Pet Rhino

After months of this pressure, on Friday, [Elizabeth Warren] finally released her comprehensive Medicare-for-all plan, which promises lower costs for everyone, paid for by taxes on corporations and the rich.

The good news is, the math adds up, as long as you buy her assumptions. The bad news is that Warren’s assumptions are crazier than keeping a pet rhinoceros, after which, who cares that her calculator works? This is to actual policymaking as the plastic noodles in a ramen-bar window is to lunch.

To wit: Warren says she can deliver a generous Medicare-for-all plan with only $20.5 trillion in additional federal spending. That’s a quarter to a third less than any serious estimate of the plan from outside her campaign. How will she get there? Why, by slashing administrative costs and then mandating that everything else cost less. Warren is not exactly the first progressive reformer to have this same idea, and if she pushes forward with it, she will be but the next in a long line to discover that she can’t make it work, politically or economically. As Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner dryly noted, Warren could just as well have written that Mexico was going to pay for her big, beautiful plan.

Megan McArdle

November 4, 2019

Previous:… so little time
Next:Best now to pretend that they just can’t identify the culprits