After much pressure, following the most recent Democratic debates, Elizabeth Warren released her Medicare for All plan, including the means to pay for it.
This 20 page document, including the misspelling of “reigning” on page nine, makes the repeated promise, in bold print no less, that it will not raise taxes on the middle class one penny. She makes the claim repeatedly, as if to emphasize the point.
Reading it, I had a sense of déjà vu, as my mind traveled back to the promise of George H. W. Bush, who famously uttered the phrase, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” It was a promise he would later regret and eventually lead to his undoing as he had to backtrack on this promise, possibly costing him a second term.
To read the document, one first has to travel through the history of Warren’s campaign where she stated her initial support for the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. She explains her evolution and how she finally came to embrace the plan proposed by Bernie Sanders (S-Vt). She goes on to describe how she will pay for the $20.5 trillion plan through raising taxes on the wealthy, fees on stock transactions and other means that do not raise taxes on the middle class.
This oft repeated claim makes the same fundamental error Bush did in his 1988 promise. Like Bush, she presumes that Congress, which has the duty to propose laws, would go along with her promise. Like Bush, she is assuming that economic woes won’t cause her support to waver should she become president.
Making promises is nothing new to politics. It’s the ability to follow through on them that can make or break a candidate. While Warren indeed has a plan for everything, she needs to be realistic in how they can be enacted.
Otherwise, she will be repeating history. She will be Bush-whacked.