Medicare for All: Leaving No One Behind

Bernie Sanders has posted an outline of his Medicare For All proposal. I’ll let you read the proposal to see the benefits. I will just make some comments here on a part that I take slight exception to.

The Plan Would Be Fully Paid For By:

  • A 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers.
  • A 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.
  • Progressive income tax rates.
  • Taxing capital gains and dividends the same as income from work.
  • Limit tax deductions for rich.
  • The Responsible Estate Tax.
  • Savings from health tax expenditures.

These taxes may or may not be good policy, but they have nothing to do with “paying” for the healthcare benefits.

The idea that the Federal Government has to collect taxes to “pay” for this program is a tired myth that became irrelevant 55 years ago when Richard Nixon took the country off the gold standard. How much in taxes we collect, and how much the government spends depend on a lot of factors, but a country like the USA can never “run out of money”. I don’t care what the corporate Democrats or the Republicans say, the federal government via the Federal Reserve Bank creates US money at will. Federal Reserve Bank Chairmen from Alan Greenspan to Ben Bernanke have been telling this to Congress for years. (I don’t have an official quote from Janet Yellen of her saying the same thing, but I am sure she understands this.) When Alan Greenspan told this to Representative Ryan, Ryan’s ears were closed from taking in this unexpected answer to the question Ryan asked. (See the previous post Greenspan: “There is nothing to prevent the government from creating as much money as it wants.”)

It is a sad commentary on the state of the myth building in this country that Bernie Sanders has to cater to the false notion of how our money works in order to make his proposal sound plausible.

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