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Michael Linden
I have some thoughts on this piece by and I am going to keep it relentlessly civil. First off, this is a fair piece. He does what he says he will do. He uses fair estimates of existing proposals and adds them up. Totally reasonable! 1/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
Second, of the $42 trillion number, most of that work is being done by just two policies: The Sanders Version Medicare-For-All ($32 trillion) and a Jobs Guarantee (~$7 trillion). The other 4 or 5 policies together add up to under $4 trillion, or about 1.5% of GDP. 2/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
To put that 1.5% of GDP in perspective, the combined tax cuts of the last two decades have totaled about 1.9% of GDP from 2001-2018 and will cost about 2.4% of GDP through 2025. 3/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
Even if we add back in the jobs guarantee cost, the total price tag is about 4.2% of GDP. If we raised federal revenue by that amount, we'd end up with roughly Canada-level taxation levels (which still would put the U.S. in the bottom 3rd of OECD countries). 4/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
So the question is not really, "how will we pay for the progressive agenda" it's really: "How do we design a financing system for a single-payer health care system?" 5/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
That's a totally fair question that spends some time discussing in his piece (again, in a very fair way). 6/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
Lastly, I want to make a point that I am sure will be controversial: The progressive agenda will boost economic growth and more importantly, will boost wages at the bottom and in the middle. 7/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
That economic affect is not really accounted for in Brian's analysis. Boosting wages and growth up and down the income distribution will mean more revenue collected and fewer costs in other areas of the budget. 8/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @Brian_Riedl
I'm no fan of "dynamic scoring" when doing budget projections, but in an exercise like this, where no one is about to vote on anything, I think it's worth including. 9/
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Michael Linden 7 Aug 18
Replying to @MichaelSLinden
Final final thought: Brian's not wrong that the left has proposed some big and bold ideas! He's also not wrong that there are details that still remain to be ironed out. I do think this particular exercise doesn't land where he thinks it does. 10/
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Brian Riedl πŸ§€ 7 Aug 18
Replying to @MichaelSLinden
Thanks . You make a lot of fair points. Two quick responses: 1) The "only" 4.2% of GDP for the smaller proposals is still a lot considering the underlying CBO baseline deficit also rises to 9.5% of GDP even w/ the TJCA expiring & discretionary plummeting.
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Brian Riedl πŸ§€ 7 Aug 18
Replying to @MichaelSLinden
2) I'd assume negative GDP effects, because $30+trillion in new taxes means stratospheric tax rates that even mainstream economists would show a drag, & the jobs guarantee may slightly hike labor supply but also lower productivity by displacing currently-employed into make-work
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