As we enter the thick of election season, Brian Riedl’s reminder on Vox should be firm in our minds:
… the democratic socialist agenda will face resistance not only from other lawmakers but from basic math. Their promises, which include free college, a single-payer health care system, guaranteed jobs, and more, would require astonishingly high expenditures that would cause the federal deficit to skyrocket. Once the costs become clear, most mainstream politicians and voters will surely balk. Making big promises is one thing; paying for them is another.
Riedl tallies $42.5 trillion (with a “t”) in new taxpayer spending over the first decade of the progressive program. And, as Stephen Green further notes, “that’s before the ripple effects create the need for even more spending, which creates even more ripple effects, etc., until a once-wealthy country is ruined.”
Fortunately, if a conservative cabal were choosing the representatives of democratic socialism with an eye toward making it easy for the public to see the problem, they couldn’t have done better. Bernie Sanders, for example, is an old rich guy whose wife’s questionable leadership of a Vermont college may have contributed to its closure. Recent socialist upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a veritable gift to conservative meme-makers and humorists. In Rhode Island, the standard bearer for the far left is Aaron Regunberg, an Ivy League transplant from another state who, as far as anybody knows, has never held a real job in his life.
Unfortunately, it’s a powerful ploy to promise people that the government can give them everything they need and want… and don’t worry, the people in control will always be on your cultural and ideological side. Promise! As for those who propose that we govern our society under the restrictions of reality, well, they’re demons, all of them.
Those of us demons in that reality-based camp have our work cut out for us. The country’s education system has softened up a couple generations for the sort of mushy thinking that leads one to believe that politicians with dubious experience actually running things will be able to manage a number as big as $42,500,000,000,000, which is, like, a really big number.