada, Our Home And Native Land.

    Single-payer doesn’t work everywhere it’s been tried, unless by “work” you mean “some people, some of the time, receive adequate health care.” The whole point of a universal plan is that everyone’s supposed to receive adequate health care whenever they require it.

    1. You don’t have to even look to Canada. Two letters – V.A.

    2. The obsession with single payer among US lefties is weird. The countries with single payer systems are the last ones we should emulate, even supposing universal health care were something government should be doing.

    3. “The whole point of a universal plan is that everyone’s supposed to receive adequate health care whenever they require it.”

      Right.

      Canada has a poor plan, based on a myth, and frankly, Bernie’s plan also is based on a myth. The myth: The federal government can’t afford to pay for health care, but we citizens can afford it.

      In just 10 minutes of reading you could understand what a Medicare for All plan should look like: http://goo.gl/VxCthr

  5. Thorpe’s estimate also undermines Sanders’ claim that under his plan, even with all the new taxes, most families would save money after accounting for the elimination of private health premiums. Thorpe, in contrast, estimates that 71 percent of working homes would actually see an increase in health care spending. Thorpe makes not secret of his generally low opinion of Sanders’ plan. He told The Huffington Post that it is “completely implausible.”

    I couldn’t find anything about HuffPo on whethe this analysis assumes anything regarding changes in compensation composition for workers who currently have employers paying at least a share of their health insurance premiums. Am I going to be spending more and losing compensation on top of it?

    1. I’ve yet to see this discussed in detail anywhere.

      1. Why is everyone pretending no one has employer-paid premiums anymore, even in part? From what I can tell, under Bernie’s plan I’d be paying higher taxes, paying more for medical care, and<?em making less money to begin with. How is that last part not getting into the news?

        1. oops

        2. Even your employer-paid premiums aren’t really paid by your employer.

        3. That’s a good point. That’s a pretty significant part of compensation for a lot of people. I can see why left-wingers would want people to ignore that fact, but it should be a big part of the argument against. I suppose some employers would increase pay when they didn’t have insurance to pay for anymore. But you lose the tax exemption for the part of your wages that went to insurance premiums.

          What I’d like is for all compensation to be taxed the same (preferably not at all). If I had the option to get the cash instead of the insurance from my employer, I’m sure I’d be better off than I am having good insurance that I almost never use for the last 15 or 20 years.

    2. Of course. Most people think their compensation is the amount of their salary, i.e., say, $100,000. They don’t realize that their employer considers their compensation to be their salary plus all associated cost, such as health care contributions, which could (in this hypothetical example) be something like $120,000. You think lots of employers are going to rush out and correct that misconception if some kind of single payer was instituted?

      1. Well Bernie’s whole thing about this is specifically to talk up the fact that you won’t have to pay premiums anymore. But…I already don’t pay premiums. So the “savings” he’s proposing literally don’t exist for me at all.

        Now, I realize my employer’s 100% contribution is unusual. But a lot of people are getting something here, which means the premium savings Sanders is trying to sell them are just not as big as he’s claiming.

        1. Absolutely. I guess the next question then is, is Bernie a moron who doesn’t know this, or a mendacious shithead who does and is lying?

          1. Genius of the “and,” d00d. Even when, strictly speaking, it doesn’t make sense.

            Hmmmm. Perhaps especially when.

          2. Wasn’t this already answered with Obamacare and the Gruber tapes?

          3. I would actually suggest that Bernie’s a moron. I really don’t think he understands things like human incentives, simple economics or moral hazard.

            1. “I would actually suggest that Bernie’s a moron. I really don’t think he understands things like human incentives, simple economics or moral hazard.”
              I would suggest you are being way too generous. Bernie seems to me just another left-wing authoritarian, the kind of person who thinks of human nature as being malleable with the right combination of laws. It’s a thought process not too dissimilar from your average SJW style feminist, or really any other religious fundamentalist.

          4. I’m going with moron. Everything I’ve learned about him recently points to that.

            It bears repeating: the man has $65k in credit card debt, despite having made $3.4 million in before-tax income since going to Congress in 1991. He hasn’t made less than $100k/year in 25 years.

            1. If you’re going to use the force of government to wipe out debt once you’re in office anyway, why not carry insane credit card debt until then?

          5. He’s a moron who realizes his supporters are even bigger morons, so he’s starting telling the biggest whoppers he can. His flips on immigration and gun control tipped me off. He’s a lying panderer, basically the Donald Trump of the left.

            1. “He’s a lying panderer, basically the Donald Trump of the left.”
              Bares repeating.

          6. There’s no way he could have been a mayor and not know. He’s a shithead liar.

          7. “Absolutely. I guess the next question then is, is Bernie a moron who doesn’t know this, or a mendacious shithead who does and is lying?”

            I just stole this from another thread, credit to the person with the handle asking if turd paid up:
            Don’t be fooled. He acts like an idiot and talks like an idiot, but believe me, he’s an idiot.’

        2. From the employer’s perspective, they are already paying this money on your behalf. The reason they pay for health insurance is that the dollar of healthcare they provide you is more efficiently spent than a dollar given to you in salary. That is because they can pay you a dollar of healthcare untaxed or pay a dollar of salary taxed.

          If healthcare premiums went away (because we are single payer), the compensation that employers wouldn’t just go down completely. They’ve already demonstrated their preference to pay you that much, so over time, they’d end up paying about that much anyway.

          Now, in Sander’s looney bin world, Employee demand for compensation would go down because you don’t need as much money to pay all your bills. As a result, we would expect to see total compensation go down, but not all the way to the level of salary only. In the real world where TANSTAAFL, people would see their expenses go up somewhat, and thus demand for salary would also go up.

          1. The point I was making is that even though you don’t consider the healthcare as monetary compensation, it can be relegated to compensation. When companies employers for your labor they are ultimately putting a total dollar amount on how much they are willing to pay to get your labor rather than you going somewhere else.

            So take healthcare off the table- they still need to compete for your labor, and were already paying salary + healthcare. So you would expect to see your compensation rise enough for the employer to still woo you from other employers competing for your labor. Again, with healthcare off the table, your willingness to provide labor at your current price (Salary + healthcare) may go down, but not all the way to current salary salary.

            1. You misunderstand me. I do consider the healthcare as compensation, though I would certainly prefer cash. And I don’t expect that in the real world I’ll get that compensation at all if a plan like Bernie’s goes through. Perhaps many years later wages will have risen enough to make up for most of it, but I consider it a stealth pay cut.

              1. The problem though, is that you won’t spend that cash correctly or wisely due to your irrational self-interest. This is where institutions have their value– they ‘nudge’ you in the correct decision-making territory.

              2. I don’t think it would necessarily be many years later. Again the companies have already expressed their preference to pay this amount of money…and they are doing it because their competitors (for your labor) also are pressured by market forces to make this payment.

                I’m not defending Bernie, but my bet is any law that shifts us to single payer would deal with this. They would be forced to pay you the premium as salary (so it can be taxed), or (possibly more likely) they would force the companies to pay that premium directly in whole to the government. So you don’t see compensation increase, but you also don’t see that massive tax that was just leveled on your total comp.

                1. You think that a single payer law would intentionally protect working middle clasd wages? It would be sold as doing so but anyone putting pencil to paper would find a net loss.

        3. My employer covers mine 100%, too, but I think it’s because it’s tax advantaged for them to do so.

      2. I thought our current health care plan was free. You mean employers have to pay a boatload of money to health insurance companies, who do ???, that I might otherwise see in my paycheck. That makes me mad.

        1. They provide insurance.

          Does that need a ???.

          If the system was allowed to work properly, they would provide the same benefit as your auto and home insurance companies.

        2. Fuck off, retard.

        3. Most employer provided healthcare is self funded. The employer pools a bunch of money per employee, and then pay an insurer for services to manage that money- cost control, claim filing, network management.

          Why does this make you mad? As inefficient as you may find the system, at the end of the day it isn’t terribly different from the company paying you that money directly and then turning around and using it to buy public insurance. And indeed, the same thing with government healthcare. They are taking money and instead of giving it to you, they are using it to do exactly what companies do today. If you are mad that that company doesn’t just pay you all your salary, shouldn’t you be mad that the government doesn’t just write you a check?

        4. american socialist|2.19.16 @ 12:53PM|#
          “I thought our current health care plan was free.”

          Yeah, and someone, somewhere, claimed you had an IQ greater than your shoe size. You and s/he are wrong.

          1. Why does anybody even so much as acknowledge anything american socialist types? Whom ever this poster is, they clearly don’t want to have a serious, productive discussion about policy. All they want to do is preach their religion in order to feed their own moral superiority. Debating this person is only slightly more productive then debating a brick wall, or John.

          2. “You and s/he zie are wrong.”

    3. Why do you want new taxes. The federal government never can run short of its own sovereign currency, and federal taxes don’t pay for federal spending. See: http://goo.gl/pn93QC

  6. The Dems pushing this to “save money” have never shown any inclination to actually spend less on a social program. The minute we get “single payer”, they will do a 180 degree turn and start screaming that any cuts are killing children and shoving more money into the program demonstrates your moral superiority.

    1. Shoving more money into the program will come in the form of increases to the progressive income tax. The words “fair share” will be used liberally.

  7. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..
    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ? http://www.WorkPost30.com

  8. I’m surprised but glad that economists and the media are vetting this clown. He may mean well, but this is one of the most full assed campaign platforms I’ve ever seen. It’s badically a caricature of the far left, just promise everything will be free.

    1. You’re surprised left-ish economists and the establishment media is vetting the candidate trying to bring down Hillary? LOLOLOL

      1. Yeah. “Unbiased and refreshing honesty” is an optimistic way to look at this.

      2. They didn’t vet the last challenger to Hillary, did they?

        1. This is a good point.

        2. They didn’t want to appear to be racist.

      3. CNN did a very good article which actually did in-depth analysis of why Denmark can achieve it’s social-welfare net, discussed why the Danes don’t consider their system socialist and why they bristle whenever Bernie refers to them as such.

        To see CNN do this level of real-world economic analysis of a candidate’s claims was a bit surprising to me. Then I remembered who Bernie is running against.

        1. I think everyone is spot on with their motivations. However, we now have prominent left wing economists and media outlets on the record i/r/t the true costs of expanding/creating these social welfare programs and why we can’t be more like Scandinavia.

          Maybe it won’t mean much, but its a little more acknowledgement of reality then I’ve seen in the past.

          1. Exactly, but it’s all pick-and-choose. You’ll turn around tomorrow and see the exact same media, even down to the commentator him or herself wondering why we can’t turn all of America into a bike-riding paradise, like they do in Scandanavia.

    2. There’s the point. It won’t be extended into the general. Bernie Sanders is just doing a larger version of what Obama and every other politician does when they want to sell some government program. Krugman and the other hacks are taking umbrage with it and talking about discrediting leftwing economics? Well, choke back the laughter for a moment and think back to when they had no issue with that in the lead-up to passage of the ACA.

    3. LOL, just wait till it’s clear that Bernie Sanders is going to beat HRC. Then everyone of these economists will be backing away from their previous arguments.

    4. “It’s badically a caricature of the far left, just promise everything will be free.”
      Calling his platform a “caricature of the far left” is being far too charitable. Many on the far-left really do seem to think there is some kind of bottomless-pit filled with everything you could ever want, and all that’s standing in the way are those evil CEO’s, no doubt cackling with maniacal glee around the board room table at all the orphans they were able to starve today. It’s very difficult to have any sort of productive discussion with someone who can’t separate intentions from results.

  9. Bernie Sanders’ economic plans amount to:

    ??If you believe in magic…??

  10. Yeah, we should do what these progressive economists say we should do to promote change. Vote for Clinton. That’ll change things.

    1. Progressives/Communists/Socialists are always talking about Change and Progress? while ignoring the damning fact that it is their changes–from the New Deal to the Great Society to DemoratCare–that have bankrupted this country and merely added additional economic and social problems that cannot in any way be counted as Progress.

  11. “”Even liberal economists think Bernie Sanders’ economic plans are complete nonsense””

    Yes, but i assure you – if Hillary Clinton were proposing things even more preposterous, many would kindly look the other way and suggest that there’s “a lot of moving parts and unknown variables” and refrain from passing judgement.

    IOW, they’re knocking Bernie’s Unicorn-Based Economy only because they have another more-viable candidate to fall back on.

    I also think it just helps burnish their own credentials. How else to make their own technocratic-utopian ideas more palatable than to poo-poo fringe ideas as “unworkable”? Doing so helps passively define what ‘rational centrism’ really is = something like Obamacare! See, it has ‘market’ elements, and stuff. Top Men.

    1. THIS

    2. I like your guy’s plan for poor and old people to die quickly. No fatties, you know. That’s more workable.

      1. I love it when sockpuppets get desperate. It’s so delicious.

      2. Only hot Scandinavian chicks get to have excellent health care.

      3. american socialist|2.19.16 @ 12:56PM|#
        “I like your guy’s plan…”

        Notice Mr 10IQ can’t seem to find a name to ID ‘our guy’. Pretty sure he’s talking about that candidate he always claims is running against the Ds; Mr. Straw Man.

        1. Not to defend AmSoc, but I don’t think he was pinning anyone particular on us, it’s just that the grammar rules regarding apostrophes were created by Koch funded wreckers.

          1. That’s FUNNY!
            But I doubt commie-kid will see it that way.

      4. american socialist is nothing but an attention whore. If you ignore an attention whore, they go away.

      5. Hey amsoc:

        Your government-run single payer plan pilot program known as the VA already has an answer for the poor and old – promise them care, let them die, and remove them from the records.

  12. By endorsing outlandish economic claims, the Sanders campaign is basically signaling that it doesn’t believe its program can be sold on the merits, that it has to invoke a growth miracle to minimize the downsides of its vision. It is, in effect, confirming its critics’ worst suspicions.

    You’re killing me, Smalls.

    This is the funniest quote I’ve read all day.

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  14. The best part is Krugabe claiming not to be a shill for Hillary.

  15. Just once, I would like Bernie to say *exactly* what he means by “taxing Wall Street speculation”. He keeps spouting this and no one ever asks him about it.

    1. Of course, Wall Street is really just an amorphous bogeyman on which progressives/socialists can pile their resentment and hatred of all who do better in life than they. Speculation is just modern-speak for evil usury. What Einstein called “the magic of compounding” is lost on these ne’re do well malcontents.

    2. I’ve seen him answer that exact question on CNN as well as in his own campaign materials. It refers to a tax on all stock trades.

      1. Yes, exactly. However, the Unions have begun to figure out this includes them so it’s already getting ‘rational-centrist’ throat clearing in the media.

      2. What’s interesting is Bernie believes that “stock trades” only encompass some wall street fat cat. Like the rest of us here in Jes’-Folks land don’t have a dollar in the stock markets– in any way shape or form– we’re just a’sittin’ here tillin’ our fields and community gardens while all o’this-a-here fancy finance activity occurs on two blocks in New York City.

    3. That is code-speak for taxing capital gains.

      In a way I can understand treating speculation (i.e. buying an asset and expecting it to rise in value) as normal income. I think normal income should be taxed less, of course. But buying and holding stocks from some other guy holding that stock is different than spending money as an expense for capital and using that capital to build goods and services.

      1. Another reason why income should never be taxed. Trying to define “income” becomes a fool’s errand.

      2. “”That is code-speak for taxing capital gains.”

        Not really. What i’ve seen proposed is a “fee” on any sales which would be completely neutral to gains and losses and would apply to the total dollar volume rather than the profits.

        It would be applied at the point of the transaction *(collected by the broker) rather than self-reported at the end of the year and based on the net-net of all one’s gains/losses.

        1. So a sales tax on financial transactions.

          1. Social Justice is neither|2.19.16 @ 3:38PM|#
            “So a sales tax on financial transactions.”

            Yes, and since that trading market can be easily moved, he’s planning on moving it off-shore in a New York minute and then griping that the damn sheep won’t stand still and get fleeced.
            We’re talking about an ignoramus with a knowledge of finance and econ every bit as ‘wonderful’ as that shitbag commie-kid. Brains didn’t land on him after he failed at everything other than slopping at the public trough.

            1. Exactly. In another forum, I wrote that the only thing Sanders’s proposals will accomplish is to make London the financial capitol of the world.

              1. Which would then be used by the progs to sell Beotish socialism here.

                1. Beotish = British

    4. …as far as “Speculation reducing”, the thing i’ve seen floated most often has been imposing federal ‘transaction fees’ to different kinds of trades

      the idea would be to artificially raise the costs of things like “high volume algorithmic trading” to make them less attractive. These are typically based on the transaction itself, but not the $ volume. The same idea would apply to derivatives trading, albeit at a different scale

      Sanders has actually specifically floated a different model which is a “tax” based on the $ volume of equity transactions. Its unclear if it hits both the buyer and seller, or just sales. I assume it would aim to collect the fee in the transaction itself rather than as a strap-on to capital gains

      As this guy points out, Bernie’s proposal a stupid idea for a variety of reasons – the main of which is that if its *successful* in reducing trade volume as he intends, it would simply reduce capital gains taxes and end up raising no more-revenue for the Govt. Additionally, reducing transactions raises volatility. Its an idiotic self-defeating concept – ergo, very *progressive*

      1. I heard another report which said that Bernies plan could eliminate “unnecessary” trades. No explanation as to why it’s unnecessary or who defines “unnecessary”.

        1. It rubs progs the wrong way that there’s lots of trading that happens which creates fees for the FS industry but yields no significant profits.

          billions in derivatives expire worthless all the time! Just as Palin’s Buttplug.

          1. *”ask”

            or not. you get the idea.

    5. I’m 98% sure he wants this. But if I recall, he’s also refused to attach a number to it.

  16. Lets rock and roll it one time.

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  17. By endorsing outlandish economic claims, the Sanders campaign is basically signaling that it doesn’t believe its program can be sold on the merits, that it has to invoke a growth miracle to minimize the downsides of its vision.

    What? Krugman doesn’t believe in the power of the multiplier to appease the animal spirits who grant us economic growth?

    Say it ain’t so!

    1. Every time I see the idiocy that comes from the mouth of Krugman, I’m more happy that my Macro prof was a supply-sider. I never really learned the Keynsian horse-hooey (no Animal Spirits or crap like that).

  18. Progressive Economists Say Bernie Sanders’ Economic Plans Don’t Add Up

    Well, Duh! That’s certainly true of all of progressive economics.

  19. Holy shit, so getting the government to pay for all healthcare spending, which is 20% of GDP, would require a 20% tax on everyone? What a goddamn shocker.

    1. Well, of course if you accept the pan-progressive argument that getting Uncle Sam in charge of your healthcare, that it would represent a major cost savings because the “cost” of medical care would drop precipitously, then in the end, it’ll be much less than 20% of GDP.

  20. The basic problem with the Sanders health care plan is that he assumes that U.S. health care spending as a percentage of the economy, which at about 17 percent is by far the highest in the developed world, can be easily cut down to a size more comparable to many other countries, creating massive savings.

    The public portion of the US health care system already spends more per capita than any European health car system. So, any president that claims that a single payer public system can make us more efficient doesn’t need new taxes or tinker with the private system; he should be able to do so simply by extending Medicare/Medicaid to all Americans while at the same time reducing their budgets and cutting taxes. Good luck with that.

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  22. Can you spell “Loony Tunes”?
    Daffy had the perfect description: What a Maroon!

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  24. Here is the rather devastating take down of the four CEA chairs and Paul Krugman:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..hillary…

    “WASHINGTON — A former executive director of the congressional Joint Economic Committee on Thursday accused columnist Paul Krugman and four prominent Democratic economists of dishonestly smearing an academic in order to score political points for Hillary Clinton. …..

    This article is definitely a good read and the linked original letter to them even more precious.

    http://big.assets.huffingtonpo…..etoCEA.pdf

    1. Link no work. Are they talking about gerald friedmans analysis? Then yea that is quite the joke. Friedman deserved to be mocked

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  26. Excuse me, but why should I give a flying f*ck what PROGRESSIVE economists think about anything? Isn’t that kind of like asking Flat Earthers about astrophysics?

    What do REAL economists think of Saundeers’ proposals. Not that I expect the opinions to be better.

  27. Hillary’s Herstory ? Hillary Bros Smear of the Fairy Tale Numbers

    Here is the rather devastating take down of the four CEA chairs and Paul Krugman and their shoddy allegations:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..hillary…

    Prof. James Galbraith, a former Executive Director of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee on Thursday ACCUSED columnist Paul Krugman and four prominent Democratic economists of DISHONESTLY SMEARING an academic In Order To Score Political Points For Hillary Clinton. …..

    This article is definitely a good read and the linked original letter to them even more precious.
    http://big.assets.huffingtonpo…..etoCEA.pdf

    The nonpartisan Prof. James Galbraith is the former Exec Dir of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. rebuttal of critics of Prof Friedman’s econometric calculations of the Sanders plan.
    The JEC is the bipartisan resolver of economic analysis, contentions, and disputes, for both the Senate and the House (combined).

    Please note that Prof Friedman whose calculations have been criticized is not a Sanders partisan, he is a Clinton supporter and will vote for Hillary.

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  29. Norway pays just 9.8% of their GDP for Healthcare and they have one of the highest life expediencies in the world. While I may be a conservative wonk, the facts are the facts and the United States does need to get this healthcare thing fixed/under control. Others may argue that a capitalist society will always strike a balance between a product and willingness to pay. If we look at healthcare costs today as a “tax” (and yes, I know that it isn’t) we in the United States are paying out more in healthcare costs than many of our fellow western countries do for healthcare and debt service combined! Perhaps we need to look to global capitalism in which case we ask our health insurance companies to pay for the services delivered in foreign countries where costs are dramatically lower.

    Here is the issue in my mind. The United States is competing with countries that deliver a lower cost of healthcare than we do. That means we as a people have fewer overall dollars to invest into our country, its businesses, and competitive success. Bernie is certainly no friend of my conservative views, but he most certainly has a point on this cost of healthcare argument. We simply cannot compete as a country with our healthcare costs at the percentage of GDP where it is today.

    1. You are making an assumption that Norway = United States. The US works harder, plays harder, and lives harder. If you normalize the data for driving deaths, smoking deaths, and deaths due to obesity the US fares well. Those are lifestyle choices. Maybe your “conservative” mind can come up with government programs like Europe has to limit lifestyle choices Americans make.

    2. “Norway pays just 9.8% of their GDP for Healthcare and they have one of the highest life expediencies in the world.”

      I will point out that the type of healthcare system is just one factor of many that determine what a country’s life expectancy will be. You also have to account for genetics, lifestyle, traditional diet, crime, and many other things.

  30. Presidential aide – “Mr President, Congress refuses to raise taxes any more.”
    President Sanders – “How dare they? What’s their excuse?”
    Pa – “They say that 100% is as high as you can go. It’s impossible to tax more than people make”
    PS – “Then seize their wealth”
    Pa – “You confiscated all private property last month”
    PS – “Then invade Canada and take their wealth”
    Pa – “The entire armed forces of the US has gone AWOL. They defected to North Korea in order to get better food”
    PS – “How about Mexico?”
    Pa – “They went broke trying to build a border wall to keep out Americans.”
    PS – “China?”
    Pa – “Collapsed into rule by warlord when your 100% import tax destroyed their economy”
    PS – “There’s got to be something we can do. Why not conscript a labor force to plant crops and pick cotton?”
    Pa – “It worked before, it might work again”

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  33. bernie has just replaced krugman with robert reich. if bernie had a nickle for every time someone posted a reich defense of his policies, then bernie might almost be able to afford all of what he promises.

  34. Robert Reich is far from the only one supporting the economics of Sanders’ proposals. Yes, Clinton has some that agree with her, but from what I’ve seen, not nearly as many.

    170 Economists and Financial Experts supporting Sanders plan for Wall Street

    210 Top Economists Are Backing Sen. Bernie Sanders on Establishing a $15 an Hour Minimum Wage

    1. pity, you need 300 economists before they let you ride on air force one.

    2. Why not 30 an hour? What makes a top economist? Are you seriously citing Robert Reich?

  35. Come-on Paul, wake up and smell the weed. Bernie is promising the children free candy instead of liver and onions for supper. Reality doesn’t enter into this equation.
    This is what the educational system, run by the Left, has bought us; the most stupid, unrealistic, ungrounded generation, ever.
    I’m glad my parents and grandparents didn’t live long enough to bare witness to the insanity of it all. After they got over their anger, they would just cry and ask where they went wrong.
    The truth is, we, the Buggs Bunny generation failed them. We cuddled them, we insulated them from reality, we lied to them, we told them they could not fail, every one is a winner, every one is special.
    Guess what? We raised a generation of losers, they’re special all right, waiting for the short bus to give them their free ride to dependency heaven.
    God help us.

  36. To add to this discussion, check out this article on NY Post claiming that Obama’s admin has been illegally bailing out the healthcare insurers using funds from the reinsurance fees that are explicitly banned from being used to bail out the insurers:

    http://nypost.com/2016/02/21/o…..-insurers/

    If this is true, Obamacare is on its last legs (YESSSS! Maybe I can get back paying half of what I pay now!) and we need to do everything we can to stop the continued stealing from the American taxpayer.

    1. If Obama’s healthcare system is barely able to stand on its own two feet, how will Sanders’ far more generous heathcare system be viable? It won’t, and if attempted, it WILL destroy a few of the last remaining healthcare insurer goliaths, paving the way for government-provided healthcare insurance. That probably is the goal of progressives everywhere, even if they claim otherwise now.

  37. You pay for it by spending the money. Look up Modern Monetary Theory.

    Government spending generates an equivalent amount of taxation plus an increase in private financial savings for any positive tax rate.

    There are no fiscal restrictions on a government that issues its own currency. Only whether there are real goods and services free to be bought.

    With universal healthcare:

    No insurers.

    Sales and marketing operations of the hospitals and healthcare providers can be freed up to do something more deserving.

    Plus the state can fund research into drugs instead of drug companies. That way there is no risk premium that needs to be paid on capital to cover the failures. The state can absorb all the failures in basic research – and should do.

    There is a reason it is easier to put a man on the moon or build a nuclear power station with state funding. Because it gets rid of the financial risk assessment costs.

    US people really struggle with this ‘limitation by clinical need’ thing. If it ain’t priced in dollars some of the people can’t cope.
    The main issue is covering *everybody* and not favoring people with resources just because they happen to be wealthy – aka queue jumping.

    1. Can’t wait til that inflation kicks in. Wait i thought Sanders was forecasting all these great savings?

      Sales and marketing operations of hospitals freed up? Uh you still realize the hospitals and healthcare companies will still need to get customers right?

      Single payer = really expensive, rationing, long wait times, massive tax increases, government control of healthcare no thanks.

      Vermont showed all these savings are bunk. And the VA sucks

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  40. Suderman repeatedly says benefits to the middle-income and the poor (the 99%) “don’t add up,” because they have to be paid for.

    He doesn’t like Social Security. He doesn’t like Medicare. He doesn’t like government support for college tuitions. (http://goo.gl/DYtxrW) He terms any benefits to the 99% “welfare.”

    The fact is, he is ignorant of Monetary Sovereignty (http://goo.gl/FR4VUK), with the only question being whether his ignorance is intentional.

    He tries to con his readers into believing federal finances are like state and local government finances. While state and local governments can run short of dollars, the federal government cannot.

    Even if all federal taxes, including FICA, fell to $0, the federal government could continue spending forever. Suderman probably knows this, but has been bribed by the 1% to widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

    Facts:
    1. The federal government cannot run short of dollars. In fact, it creates dollars by spending.
    2. Federal taxpayers do not pay for federal spending. Yes, that’s right. It’s free to you. Your taxes never are used.
    3. Federal spending increases the dollar Supply, but does not cause inflation so long as Demand grows. Demand grows when interest rates rise.

    Suderman probably knows all this, but as a lackey for the rich, he won’t tell you. You can learn the truth by reading http://goo.gl/DYtxrW

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