From Bret Stephens

In October, Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute tallied the costs of Mr. Sanders’s policy goals. By his calculations, the federal government would double in size. Half the American work force would be employed by the government, Mr. Riedl writes. Government spending as a percent of G.D.P. would rise to 70 percent (in Sweden, it’s less than 50 percent). The 15.3 percent payroll tax would hit 27.2 percent to help pay for Medicare for All. Total additional outlays would reach $97.5 trillion on top of the nearly $90 trillion the federal, state and local governments are projected to spend over the next decade.

Here is the full NYT column.  #TheGreatForgetting, #moodaffiliation.


This is all a little silly because there is no real possibility of these policies being implemented under any electoral outcome, so they should be viewed as such.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win...

I hope Ms. Holmes tries that line out in court.

Is that the rational response to "Free Stuff! More Free Stuff!! Lots More Free Stuff!!!"

A stab in the dark: These reds don't care about your health or your student loans or . . . They care about power.

What percent of US GDP will be the costs of the gulag and re-education camps?

No worries. There is a way to make it all affordable. Britain Canada and Sweden use this technique effectively. Simply lower the standard of health care, push appointments months ahead and see and treat fewer patients. Problem solved.

Why, if they have a lower standard of health care, do they live longer healthier lives? Maybe health care is counter-productive. More care = less health.

I'm getting tired of people lying about Canada. I spent 120 straight days in the hospital last year, receiving the best care from doctors, nurses, and aides, possible, which is why I am able to write this comment today. My doctor will see me immediately if I need him to. And after a million appointments in the last two years to help me survive and recover, I've never received a bill of any kind. It's not perfect, but the care I received was world class and I won't have the people who saved my life derided by imbeciles.

Money from health insurance companies + big pharma - - - > representatives in congress - - - > coordinated language to equate public healthcare with socialism.

And, as we know, socialism is the red state boogeyman who is at fault for all the worlds problems. There are actually poor republicans who would die, rather than receive public health care assistance. This is how effective the propaganda machine of the health insurance lobby has been.

Really? That does not follow from Republican politicians in poor states refusing to expand Medicaid.

They don't live longer or healthier lives, THAT is an artifact of statistics. If they all had the same "diversity" that we have AND the same drug problems they would have identical health outcomes

What is silly is tyler using hashtags when they don't work here.

That is what they said about Trump. If Sanders gets as much done as Trump has so far, what would the numbers look like?

Well, the Republicans would put him in jail, for a start.

Who could have guessed Tit for Tat Banana Republic style government would suck huh?

...not to elect the banana republican then.

You’re off by a couple of decades. But well done on the pun anyways.

I'm not off by any decades and you know it.

+1, Slappy McFee wins the thread

Apologies, but Sanders is the most honest Democrat. Hope he gets the nomination.

Honesty and bad policies aren't mutually exclusive - and Sanders isn't a Democrat.

I agree that he is the least worst of the putative Democrat contenders because he is anti-DC establishment and wouldn't be able to get his policies implemented.

Bernie is a Democrat. 2020 campaign is his SECOND run for the DEMOCRATIC Party following his campaign in the 2016 primaries. He entered the 2020 presidential primaries as a Democratic candidate, mmmk?

No, Bernie is not a registered Democrat, though he is running to receive the Democratic presidential nomination. Which is weird, though who knows whether TC approves of such weirdness - maybe a state capacity libertarian looks like a Republican in the same way that Sanders looks like a Democrat. As revealed by wikipedia - "But both his Senate website and press materials continued to label him as an "independent" during and after the campaign.[361][362] His party status became ambiguous once again in March 2019 when he signed a formal "loyalty pledge" to the Democratic Party stating that he is a member of the party and will serve as a Democrat if elected president. He signed the pledge the day after he signed paperwork to run as an independent for reelection to the Senate in 2024."

he signed paperwork to run as an independent for reelection to the Senate in 2024. which would make him a vibrant and youthful 89 years of age upon the completion of that term. This while members of the Illinois judiciary and policemen everywhere are retiring in their 50s. Can it get any crazier?

"No, Bernie is not a registered Democrat, though he is running to receive the Democratic presidential nomination"
semantics, schmemantics. Let's not get too caught up in linguistic context? Let's underscore the reality that he is representing the democratic party, perhaps as an "Independent", but party *affiliation* is more salient to this discussion and impending election.

So, I do know Jack?

There are worst things than dishonesty. I’d much prefer a corrupt, dishonest slimeball who will take his tithe then leave me alone to an honest true believer who would wreak ceaseless havoc on everyone for their own good. Many of the worst leaders in history were super ‘authentic,’ consistent, honest guys. The only good thing about Sanders’s honest idiocy is it should make it easier to steer clear of him.

". I’d much prefer a corrupt, dishonest slimeball who will take his tithe then leave me alone to an honest true believer"

Yes, but that was the argument for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But it's really not.

Who was the honest true believer in 2016?

I probably agree with the outlines of the article.

On the other hand, if total outlays for medical care are reduced to 12% of GDP from nearly 20% of GDP, as a result of nationalized health care (similar to other developed nations with national healthcare), then burden of healthcare will actually be reduced.

Perhaps within the US system this reduction in total cost of healthcare is not possible, but it has been obtained in other developed nations.

The costs in most countries are rising at the same rate as the US. Maybe Sanders could remove the 1970's using some time machine, and have the cost increases start from the same base. Although I suppose having half your doctors quit would cut costs.

Remember that for this to work depends on someone like Nadler and McConnell coming up with a solution.

It appears that in all other advanced countries, that rising health care cost has tied to increasing life expectancy over decades. That is, increasing costs are also matched by increasing life expectancy.

This is not true in the U.S. according to news reports, where increasing health care costs have not led to increasing life expectancy. Instead, in the U.S., life expectancy has been declining for three years even as health care costs have gone up.

Whatever is going wrong in the U.S. will clearly not be solved by following the same path.

@ long nym- good points, except the US health care system subsidizes the rest of the world since patents are not enforced (largely) outside the USA (and even in the USA, patents have gone down in status). A large part of US health care costs is subsidizing the rest of the world with patented technologies that are not paid for elsewhere.

Ray, give it a rest. American life expectancy is not declining because the world is freeloading on the American health care system.

It is declining because clearly, America simply is unable to actually provide citizens being born now a higher life expectancy. The reasons are myriad, but lack of respect for patents is not among them.

@Patented silly - not what experts say...and your 'reason' is a tautology, X=X ("It is declining because clearly, America simply is unable to actually provide citizens being born now a higher life expectancy") Also in law school they taught us if you use "clearly" you don't have a clear case. Further a "myriad" of reasons would by definition include freeriding on patents.

Ray, it is also a tautology to say Y=Y ("It is increasing because clearly, other countries are able to actually provide citizens being born now a higher life expectancy"). It is the contrast that is clearly so stark, leading to the question what is going wrong in the U.S. compared to peer countries.

Patents are not among them - unless you think the countries where a number of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies are headquartered (Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK) are not enforcing patents

@PS - educate yourself, because indeed EU pharma companies are not enforcing their patents (outside the USA). Most EU countries have limits on what you can charge for a patented medication. Plus "march-in" rights, mandatory "reasonable royalties" etc, especially in India, China, pretty much most of the world. And FYI "Y=Y" is the same as "X=X" (lol, it's come to that, remedial educ for the youngsters).

No, they do not have limits on what they pay for patented medications. They simply decide, as customers with market power, what they will pay for medications. No drug company is forced to sell at that price, and the drug patents remain fully enforceable throughout the EU.

Patents are a government granted monopoly - which is not the same as a government guaranteed right to whatever profit margin a patent holder feels entitled to.

Yeah, yeah, yeah we get it.

Europe decides to let people die rather than pay more for life saving R&D. Better to toss money at housing than to save millions of lives. But we understand, Europe would rather let a bunch of Africans die than spend another percent or two of GDP.

This is an argument for R&D spending, not an argument for higher pharmaceutical company profits.

Fun fact: Sweden spends more than 1% of its GDP on foreign aid, some of which goes to the health budgets of poor African and Asian countries.

Another fun fact: Maybe the most consequential work of the Clinton Foundation was helping African health ministries all get together and agree to negotiate as one team to secure Costco-like prices on a set of life-saving medicines with pharmaceutical companies.

Whoa, no wonder some people wanted to lock her up and shut down that foundation. Pharma company profits are the unassailable touchstone of modern American politics it seems.

It is a heresy to think those paying for drugs should have any say in what they buy, or the price they are willing to pay.

Pharma's total profits are maybe 20% in a good year.

The UK negotiates hard. Often getting below 50% of American level pricing. For some of the most expensive stuff (which is usually some of the most cost effective medicine), Europe routinely demands discounts for double the total profit margin of the sector.

The only way the math works is if Europe is not contributing to pharmaceutical R&D budgets or some other overhead cost in any really meaningful way. Sure, Europe pays more than the marginal costs, but that will not cover new R&D.

So yeah, at the end of the day, Europe is letting people die by refusing to pay for anything close to a fair share of global R&D. But its okay, the majority of the dead won't be Europeans.

Our poor mortality statistics have nothing to do with healthcare. They have everything to do with the opioid crisis, violence, and obesity.

When you compare outcomes of actual diseases, such as most cancers, our healthcare system compares favorably with the rest of the world.

Maybe you should Follow the money when it comes to the opoid crisis before saying that problem has nothing to do with the U.S. health care industry.

There is no cure for dying of a heroin or pain killer overdose-only death.

No health care system in the world can prevent people from eating, drinking and medicating themselves to death....

Once again, health care is health care and health is health.

They correlate decently but not perfectly.


Could I see your data? Everything I have seen suggests that if you ignore the US as a clear outlier there still is no real correlation between healthcare outlays and life expectancy.

Italy, Spain, and Israel, for instance, all have higher life expectancies than places like Germany.

Best estimates I have seen is that healthcare is responsible for no more than 25% of life expectancy outcomes with the vast bulk of that being things that do not scale past a fixed outlay (e.g. vaccination).

The data I have seen seem to best fit with health care spending in the US being higher because Americans are less healthy rather than the healthcare making Americans less healthy.

But please, do show me your numbers.

You seem to be missing various points, as can be seen above. All countries have increasing health care costs as commented on by derek- but none of the industrial countries have a declining life expectancy.

Only one nation has had a declining life expectancy over three years, following several years of no growth. Here is a summary from CNN - The US had been making steady progress. Life expectancy increased by nearly 10 years over the last half century -- from 69.9 years in 1959, to 78.9 years in 2016.

But the pace of this increase slowed over time, while other high income countries continued to show a steady rise in life expectancy.

After 2010, US life expectancy plateaued and in 2014 it began reversing, dropping for three consecutive years -- from 78.9 years in 2014, to 78.6 in 2017. This is despite the US spending the most on health care per capita than any other country in the world.

Of all age groups, adults 25 to 64 years old saw the largest increase in mortality rates -- 6% -- according to the study, published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA.

The journal link seems to be not postable, unfortunately.

The question is not about increases in life expectancy, it is why is America actually declining while spending more than countries with still increasing life expectancies. At least one part is American pharma company products - opoids were extremely profitable. A part of the American health care system which is clearly not serving Americans well.

I suggest you look at Scotland. Somehow Scotland managed to have its life expectancy fall last year. This after a pattern of declining gains, just like the US.

This was in spite of Scotland having a full Beveridge healthcare system. 0 is not a magic number for these comparisons. Many states have had slow downs in their life expectancy gains. The US is far from the only the place in the world losing life expectancy; likely a large part of it is simply due to the fact that the US has more rural areas being hit lifestyle deaths than other countries.

Opioids are yesterday's news. If we had the death rate of the bad old days of OxyContin we would have rising mortality. The trouble is far more one of culture than of bad companies. Docs bought this pain is the fifth vital sign BS, reduced the "stigma" of "dependence", and schockingly social taboos against addiction fell away. Culture is far more powerful than any firm could ever hope to be. Prohibition, famously ended about 80 years ago, yet the level of alcohol use disorder took literally generations to reach back to the levels of the early 20th century in the US.

Firms and bureaucratic organizations are very weakly tied to life outcomes. Culture is far stronger and shockingly having a sedentary, rural culture built on high caloric consumption is bad for your health. Not to mention being rich enough to smoke like chimneys in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s when Europeans were too poor to afford mass quantities of cigarettes.

Another problem is having an isolated urban culture of crappy schools serving single-parent families and young men with no purpose in life but ready access to weapons.

Meanwhile the people in "good" upper middle class school districts are taking care of themselves very well (with the very occasional trauma of an addicted or suicidal child,) but they have no sense of responsibility to the broader community.

Culture schmulture. We stopped seeing ourselves as all in this together some years ago.

US is usually at or near the top for most cancers when 5 year survival % is your metric. Canada looks pretty good though and at lower cost. US healthCARE is better overall than most other developed countries, even if many health outcomes are worse.

"if total outlays for medical care are reduced to 12% of GDP from nearly 20% of GDP" in any approach the burden of healthcare would be reduced. And it is not clear to me that the biggest potential savings would be a direct result of nationalization.

@Benjamin Cole I agree. M4A could be done with the federal government spending less on Healthcare than it spends now and it can be done and the they spend more than total healthcare spending now.

But really heathcare should be a state issue because they do most of the regulation. The feds should send all the money that they would have spent to the states on an age adjusted per capita basis but to get the money the state must cover at least the old and poor.

Mexico paying for that wall yet?

It’s making a very substantial in-kind contribution by halting the invaders at its southern borders. No more caravans, amigo!

That sounds like a no to me.

"Perhaps within the US system this reduction in total cost of healthcare is not possible, but it has been obtained in other developed nations."

No developed nation has ever achieved a sustained reduction in health care expenditures. Other countries simply did a better job at restraining cost growth for a few years in the past, and even that advantage no longer is present.

Oh. So it is different with Sanders, right? Those are not his starting positions that should not be taken at face value? With Sanders we should estimate impact of his every political proposition taken as literally as possible, right professor?

Yes, yes we should take it at face value. I hate these ridiculous arguments that we shouldn't.

Trump did end up passing his travel ban right? As he promised? He did a lot of the things he said he will do. He did end up implementing draconian immigration reform right? Obama did implement Obamacare right? And it was worse than predicted, he promised during the campaign to not implement the individual mandate, he did.

Bush got his tax cuts. Bush got his war with Iraq. Obama got Wall Street reform.

Obama wanted to do climate change, Obamacare, Wall Street reform, and campaign finance reform. He picked two, because that was what political situations dictate, but those two were implemented pretty much exactly as how he imagined.

Politicans lie all the time about the impact of their proposals, but they don't generally lie about the proposals themselves. Because the candidate doesn't actually put the proposals together. The people behind the candidate do, and they are who matter.

Honestly, you can justify literally any candidate with this argument. Oh, Hitler wouldn't actually kill 6 million people, right? Oh, Trump won't actually ban Muslims, right? Oh, Obama won't actually pass Obamacare, right? We didn't get single payer not because it was watered down, we didn't get single payer because Obama, and the experts he hired, DID NOT want it.

Unless you can take political reality in a way that can't be arbitrarily applied to support literally anybody, yes, it is critical we analyze their proposals at face value.

Good points

"Obama did Wall Street Reform"

What in God's name are you talking about?

Populism works people. Anybody see the stock trading scandal ("cum-ex trading") in Europe where traders got paid two tax refunds on dividends from one basket of stocks?

"American bankers didn’t try cum-ex at home because they feared domestic regulators. So they moved operations to London and treated the rest of Europe as an anything-goes frontier. "

When the bankers and their sycophant politicians fear you, liberty is won. I'm no fan of Sanders, Warren, or Trump but the fact that they are at least willing to root out the institutional rot means that the populists were right and the technocrats dead wrong.

Lol people trying to save money on taxes is the institutional rot that we must wreck our civilization over?

I’m all for slitting throats and hoisting the black flag, but couldn’t you come up with something more scandalous that truly destroys lives like zoning, far regulations, car obsessed urbanism that places cars above people, nimbyism at every level of state and local governments, licensing restrictions, or any other road block that ruins the lives of the lower and middle classes?

The remedying of some Wall Street tax evasion is going to suddenly improve life for some lower class person in New York that is stuck commuting 90 minutes to two hours to a decently paying job?

"nimbyism at every level of state and local governments"

Maybe we do not want to trash our communities to let billionaries get richer.

Lol, providing reasonably priced housing for the poor and middle class=trashing communities to let billionaires get richer.

George, you might want to question that populism point, considering that the UK is leaving the EU, in the general view due to populism. Meaning that the same place where the scam was performed will now be an even better spot to engage in all sorts of financial chicanery.

According to Ms. Clinton, Sanders has the reputation of not working very well with others, more show than results. Indeed, Sanders is not even a Democrat (except when seeking the party's nomination). What Sanders is proposing would require legislative skills that Sanders does not possess and hasn't been interested in developing over his legislative career. As for Stephens, in the linked column the Never Trumper warms to the orange one: "Has Trump abandoned NATO? No. Has he lifted sanctions on Russia? No. Has he closed the borders to all immigrants? No. Did the president steal the midterms, or stop Congress from impeaching him? No. Has he significantly suppressed the press? Again, no." But if one reads that quote closely, one can see that Stephens is required to squint in order to see the orange one less critically.

I think a lot of civilized conservatives are acting out this week, because they are seeing "better a criminal than a liberal" in the mirror.

They thought they had values, and now they're looking at some other SOB to be angry with. Like Pompeo and the reporter.

What are you even on about today ? Pompeo is a neocon ass, always has been. As is Stephens btw.

If you’re a Dem and going to vote values, it’s Bernie or bust.

Someone observes that Bernie is Trump's preferred opponent. So take every "endorsement" by normal Trump defenders in that light.

They don't want a Democrat on the moderate (or rational) end of the spectrum.

They don't want a simple sane vs insane choice.

I doubt Bernie is anywhere near Trump’s preferred candidate. $100 million in small donor campaign donations ? He voted against the Iraq war, unlike Biden who pushed it in the Senate. Biden has more baggage than an Amtrak train run by Hunter.

I’m not a Trump supporter or defender. Nice attempt at a smear though.

Like I said, if it’s values, it’s Bernie or bust. Otherwise it’s 2016 all over again.

Sanders and Trump would fight over the same disaffected and disinterested angry voter. So no, Mr Sanders would not be Mr Trumps favored opponent. More interesting would be the effects of that matchup down the ballot.

It's funny how little anyone has learned from Trump. He won based on a very simple program and didn't change his platform from start to finish. Bernie is doing the same thing, hasn't changed a bit.

Your know what else happened this last week? Rogan said he'd vote for Bernie, and the NYT split between Warren and Klobuchar. The immediate reaction to one was accusations of racism, and the other indifference. And guess who got the jump in support? Another lesson from Trump, accusations of racism get the opposite result.

There seems to be a bi partisan consensus forming that that the electorate cannot be trusted with the task of choosing their leaders. As usual the extreme manifestation of this thinking will be demonstrated in the Democrat response to Bernie looking like he will win the nomination.

In Canada the Harper conservatives held power for a long time based on divisions on the left. The right in the US essentially threw out the pompous right, and are going into this election undivided.

Where are all the sane Democrats? I know where they are. Sitting on their hands.

Maybe Bloomberg will save them. And Trump will get 70% of the African American vote.

Pelosi knew better.

Apparently even Obama said he would intervene if Sanders comes close to the nomination.

Sanders now leads the betting markets. It’s certainly going to be an interesting year.

What happens if the DNC tries to put their thumb on the scale again?

The sane Democrats are voting for Biden. Who still leads national polls and will be the likely nominee.

Biden is at about 28%.

The implication is that 72% of Democrat voters are insane. Nah.

Anyone who voted for the Afghan War, Iraq War (x2), eliminating bankruptcy protection for the poor, mass incarceration of black nonviolent marijuana smokers (seriously??), minimum crack sentences of 20 years versus “Hunter Biden” cocaine sentences of probation...

Anyone who is anti-War and anti-mass incarceration has to vote against Biden.

Trump is literally infinitely better on criminal justice than Biden. FFS, vote for a nominee that at least wants to not throw people into a gulag.

We can do better than Trump on criminal justice reform. And Biden is infinitely worse.

And the minute someone blames a Democrat for voting for a Republican war based on lies, where voting no got you labeled a traitor...that someone has outed themselves as not a serious person.

Liberal projection again -"better a criminal than a liberal" How does that work when the criminals are the liberals? And to rayward, how's a citing of verifiable facts equal to 'coming around on Trump'? Is the left this removed from the truth?

Feel free to bring charges against anyone.

But don't pretend you have symmetry without that effort.

We're almost at the end of the impeachment trial and so far the Democrats haven't even found a crime yet. So no charges necessary I guess. If history is a guide, they'd just hide an exculpatory evidence if they had anything anyways.

Well, we’ll see.

So far Chuck Schumer’s position is no witness deals. Hopefully they can reach a bargain to hear get to the truth.

You shouldn't tip your hand like that, if you really want to pretend some kind of uninformed centrism.

Everyone who is informed, sees you.

Uhh, no.

Schumer, however, poured cold water on the idea while speaking to reporters during a recess in proceedings Wednesday afternoon.

“No, I think that’s off the table,” Schumer said when asked about the possibility of a witness trade. “That trade is not on the table.”

Did you not read the article?

Republicans are floating a deal for testimony. Bolton (and Mulvaney) for Hunter and Joe Biden. Explicitly for the impeachment trial. You know, the one in the Senate.

Schumer refused to even entertain the offer.

Let’s hear the truth. Let’s hear the testimony, under oath, in front of the American people.

You hardcore partisans want witnesses, but only if their testimony helps your side politically. Here’s a radical idea, let’s hear from all of them.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant, remember? Or have you already changed your mind? So much for defending democracy..

If we have a significant increase in government support for health insurance it should be financed (as should SS) with a consumption tax in order to eliminate the wage tax.

Mr Sanders seems to have been contaminated the Republican notion -- put into practice with their "Tax Cuts for the Rich and Deficits Act or 2017" -- that one can increase deficits to benefit one's supporters.

If you think that Crazy Bernie or any of his supporters will be dissuaded by these numbers, you don’t understand the irrational appeal of socialism.

Yep, this is a feature. All they see is how much of the economy they'll control, which is all they care about.

Another view:

According to Modern Monetary Theory there should be no problem with the Federal Reserve expanding its enpixelation of money to cover whatever the expenses of even more health care might entail.

If the GOP retains the Senate, which is likely, none of Bernie’s major policies would be enacted.

Especially because Bernie won't be President. He'll be yet-another old man yelling at the sky, with his only claim to fame being the glowing pieces written about him in the NYT,

Because of the Streisand effect, I read that title and think bedbug.

Truly, he belongs to the ages, now....

Evidently Sander's plans are not perfect, but what are the options the critics present? Where were those critics while the debt exploded, living standards stagnated, America's economy was hollowed out and America spent more years losing wars than it spent winning the Spanish-American War, WW I and WW II. Where were, then, those geniuses with their truths which, I am sure, came down from Mount Sinai?

The work of those critics is easy. They risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their solutions and their selves to their judgment. They thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth those critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of Sander's plan is probably more meaningful than their criticism.

At least, Mr. Sanders are presenting ideas to deal with common Americans' tribulations. It is much more than I have seen his critics doing.

Thank for this bold and thought-provoking take, Mr. Menzies. Tou, sir, made my day.

The 15.3 percent payroll tax would hit 27.2 percent to help pay for Medicare for All.

There are many many many good arguments against Medicare for All. But when someone trots out that your pay stub will no longer list employer and employee healthcare contributions but that line item will move to "payroll taxes" and OMG! isn't that terrible. You know for a fact that they aren't arguing in good faith.

There’s a difference in that healthcare contributions give you a bit of choice (every employer I have ever worked for has offered multiple health plans that are materially different from each other) whereas taxes do not. As an analogy, I would rather get to choose what groceries I buy every week rather than have to pay a tax and have the government ship me food even if paying the tax would save me money because the government as monopsony buyer could bargain down food prices and even though food is a necessity even more so than health care.

(every employer I have ever worked for has offered multiple health plans that are materially different from each other)

You have no idea how Medicare works, do you?

That came out a little snarkier than I intended. Anyway, Medicare offers a great deal of choice - classic Medicare, HMO/PPO provided by many different companies, Medigap, etc. etc.

You are correct, but the "Medicare for All" proposals from Sanders I have seen are single-payer. He has said that there would be no more private insurance. This is not like the Medicare program that currently exists, which does leave private insurance (and co-pays) intact.

You are aware that Bernie isn't being elected emperor and as such he'd be lucky to get 1/10 of what he's asking for. Personally, I can't see a path forward for MfA that doesn't include utilizing the current private aspects of Medicare.

I agree (and make the same point in my comment below). I’m just saying there are legitimate reasons why people would prefer to buy something rather than pay a tax to get it. Also that the phrase “Medicare for All” is misleading when used in reference to a single-payer system that doesn’t preserve the private elements of the current Medicare program.

That worries me more actually. Whatever benefits there are to nationalization we will realize none of them if Sanders only gets 10%. We are, however, very likely to get the majority of the costs.

I expect it will be one of those "pen and phone" moments where Sanders delivers the stuff that is easy to move through the bureaucracy, but somehow does not realize much, if any benefits.

This is not unlike Trump and healthcare. Yeah he's gotten some rightward movement through limited actions, but in the process we have lost most of the mechanisms that were supposed to limit costs. What is left of the ACA seems to be just a giant pile of deficit spending with a massive giveaway to health insurers.

Getting 10% of remaking 40% of the economy, in the least efficient and well planned manner, is still going be more change and havoc to the economy than anything we have ever seen outside of war.

Sanders isn’t going to get any of this passed, especially with a Republican-held Senate. On the other hand, he might be able to reform foreign policy and add more ideological balance to the ranks of appointed federal officeholders.

Also, you know how some people want the Fed to have a symmetrical inflation target now where periods of below-target inflation mean that there should be more tolerance of above-target inflation? Maybe something similar should apply to politics; a period of right-wing government should be followed by a greater tolerance of left-wing government as a right-wing period plus a left-wing period will be centrist on average.

This is exactly why I started leaning towards a Bernie presidency. There is no way in hell for him to implement his policies and Democrats will have to spend 4 years telling people that we can’t afford it and there should be limits on what government can do. Moderate D and R will have to work together and hopefully the end result is better government.

Combined with a Republican senate, Mr Sanders won’t even be able to change the judiciary. So four years of nothing being done. Best outcome in my eyes.

I'm old enough to remember when people, maybe even you, said in these pages "elect Trump, sure he is bad, but that will just cause Congress to limit the power of the President."

How did that genius thinking work out?

He’s been investigated since day one and is currently in an impeachment trial.

Basically none of his agenda was passed at all. The House took a War Powers vote for the first time long? He’s been sub 50% in polling his entire presidency.

I wouldn’t endorse your pretend MR reader view but it’s not necessarily wrong either.

I had no such delusions that a republican congress and senate would be a full check on a Trump presidency. They got him to sign a tax cut bill and they picked some judges for him to appoint. But they haven’t gone along with his immigration limitations nor did they modify existing trade agreements in any discernible manner.

Mr Trump, on the other hand, has been reluctant to follow the warmongers into the Middle East. This is far more positive for me than some shameful Tweets. So over the last 3 years, Republican senators have been a check on POTUS and Mr Trump has ignored Lindsey Graham.

In your eye, the Republicans have failed to publicly flog POTUS in the town square even though that would be against the wishes of the people that elected them. Imagine that. In a democracy, elected officials consider the electorate in their decision making. Isn’t that what you want?

How about taking Trump to task for his illegal withholding of aid to Ukraine, which had already been authorized by Congress? Or formalizing the legal status of DACA -- something that I don't think is controversial in the private thoughts of most elected Republican officials?

And if you are opposed to warmongers, how about members of Congress uniting and launching an inquiry into whether the attack on Suleimani was legal? The President has wide discretion to order attacks on ISIS and al Qaeda but it is quite a stretch -- and not one that should be accepted by one critical of "warmongers" -- to extend that discretion to officials of an officially Shia regime that is fighting these same groups.

And what should Republicans do to take Mr Trump to task? Just what does that entail? should they engage him on Twitter? Not appear at his rallies? Maybe they should just
call him names!!!

A few of them could vote to convict him, but of course that's not going to happen.

I wouldn’t say that is impossible. Ms Alaska could vote aye. As well as Mr Romney. But for the majority of Republican senators, voting to remove isn’t representing their electorate. Ain’t democracy grand?? Too bad we let people vote huh?

We let the smaller cohort of voters elect the president sometimes.

I’m also going to make a recommendation. Just skip the NYT article and go straight to
the comments attached to it. Best Satire on the Internet!!

President Bernie Sanders will cause conservatives to suddenly and passionately remember deficits. The old deficits only matter during democratic administrations. That is the real forgetting but since Tyler himself is guilty of this it is clearly not what they old dotard intended.

Well deficits now are about the same as they have been (as a % of GDP). These Bernie deficits are shockingly different. We are right to notice and point out this difference.

That's because he's an unrepentant big S Socialist not a Democratic Socialist or whatever the PR is. Voters don't care, though. They see him as the best option that signals there are very serious structual problems with America. Same as with Trump in 2016. The fact that he is stubborn or rough around the edges gives him more credibility as an "F you" vote. His whole career has been an F you to the system (albeit with nothing to show in terms of legislation). Voters like that. They have been pulling the F you lever in the ballot box for several election cycles now.

I'm not a socialist, or a Bernie fan, but I don't think the tags #TheGreatForgetting or #moodaffiliation really capture it.

Instead, I'd say most voters are "low information" and making their bet based on imperfect knowledge. This allows great grand schemes to gain momentum with shallow understanding or commitment.

Remember "build the wall?"

So that (equally stupid plan) didn't work, now try socialism.

Naturally I'd prefer greater voter engagement and scholarship, but that's always been a minority commitment. Perhaps we can still hope that the rank and file will take seriously endorsements from people who can do the math.

Ask Arizona if build the wall isn't working. Their trouble spot is down 90% on crossings. Add the pressure Trump put on Mexico to stop the caravans, illegal crossings are down 78% from the surge last year. The wall is being build, and Trump just got the OK from the courts for $7 billion more.

That's not the problem with "the wall," it's that it was a canard, and did not in fact restore fortunes in the red states.

Hell's bells, we need to drop tens of billions of emergency aid on the red States because the wall and the trade war didn't have the promised effect.

The check is still in the mail, because the premises were always false

The elephant in the room ( coincidentally a Republican symbol) that no one mentions is the cost of the meaningless wars we wage and the ever increasing "offense" budget . Any possibility of savings by reducing that expenditure?

Defense (while too big) is comparably tiny as a share of the budget at around 10% of GDP?

All well and good, but:
it's a good thing there are still checks on a President's power;
name a Presidential candidate who didn't promise what they can't deliver or have no intention of delivering;
Every single Democratic hopeful is multiple times better than our current President Porn.

I'm a big believer in path dependency. We get a present based on the past, with limited degrees of change.

Our future now hinges on a critical decision. If Republican Senators refuse to hear complete evidence and acquit, we get one future. If they remove, we get another.

If they acquit, and we get a Democrat who is "creative" with executive power .. does anyone here really want to live in that world?

It would be wild (and possibly criminal) pendulum swings for decades to come, and then who knows what. At that point your dependency is on a very bad path.

In a sensible non-partisan world, the President would testify under oath.

He would owe that to all citizens.

An honest politician would use the truth, under oath, to define the narrative.

I admit it. This made me laugh.

Yeah that’s not in the realm of possibility and never has been.

Bolton, Hunter and Joe Biden should all be called as witnesses though.

Let’s hear the truth. Schumer should cut a deal for testimony.

Call Obama as well. Biden admitted he was involved when bragging about his own corruption regarding the Ukraine.

" we get a Democrat who is "creative" with executive power .. does anyone here really want to live in that world?"

We lived through that for th most of the last decade. The guy coming after trying to clean up gets impeached for it. So, I guess we agree, the answer is no.

"The guy coming after trying to clean up gets impeached for it."

Evidently, Obama was Ukraine's president.

If it be so, I'd either want to be on staff at one of the government officials' dachas - I've always thought I might like to be "in service" in a grand home - or else the job of light filing in that desk-on-a-lift T.C. linked to yesterday. I think I'd make a cock-up of the job of killing people.

At this point Tyler is just reacting to whoever seems most likely to win the Democratic nomination. If mood affiliation is what it takes to fight a republican party that has unified behind an atavist would-be dictator, so be it.
Tyler, if it's fiscal responsibility you want, why are you not working to fix the so-called party of fiscal responsibility? If Bloomberg got the Republican nomination we'd all be happy, right? Instead you are delivering these sermons to people who are obviously your opponents, and your pretense of objectivity just makes you sound pompous.

Well Obama had a big black cock and as a prominent economist I liked to be invited over to the White House to be turned into a pincushion. Hillary would have given some good strap-on action. Trump was an unknown quantity, those old guys don’t have the firmness - that’s the real reason I don’t like Bernie.

It's pretty scary that the guy who recently declared "Let’s be clear: Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights." That's the sane Democrat. Joe Biden. I'll like Joe Biden even more if he makes a speech claiming to be the first transgender Biden to attend university. That would be cool.

Biden should have m -> f surgery himself, to gather more diversity points. This would also demonstrate commitment.

If you want socialism, Brett should google the amount of civilians the DoD employs, the amount of military and their dependents spend on medical costs, retirement costs, and disability costs.

"Anyone but Trump..not so fast"

Ah yes, Bret Stephens, Mr. Zeitgeist himself. The NeverTrumper with an asterisk.

I would argue that Joe Rogan is more representative of the politcal moderate with the complexity, nuance, and incoherence of the real voter than some stereotypical MSM Coastal Centrist with their disdain of flyover country.

A real "socially liberal, fiscal conservative" would be:

1. NRA member/Walmart/Target/Whole Foods shopper
2. Ban Straws wants to save sea Turtles
3. Has a dog
4. Looks Out For Bikes walks on the greenbelt on the weekend
5. Has military and even possibly gay friends
6. Support his Local Farmers Market
7. Watches porn but is for women's rights
8. Intuitively realizes US healthcare system is shat, but has no real world baseline or experience to compare it to
9. Consistently votes for candidates that agree the Iraq war is pointless, might have been caught up in the Russia hysteria in the beginning

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