Government Spending

Stossel: Free Stuff 2020

Presidential candidates promise expensive new programs. We added up the cost.


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Never before have so many politicians promised to spend so much.

Among some candidates, the 2020 presidential campaign has turned into a contest to see who can offer the most "free stuff."

So far no one has tracked their promises, so the Stossel team did.

Stossel compares the top five Democratic candidates, based on the betting odds. He looks at Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Bernie Sanders' (D–Vt.) expensive promises, issue by issue: education, health care, climate, welfare, and… well, let's make it a contest! There's a grab-bag round too.

Some examples of what the Democrats would spend if they become president:

Sanders wants to "eliminate student debt" and "make public colleges and universities tuition-free." Sounds nice, but he seldom mentions the $220 billion price tag.

Mayor Buttigieg promises to spend $31.5 billion to give teachers a pay raise. Kamala Harris likes that one too.

Senator Harris also wants the government to pay your rent if it's more than 30% of your income. The cost? $94 billion a year.

The Democratic candidate promises keep on coming: Medicare for All, $3 trillion.

Increase Food Stamps, $10.8 billion.

Expand National Service, $2 billion.

A federal job guarantee, $158 billion.

But the Republican incumbent is a big spender too, says Stossel. Since Donald Trump became President, spending has risen about $500 billion.

But the Democrats want to spend much more. Stossel's tally includes more than 50 spending proposals.

Watch to see who wins the title of "Biggest Spender."

Stossel says, no matter who wins, taxpayers are the losers.

Since we completed this video Friday, Senator Harris proposed her own "Medicare for All" plan. She says it will be cheaper than Senator Sanders' version, but as of now there is no independent calculated cost. She also proposed a new plan to spend $75 billion on minority-owned businesses and historically black colleges.

The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.

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  1. Hey the ‘rich’ will pay for it so why worry. No one needs to make more than 15 dollars and hour.

    1. 15 is the minimum. No one needs more than 23.

      1. No, socialist believe in the minimum for everyone, except themselves .

        1. Socialists believe nobody should earn less than $15/hour and nobody should earn more than $10/hour.

          1. +100

        2. No, socialists want all the money so they can keep the vast majority of it for themselves and their toadies.
          Then they will throw some crumbs to all us little people, but only if we say and do exactly what they say when they say it.

  2. It’s getting pretty scary. I kept getting Warren ads on Hulu yesterday where she announces that we can afford medicare for all and a green new deal. Are people really that fucking stupid, or is it just cynical politics? Probably some of each.

    1. Yes. Given that most Americans cannot tell (or even be aware of) the difference between their tax bill and their tax refund, and that they will parrot whatever their tribal party leaders say, including, for example, whether their taxes went up or down, there is little hope in finding intelligent life.

    2. Yes.

    3. Given that people can’t logically use a merge lane yes I’d say people b a large % are that fucking stupid. Look at the lack of basic logic skills in people around you, then think they all get to vote and how easily they were persuaded to vote for someone because they have no logic ability to realize it is a pipe dream or that it will only fuck themselves even more!

  3. “”Never before have so many politicians promised to spend so much.””

    This is why I can’t take many people serious when they complain about the debt.

    1. Tens of millions of Americans are voting for politicians that promise more spending and free stuff.

  4. “Stossel says, no matter who wins, taxpayers are the losers”

    One candidate recently cut my taxes….

    Oops! sorry, I meant ORANGE MAN BAD

  5. This is why I vote libertarian. Pay special attention to banning of private health insurance. One wounder if it will be illegal to pay out of you own pocket for health care too. This is a really bizarre thing for the democrats to support , as this will put more of a burden on government to pay for health care and this will with out a doubt make all doctors and medical professionals slaves of the state. Complete with government union boss swearing that they are not.
    Once again I’ll point out that their are free collages all ready out there as well, just do a search engine on free collages.
    It takes the democrats to make Trump look sane.

    1. One wounder if it will be illegal to pay out of you own pocket for health care too.

      I’d have to look it up to be sure (and I’m too lazy at the moment) but as I recall HillaryCare would have done that.

    2. FWIW, government would simply not license doctors outside the public healthcare system. So it would be illegal for the doctor to practice, not for you to pay them.

    3. Once again I’ll point out that their are free collages all ready out there as well

      Yes but those free collages are sealed with a cheap knockoff version of Mod Podge.

    4. “Pay special attention to banning of private health insurance. ”

      Both Canada and UK have socialized medicine and both allow citizens to buy all the private insurance they want. If Americans want the same access to private insurance, it shouldn’t be too hard.

      1. Try this list of universities that offer free programs

        Carnegie Mellon University seems to offer the most science programs followed by MIT.

        Their are a lot more SJW’s stuff that got added in their since last time I Check. Such as this worthless coarse
        Queer Cinema and Visual Culture, and this is supposed to help you in technology and programing how?
        But if you go the normal way of a college you would have to pay for it. At lest it’s free this route.

  6. Kamala Harris: As president, Kamala will invest in new technology to fortify America’s critical infrastructure, including by passing her Secure Elections Act to protect against foreign interference in our democracy. She’ll immediately re-enter the Paris Agreement and make climate cooperation a key diplomatic priority for the United States. And she’ll confront white supremacy by re-establishing the Domestic Terror Intelligence Unit and reversing President Trump’s cuts to programs designed to combat white nationalism.

    Under her plan, she’ll reverse President Trump’s trillion-dollar tax cut for big corporations and the top 1% and use that money to give a tax credit of up to $6,000 to working families each year.

    That’s just the start. To raise wages, Kamala will fight to empower unions, make a $15 minimum wage the national floor, and create stricter penalties for companies that cheat their workers.
    -Harris Campaign

    1. There are federally funded “programs designed to combat white nationalism”?

      Haha. Yeah. White people are terrible.

  7. Bernie Sanders: Pass the For the 99.8 Percent Act to establish a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaire and billionaire inheritances.
    Eliminate offshore tax scams through the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act.
    Tax Wall Street speculators through the Inclusive Prosperity Act.
    Scrap the income cap on Social Security payroll taxes through the Social Security Expansion Act so that millionaires and billionaires pay more into the system.
    End special tax breaks on capital gains and dividends for the top 1%.
    Substantially increase the top marginal tax rate on income above $10 million.

    Post offices would offer basic checking and savings accounts, debit cards, direct deposit, online banking services, and low-interest, small dollar loans.
    -Bernie Campaign

    Bernie Sanders has so much crap he wants to do and listed on his website, that I would stall reason’s servers if I posted it all.

  8. Elizabeth Warren: That includes an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on America’s 75,000 richest families -Warren Campaign

  9. Joe Biden: Raise taxes on capital gains.
    Raise taxes back to pre-Trump tax cuts.
    Massively expand ObamaCare and Medicare.
    Restore federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
    Government setting drug prices.
    Expand Social Security.
    Expand EITC to keep elderly people in the work force.
    Expand subsidies of Ethanol production.
    Expand taxpayer payouts for expanding broadband in rural areas.
    Create a White House “StrikeForce” to partner with rural communities to help them access federal funds.
    Expand federal funding of rural hospitals.
    …and much much more taxpayer spending.

  10. The disturbing thing here is not the amount of money promised but that none of the things promised will happen. Worse yet we all know nothing will happen. Donald Trump was elected president with a promise that Mexico would pay for a border wall. We knew it was a lie and he got elected anyway. How many of the things promised in John Stossel’s article could actually be accomplished. This would require a president, control of House and 60 votes in the Senate. I don’t remember Hillary Clinton promising any big programs and she got defeated. Looks to me like the smart money is on big promises. They will get you the nomination, they might get you the presidency, and no one really believes you will deliver.

    1. The disturbing thing here is not the amount of money promised but that none of the things promised will happen.

      That’s not the “disturbing thing” – it’s the saving grace.

    2. I find that more reassuring than disturbing. It’s too bad voters fall for that shit. But good that it’s unlikely to actually happen.

      1. The fact that voters buy it is the disturbing part. No politician can run saying that they will be good caretakers. That they will work with existing programs, make them more efficient, and make sequential improvements. You must promise big things or give up.

  11. What a useless article. This spending would at least be on the people and not rich people who don’t need any more tax breaks (like the ones that incurred 2 trillion more in debt.)

    Acting as if the Republicans are any better AT ALL is laughable. I’d say it’s worse because you at least see *some* return on your money with the Democratics.

    1. Spending is what “incurred 2 trillion more in debt”, not tax cuts. And you don’t get to decide what other people “need”.


  12. “Free stuff.”
    TRANSLATION: taxpayers are paying for it.

    1. Or debt is paying for it. So anyone holding dollars will eventually pay.

    2. Well, some of us are.

  13. A couple of quotes from famed Marxist, Benjamin Franklin: “The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People’s Money out of their Pockets, tho’ only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors’ Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell’d to pay by some Law.”

    “All Property, indeed, except the Savage’s temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.”

    1. I recently read about a government funded study about what attracts mosquitoes, why, and from how far.

      So there, clever omitted. Haha

  14. What do you mean telling free, we are paying huge taxes, you should point that you give monthly part of your salary on it, and it’s probably their job. I work as a freelance writer here and definitely feel every cent.

  15. I’m making $ 300 to $ 360 an hour work online and i have obtained $ 1,989 and a supplement in a single month on line at home. i’m a everyday full time scholar and i am truely working on my hours blossoming in my spare time.

  16. $4.162T in new annual spending is just hilarious, it’s so outrageous.

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