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Monday, November 18, 2019

Dem Debate: Warren Debunked; Looking At Amy And Pete

This is a devastating report on Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All proposal and her inability to explain in the Tuesday debate how she would pay its enormous cost ($84 trillion over 10 years). It also questions how well her wealth tax proposal could cover all the programs she is proposing (free college, universal child care and pre-school, etc.)

In the debate, Andrew Yang raised an important question: how come many European countries have tried and abandoned the wealth tax? She did not answer. From what I’ve read, the reason was difficulty enforcing it. It would require a huge increase in IRS policing.

The IRS would be in the business of determining what rich peoples’ assets are (homes, jewelry, art, boats, gold, offshore bank accounts etc). The IRS would become a hugely intrusive agency—which the rich would brand as a Gestapo in resisting it. Moreover, it has not a wisp of a chance of getting through Congress even if Democrats won the Senate. (Remember, Bill Clinton couldn’t get a BTU tax passed by a Democratic Congress.)

On top of that, there are major questions whether the wealth tax is constitutional. It took the 16th Amendment (ratified 1913) to establish an income tax and a conservative Supreme Court likely wouldn’t approve it if it somehow passed Congress. So the bottom drops out of many of Warren’s many plans. She’s a formidable, energetic candidate who wouldn’t be intimidated by Trump. I suspect (fear) she’ll be the Democratic nominee—whereupon Republicans will tear her agenda apart: she  may be a declared capitalist, but favors heavy government regulation of the private sector and sky-high taxes, and has  a hostile-sounding attitude toward all corporations good or bad.   

In the latest debate, I thought—contrary to many media analyses— that Warren was not a winner: accusing other candidates of lacking courage when they disagree with her was appropriately rebuked by Mayor Pete. (He was a winner, sensible and articulate on issues, though his proposal to recast or pack the Supreme Court is fraught with danger—further politicization of the judiciary.)

Pete ought to be the Dem veep candidate: he’s only mayor of a small city, not experienced with national or foreign policy, but surely capable of learning fast. Amy Klobuchar also was a winner—as some reviewers have agreed—and I hope she’ll rise in the polls and get more contributions, enough to become the most likely inheritor of the “moderate lane” if Joe Biden fades.

As matters stand, Biden likely can beat Trump and I thought (contrary to many analysts) that he had a good debate performance. He was firm, decisive and mostly mistake-free. But he is very conventional at a time when the public is turned off by conventional politics.

Also, corrupt or not, his allowing son Hunter to take lucrative foreign jobs in Ukraine and China shows cluelessness and will be used by Rs to attack him. Amy represents freshness, feistiness, experience, a winning record in the heartland and moderate-progressive policy (public option for Obamacare, higher income taxes on the rich, a ban on assault weapons without mandatory hand-backs, immigration reform without decriminalization of unauthorized entry or open borders etc) which is squarely where the public is on most issues.

She showed in the Kavanagh hearings that she has the moxie to stand up to Trump in debate. I’m sorry other moderates are falling away—Bennet, Bullock, Delaney—but the fact they are leaves Amy as the most viable one left. I thinks she’d be a better nominee than Biden, actually.

Mort Kondracke
Mort Kondracke
Morton Kondracke is a retired Washington, DC, journalist (Chicago Sun-Times, The New Republic, McLaughlin Group, FoxNews Special Report, Roll Call, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal) now living on Bainbridge Island. He continues to write regularly for (besides PostAlley) RealClearpolitics.com, mainly to advance the cause of political reform.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree. She’s smart, she’s a woman and she has experience reaching across the aisle to make things happen. Sounds like a winner to me.

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