A Commentary By John Stossel
Never before have presidential candidates offered voters so much "free" stuff.
Kamala Harris wants you to "collect up to $500 a month."
Elizabeth Warren says, "We need to go tenfold in our research and development in green energy."
No one has tracked the cost of all of the promises. So my video team did!
Who will spend the most?
Here are the new spending proposals from the five most popular (according to ElectionBettingOdds.com) candidates.
In my latest video, we break it down by category, education spending first:
Joe Biden wants to "triple the amount of money we spend for Title I schools" ($32 billion) create "universal pre-K" ($26 billion), provide "free community college" ($6 billion per year) and double the number of psychologists and social workers in schools ($14 billion) -- $78 billion total.
That's a lot, but much less than what Kamala Harris would spend.
She too wants to "make community college free" ($6 billion), but she'd add debt-free "four-year public college" ($80.1 billion), "increase government's investment in child care" dramatically ($60 billion) and "give the average public school teacher a $13,000 raise" ($31.5 billion) for a total of $177 billion.
Pete Buttigieg rarely says what his proposals would cost, but he at least seems to want to spend less than Harris.
He touts "free college for low- and middle-income students" and would give teachers more money. Assuming his plan is like Harris', that brings his education total to $87 billion.
Elizabeth Warren would spend much more.
"You'll be debt-free!" she tells students. Taxpayers, unfortunately, will be deeper in debt, since she would "forgive" most existing student debt and make public college tuition free ($125 billion).
She also wants a "Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act" ($70 billion).
These big-ticket items put her in first place so far.
But wait! Bernie Sanders would spend even more.
He'd completely "eliminate student debt," "make public colleges and universities tuition-free" and provide universal day care and pre-K. That totals $280 billion, so Sanders "wins" in education spending.
I assumed the self-described socialist would be the biggest spender, but he's got lots of competition! Let's look at health care spending.
Harris, Sanders and Warren all propose "Medicare for All," including for people here illegally.
Sanders goes further, saying, "Under our plan, people go to any doctor they want." He admits it will cost between $3 trillion and $4 trillion per year, about what the government now spends on everything. How will he pay for that? Well, somehow the rich will pay. Or Martians. Somebody.
Sanders, Harris and Warren all said they'd ban private health insurance -- although Harris now says she'd let private companies sell "Medicare plans" that "adhere to strict Medicare requirements on costs and benefits." She also claims her "Medicare for All" will be cheaper than Sanders' version, but as of now there is no independently calculated cost.
When it comes to the environment, all Democratic candidates but Biden say they support the Green New Deal, which Republicans say would cost $93 trillion. For our ranking, I went with the lowest estimate we could find: An economist who likes the idea says it will cost around $500 billion a year.
Welfare? Harris would increase benefits and have the government pay your rent if it's over 30% of your income ($94 billion), and Friday she offered $75 billion to black colleges and minority entrepreneurs.
Warren wants to spend more ($50 billion) on housing.
Sanders would increase food stamps for kids ($10.8 billion), boost Social Security benefits ($19 billion) and guarantee everyone a government job ($158 billion), for a total of $187.8 billion.
President Donald Trump, who says America will never be a socialist country, hasn't been a responsible spender either.
Since he took office, spending increased about $500 billion per year. Trump did propose some cuts, but when Congress ignored his cuts and increased spending, he signed the bills anyway.
Now he says he'd spend even more: $200 billion a year for infrastructure, $8.6 billion for the border wall construction, $1.6 billion for more NASA funding and on and on, for a total of $267 billion.
We can't afford it! The federal government is already $22 trillion in debt -- $150,000 per taxpayer.
While Trump's $267 billion is bad, the Democrats' plans are worse. We counted $297 billion proposed by Biden, $690 billion from Buttigieg, $3.8 trillion from Warren, $4 trillion from Sanders and $4.3 trillion from Harris. That would double what the entire federal government spends now.
Senator Harris "wins" the free stuff contest.
John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2019 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
See Other Political Commentaries.
See Other Commentaries by John Stossel.
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.