In Bernie Sanders’ fantasy world, Americans are just itching to pay more in taxes to get all the free stuff he’s promising. “I suspect that a lot of people in the country would be delighted to pay more in taxes if they had comprehensive health care as a human right,” Sanders has claimed. To his credit, Sanders hasn’t been shy about the fact that to pay for his Medicare for All plan he’d have to raise taxes on the middle class.
Who exactly are these Americans who are salivating over the idea of paying more taxes to get “free” healthcare? Have you met any? I haven’t. There’s a reason Elizabeth Warren doesn’t want to admit she’ll have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for her plan.
Still, Bernie doesn’t deserve any points for honesty, because even those who support Medicare for All in principle don’t want to pay for it.
According to a recent Rasmussen poll, only 39 percent of likely voters even support an expansion of Medicare to include all Americans, compared to 46 percent who oppose it. The highest level of support Medicare for All has ever received was two months ago, and that was only 41 percent.
As concerning as it is that support for Medicare for All is even that high, even those who want it aren’t willing to chip in for it. According to Rasmussen, “when told that making Medicare available to all may cost Americans more in taxes, 46% are not willing to pay any more each year.”
Another 18% are willing to pay only $100 more a year in taxes for Medicare for all. Twenty-nine percent (29%) are willing to pay $300 or more per year, with five percent (5%) who are ready to pay more than $1,000 in additional taxes.
Among voters who favor Medicare for all, 17% aren’t willing to pay any more in taxes, and 27% are willing to pay only $100 more per year.
In other words, supporters of Medicare for All are far more generous with other people’s money than their own. Elizabeth Warren knows this, which is why she’s desperately trying to prove that only the super-rich will have to pay for it. Bernie Sanders knows people don’t want to pay more for it either. As a one-percenter himself, he doesn’t pay his “fair share” of taxes, he gave less than one percent of his income to charity, and bought his third home back in 2016—a lakefront property, by the way.
According to the Rasmussen poll, 57 percent of Democrats favor Medicare for All, but a third of them don’t want to pay any more in taxes to make it happen. If Democrats can’t sell Medicare for All to their own party, the proposal isn’t going to go anywhere.
While Barack Obama may be the last person on earth who should be warning 2020 Democrats that they should be pushing proposals rooted in reality, the point he made is still very much true. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it,” he said. Clearly, they don’t want to pay for it either. That we’re still talking about proposals like Medicare for All, free college, free childcare (free everything?) is a testament to just how radical the Democratic Party has come. Heck, even Obama is holding his hands up and saying slow down.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis