“Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?”
The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All—calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.
Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), took aim in a New York Times op-ed at a “chorus of scolds” from both sides of the aisle who say that raising middle class taxes is the only way to pay for Medicare for All. The pervasive claim was a primary focus of Tuesday night’s debate, while Medicare for All proponents Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) attempted to focus on the dire need for a universal healthcare program.
For months, we’ve been saying that we could fund plans like #MedicareForAll by cutting over $300 billion from the military budget.
— Institute for Policy Studies (@IPS_DC) October 17, 2019
At the Democratic presidential primary debate on CNN Tuesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was criticized by some opponents for saying that “costs will go down for hardworking, middle-class families” under Medicare for All, without using the word “taxes.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on the other hand, clearly stated that taxes may go up for some middle class families but pointed out that the increase would be more than offset by the fact that they’ll no longer have to pay monthly premiums, deductibles, and other medical costs.
“Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war.”
—Data for Progress
“All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag,” wrote Koshgarian. “Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?”
“Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it,” she added. “That’s nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary).”
“While we can’t un-spend that $4.9 trillion,” Koshgarian continued, “imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years.”
Koshgarian outlined a multitude of areas in which the U.S. government could shift more than $300 billion per year, currently used for military spending, to pay for a government-run healthcare program. Closing just half of U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion.
“What are we doing with that base in Aruba, anyway?” Koshgarian asked.
Other areas where IPS identified savings include:
- cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion
- a total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion
- ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion
- production cuts for the F-35—a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the Government Accountability Office—saving $17.7 billion
- a shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, to Medicare for All’s annual budget.
“This item takes us well past our goal of saving $300 billion,” Koshgarian wrote of the last item.
As Koshgarian published her op-ed in the Times, progressive think tank Data for Progress released its own report showing that a majority of Americans support a “progressive foreign policy” far less focused on decades-long on-the-ground wars, establishing military bases around the world, drone strikes, and arms sales.
“The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding,” wrote Data for Progress.
“Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war,” according to the report.
Polling more than 1,000 ppl with YouGov, Data for Progress found that 73 percent of Democratic primary voters ranked numerous issues—including economic challenges and the climate—as more important to them than national security and military funding.
Progressive national security proposals proved popular with respondents, including closing Guantanamo Bay, ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and leveraging military aid to Israel to force it to adopt better human rights policies toward Palestinians.
“There is a clear appetite for progressive reforms to U.S. foreign policy,” wrote Data for Progress.
In her op-ed, Koshgarian acknowledged that remaking the U.S. military as a truly “defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes.”
But, she wrote, “that’s no excuse for continuing to spend hundreds of billions in ways that make our world more dangerous and deny us the ability to seriously invest in things like jobs, healthcare, education, and all that makes our lives better.”
Trump may even pardon former Detroit mayor in November to score Black Michigan votes: Root editor
One of the things President Donald Trump's pardons revealed Tuesday is that Trump isn't above using the judicial system for political purposes, said Jason Johnson, politics editor at "The Root."
In a panel discussion with MSNBC's Brian Williams, Johnson said that it's all indicative of a man who wants to believe that he is an all-powerful king of the United States.
"The goal is Donald Trump wants to use all of the sort of pardons and this commuting of sentences in order to create a commercial," he explained. "It's theater. 'I'm the benevolent king. I can put my thumb up or down like a powerful emperor. Look at all these people I can rescue.' And when he does that, and people come out like Rod Blagojevich, and they say, 'Oh, hey, I owe him this or I'm going to give school (sic) to that person,' it allows him to sort of demonstrate that he's got an imperial presidency."
America’s millionaires just stopped paying into Social Security for the rest of 2020
On Wednesday, not even two full months into 2020, millionaires will stop paying into Social Security for the year due to the program's payroll tax cap.
The cap limits annual wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax to the first $137,700. Sarah Rawlins, program associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), wrote Tuesday that the cap means "someone who makes $1,000,000 per year stops paying into the program on February 19, 2020."
"That makes a millionaire's effective tax rate well below the 6.2% of income that most Americans pay," Rawlins noted. "Instead, it is less than 1% of a millionaire's income. The Social Security tax is only levied on wages, excluding income from other sources like capital gains, meaning those with wages over the cap likely have an effective tax rate even lower than this estimate."
DOJ puts out bizarre late-night statement: AG Bill Barr ‘has no plans to resign’
The Department of Justice put out a statement Tuesday evening denying that Attorney General Bill Barr would be resigning from office.
Kerri Kupec, the director of communications and public affairs at DOJ, issued the statement at 10:28 p.m. in Washington, DC.
"Addressing Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign," Kupec announced.
The denial came after a Washington Post report that Barr was considering quitting if Trump continues to tweet about active investigations.