Senator Elizabeth Warren is known for having “a plan” for everything, but her recent interview with the National Education Association makes it clear that she is far more interested in getting elected than in actually fulfilling any of her campaign promises.
When pressed on how she would provide additional funding for education, Sen. Warren told National Education Association President Lily Eskelson Garcia that “there’s always money. It’s there.” The statement would be viewed as totally outrageous and disconnected from reality had it been made by President Donald Trump. However, since it’s coming from a progressive Democratic candidate, it’s gotten little or no attention from the mainstream media.
Sen. Warren did note in her statement that the government could choose to allot less money to the Department of Defense in order to increase spending for educational institutions. She also stated that a budget is about priorities, which seems to allude to plans to cut spending in some arenas in order to cover her ambitious proposals. However, the fact remains that the United States government never has an unlimited amount of money to work with.
For instance, President Trump has recently asked Congress to provide $713.3 billion for the Department of Defense for 2020. If the DoD received this same amount of money every single year for ten years, and Sen. Warren took all that money to spend on national programs such as free child care, forgiveness for student debt, Medicare for All, and the Green New Deal, she would only have $7 trillion to work with.
Medicare for All, on its own, would cost the nation anywhere from $28 to $32 trillion over the next ten years. Some estimates say that the Green New Deal would cost the nation a whopping $93 trillion over the same period of time. Eliminating student debt would cost an additional $1.6 trillion.
To say that “money is there and it’s all about priorities” shows extreme naïveté about basic financial principles. The United States may be a wealthy nation, but it does not have an unlimited amount of cash. The amount of money a government can generate depends, in large part, on how much tax revenue can be raised. If the economy is booming and doing well, tax revenue should rise as people and businesses make considerable sums of money. In an economic downturn, people aren’t making money, and tax revenue would decrease. In any case, there is always a limited amount of cash available for the government to spend.
The money isn’t “always there,” which is why fellow Democrat presidential candidates such as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden have made it clear that Sen. Warren’s assertions that she can pay for her programs don’t represent reality. Biden has accused Sen. Warren of “making up” her funding plans while Buttigieg has accused Warren of not being honest with the public about how much her programs will cost. This accusation led the Warren campaign to go after Mayor Pete and accuse him of “repeating Republican talking points.” The campaign did not bother to offer additional explanations or evidence.
If Sen. Warren wins the primary and is elected President of the United States, it’s hard to see how she will fulfill her many unrealistic promises to her base. Money does not, in fact, grow on trees, and the progressives who put her in office may be in for a rude awakening.