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July 22, 2016

The Democratic Convention Will Be a Buffet of Vote-Buying and Phony Promises

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

Franklin no doubt had this year’s Democratic convention in mind, which is set to be a four-day effort to buy votes with taxpayer and employer money.

You will hear one convention speaker after another complain that the U.S. isn’t spending enough on this project or that interest group. You will hear that the U.S. is the stingiest country in the world—even though we are actually the most generous developed nation on earth.

You will hear that anyone who opposes all these proposed spending projects must be heartless, self-obsessed, and, most of all, greedy.

What you won’t hear is that Democrats are doing their best to buy your votes with your money. Just consider some of their proposals.

Expanded Social Security. Social Security is bankrupt, but that isn’t stopping Democrats from proposing expansions of benefits.

On paper the Social Security Trust Fund appears to have $2.8 trillion stuffed away. But the government has borrowed all that money and spent it, leaving IOUs in its place.

The government cannot use that money to pay benefits without taking it from some other part of the budget, or by raising taxes. And even if you assume that Trust Fund money is real, the feds only have enough funds to pay full benefits until 2034—just 18 years away.

However, seniors have been voting heavily Republican in presidential elections, and Democrats are looking for a way to lure them back. So expect plenty of phony promises on Social Security.

Free college tuition. Bernie Sanders wants college to be free—read: taxpayers pay for it—while Hillary Clinton came up with a more limited, means-tested giveaway. But she isn’t getting much love from the 20-somethings who supported Sanders, so she’s since upped her handouts.

Of course, some 60 percent of Americans don’t have a college degree. So the Clinton plan means that those working individuals without a degree will be taxed to pay for a degree…for someone else.

Free health care. Sanders wanted a “Medicare for all” health care system, even though Medicare is in worse financial shape than Social Security. Clinton has been less generous, not for financial reasons, but political ones.

She was part of the Obama administration when Obamacare passed, so she can’t really acknowledge its widespread problems and unpopularity. Instead, she wants to “improve” it, primarily by lowering deductibles and copays and increasing subsidies, which means taxpayers will foot the bill.

Oh, and she wants to allow illegal immigrants to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, though she’s resisted openly supporting taxpayer subsidies to help pay for that coverage. But since some other Democrats are pushing to include subsidies, it’s only a matter of time before Clinton ups her bribe—I mean proposal.

Higher wages and more benefits. So far, we’ve been talking about how Democrats want to use taxpayer funds to buy votes, but that’s not the only pot of cash they want to tap. Employers have money, too.

Democrats are demanding an increase in the minimum wage, from the current $7.25 an hour to $15, which will come out of employers’ pockets.

And since proponents argue that the increase is all upside—i.e., no one will lose their jobs because employers can’t afford the increase—why not $20 an hour?

I could go on, but you get the point. These proposals cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and might cost us our republic, as Franklin warned. But if they can buy enough votes to put the Clintons in the White House and the Democrats in control of Congress, they will consider it a price worth paying—especially since it’s taxpayers and employers footing the bill.


 

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