Tag Archives: Debt

Elizabeth Warren’s health care plan: how much will it cost, how much will your taxes rise?

Elizabeth Warren seems to be the likely Democrat nominee, so it it makes sense for us to take a look at her policy proposals and count the cost. Her signature proposal is a plan to outlaw private health insurance and move everyone to government-run health care, paid for though mandatory taxation. How much will that cost, and how much will the taxes on the middle class go up in order to pay for it?

Before we go too far with that, take a look at the budget numbers. I got these from the web site of the Democrats in the House of Representatives:

The 2019 federal budget, according to House Democrats
The 2019 federal budget, according to House Democrats

According to the House Democrats budget web site, the 2019 federal budget has $3.451 trillion in revenue, $4.411 trillion in spending, for an annual deficit of $-960 billion. And keep in mind that we are $23 trillion in debt already. This would be like saying that your annual income is $34, 510. You’re spending $44, 110 per year. You are adding $9,600 to your debt every year. And you are already $230,000 in debt (and paying interest on that).

In other words, America is in no position to be spending more money. We’re already in debt, and adding to the debt each year. So how much more money would you have to spend for Elizabeth Warren’s health care plan?

For months, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D—Mass.) has hedged on the question of whether she would raise middle class taxes to pay for Medicare for All, the single-payer health care plan she says she supports. Warren has stuck with a talking point about total costs, saying that the middle class would pay less, while critics, political rivals, and even liberal economists friendly to single payer have argued that the enormous additional government spending required by such a plan would inevitably hit the middle class.

Today, Warren released a plan to finance Medicare for All at a total price tag of nearly $52 trillion, including about $20 trillion of new government spending (an estimate that is probably low). Although her plan declares that no middle-class taxes will be necessary to finance the system, it includes what is effectively a new tax on employers that would undoubtedly hit middle-class Americans.

So , Warren admits that the total cost of her plan is $52 trillion over 10 years. Warren needs to come up with $5.2 trillion per year to pay for her plan. Is there that much money available by taxing only the wealthy?

The wealthiest Americans don’t have enough money to cover even $2 trillion in additional spending – assuming they continue to work in America as much as they did before the government took MOST of their earnings:

CRFB reinforced their prior work indicating that taxes on “the rich” could at best fund about one-third of the cost of single payer. Their proposals include $2 trillion in revenue from raising tax rates on the affluent, another $2 trillion from phasing out tax incentives for the wealthy, another $2 trillion from doubling corporate income taxes, $3 trillion from wealth taxes, and $1 trillion from taxes on financial transactions and institutions.

Several of the proposals CRFB analyzed would raise tax rates on the wealthiest households above 60 percent. At these rates, economists suggest that individuals would reduce their income and cut back on work, because they do not see the point in generating additional income if government will take 70 (or 80, or 90) cents on every additional dollar earned. While taxing “the rich” might sound publicly appealing, at a certain point it becomes a self-defeating proposition—and several proposals CRFB vetted would meet, or exceed, that point.

So, Warren is going to have to lean on the middle class for the remaining $3.2 trillion, even if the rich hold still while the government takes 70-90 percent of what they earn. (Unlikely)

Warren likes to tell everyone that her plan will make costs go down. I guess she thinks that government oversight of health care will be more efficient than private sector oversight of health care. Maybe she believes that people in government are more careful about spending taxpayer money than people in private businesses are about spending their own money? In any case, studies from centrist and center-left think tanks disagree with Warren:

Warren and her defenders will likely try to shift the discussion back to total costs, but that’s just a way of repeating the dodge that has dogged her campaign for much of the year. Warren will no doubt claim that costs would go down under her plan, but there are reasons to doubt this, including an analysis from health care economist Kenneth Thorpe finding that under a Sanders-style plan, more than 70 percent of people who currently have private insurance would see costs increase, as well as an Urban Institute analysis projecting that single-payer plans would raise national health care spending by $7 trillion over a decade.

All we have right now to weight against these studies is Warren’s own words, as a candidate wanting to win a popularity contest.

Warren herself says that there would be enormous job losses in the health care industry:

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren admitted Wednesday that Medicare for All could result in two million lost jobs.

In an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio, the Democratic presidential contender said she concurs with a study from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that said socialized medicine would probably have a devastating impact on the those working in the current private health care industry.

This would create similar health care shortages and waiting lists (with people dying on waiting lists) that we see in single-payer systems such as Canada and the Veteran’s Affairs health care system. Except far worse.

And keep in mind that the middle class pays for health care in Canada:

Socialized medicine in Canada anything but free. The [Fraser Institute] think-tank reported that the average Canadian family spends over $12,000 in taxes on government-funded health care.

That is how single-actually works. We need to look at how single-payer health care works in reality, and not form our opinions of it based on a candidate’s WORDS during an ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Let’s look at evidence, and not just vote for things that sound good and make us feel good and make our friends like us.

New study: outstanding student loans reduce a woman’s odds of marrying

The best majors for women to avoid student loan debt
Top 10 majors with the highest median earnings for women

First, the study, which was published in Demographic Research.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND

With increasing levels of student loan debt, the path to economic stability may be less smooth than it was for earlier generations of college graduates. This paper explores this emerging trend by assessing whether or not student loan debt influences family formation.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study is to examine whether student loan debt delays marriage in young adulthood, whether or not the relationship between student loan debt and marriage differs for women and for men, and if this relationship attenuates during the years immediately after college graduation.

METHODS We estimate a series of discrete-time hazard regression models predicting the odds of first marriage as a function of time-varying student loan debt balance, using a nationally representative sample of bachelor’s degree recipients from the 1993 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (N = 9,410).

RESULTS We find that the dynamics of loan repayment are related to marriage timing for women, but not for men. Specifically, an increase of $1,000 in student loan debt is associated with a reduction in the odds of first marriage by 2 percent a month among female bachelor degree recipients during the first four years after college graduation. This relationship attenuates over time.

CONCLUSION Our study lends support to the proposition that the financial weight of monthly loan repayments impedes family formation in the years immediately following college graduation – however, only for women. This finding questions traditional models of gender specialization in family formation that emphasize the economic resources of men.

I think that a woman who is serious about studying something that will allow her to get a job related to her field so she can quickly pay off her loans in the first few years is a very good sign of RESPECT for a man, and for his role as primary/sole provider. Men choose tough majors / trades for a reason, and they do tough jobs for a reason. When a woman chooses something hard to study and then chooses a hard job to do to pay off her loans, it’s showing to her man that she respects what he is doing to provide for the family. I think this is something that parents need to encourage young women to do, but so often parents focus too much on spiritual / emotional concerns instead of practical wisdom when leading their kids.

When a woman asks a man to work to pay for the marriage – with all the costs of home, furniture, diapers, tuition, etc. – she is asking him for a commitment to work until he is 65. That is a lot to ask, and it is very hard to accept this from a woman who doesn’t understand the difficulty of earning and saving money.

So what do I recommend to a woman? I recommend she do a STEM degree, pay off her debts, guard her chastity, marry young when she is fertile, have a few years of work to pay off student loans and get used to the workplace, demonstrate ability in apologetics and mentoring others, etc. A wife needs to have a lot more skills than just being pretty and young. There are things she has to do in the marriage – things that take preparation. The more accustomed she is to hard work and self-sacrifice, the easier she will take to her role in the marriage. Women who are used to having to do hard things that they don’t feel like doing make the best wives and mothers. It’s something that a woman can grow into, if she lets herself be challenged to grow.

My friend Amy is fond of telling me that people usually adapt to their friends. So if all your friends are very spiritual and impractical, and they don’t have jobs or savings, then chances are you’ll be like them, too. To get out of debt, don’t take financial advice from people who, in their own lives, show no evidence of knowing what to study, how to find a job, how to save money, and so on. Instead of pushing away the people who “rain on your parade” with wisdom, grab them and keep them close. Watch what they do. Talk to them about your finances. Rely on them to hold you accountable for choosing a good major, updating your resume, and continuously growing your salary, through annual raises or job changes. That’s how you get better.

I don’t say these things in order to make women feel bad, or limit their freedom unnecessarily. I tell women to make good decisions to prepare for marriage, to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice, to choose the right men, to not be scared away by strong providers and men with moral and religious convictions. Although on one level, women can be scared off by men who have firm and definite convictions, they need to understand that these men are the most reliable men to marry. Men who don’t make demands on women usually don’t respond well to demands that women make on them. A strict moral and theological framework can seem scary to a woman – she might feel scared that she could be rejected. But it’s exactly these convictions that ground a man’s ability to keep loving her, to stick with her, and to encourage and support her as she grows.

Instead of being frightened by men who ask her to do good things, she should view it as an asset, not a liability. And the more she listens to his leading and grows, the more independent and capable she will be. She will feel better about doing hard things and playing a role. Better than she would feel about always choosing the easy way and then finding herself without accomplishments. Demanding men can be bad, but not if the demands they make are to build the woman up. The demand that a woman be serious about paying her debts with a real plan might seem scary to some women, but the study shows that this is good advice for her to be more attractive – to any man who might want to marry her.

Elizabeth Warren and AOC agree: give convicts and illegal immigrants welfare, enact rent control

Elizabeth Warren is telling people that we have 11 years to live
Elizabeth Warren has a much better way to spend the money you earn

This week, Warren and AOC announced their support for giving taxes paid by U.S. citizens, permanent residents and people here legally on work permits to illegal immigrants. Watch the video below, and read the story, and ask yourself whether you think it is your job to pay for welfare for people who wouldn’t even go through the process of coming into this country legally.

Here’s a short video clip from Fox News:

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren endorsed a Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) policy proposal that includes taxpayer-funded welfare benefits for illegal immigrants.

Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal, dubbed “A Just Society,” calls for nationwide rent control and bans the federal government from denying welfare benefits based on an individual’s immigration status and previous criminal convictions. Warren became the first Democratic presidential candidate to endorse the plan, calling it “just the type of bold, comprehensive thinking we’ll need” to make “big, structural change.”

[…]Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal, consisting of six separate bills, calls for the expansion of welfare. Bills three and four make it illegal for the federal government to deny welfare benefits to ex-convicts and illegal immigrants.

[…]The last bill in Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal establishes health care, housing, and healthy food as government-provided rights.

[…]The legislation does not address how to pay for the rising cost of welfare, nor does it explain how it would accomplish its goals.

Remember, AOC and Warren already have the Green New Deal on the table, and the cost for that is $94.4 trillion over 10 years. So where will they get the money for this new plan? Would they do it with their own money? No, they want to do it with your money. They want to do it with your employer’s money. They want to do it with the money earned by the companies in your 401K plan. 

By the way, regarding the rent control. If there is one thing that you learn in Economics 101, it’s that rent control policies do more harm than good. It causes a shortage of living space for the poor, because the people who rent out living space cannot make enough money as they can in other investments. So, they stop investing in rental properties.

The Free Beacon article notes:

Ocasio-Cortez’s second bill, titled “The Place to Prosper Act,” calls for federal rent control by imposing a 3 percent national cap on annual rent increases. Similar legislation has failed at the local level amid concerns that such policies increased housing prices while limiting supply. A recent study by the American Economic Association found that San Francisco rent control policy “drove up market rents in the long run, ultimately undermining the goals of the law.” The Council of Economic Advisers found that in 11 metropolitan areas with housing regulations, deregulation would reduce homelessness by an average of 31 percent. More than 80 percent of economists surveyed by the University of Chicago in 2012 found rent control to be bad policy.

This is not controversial. Harvard University economist Greg Mankiw is the author of a very widely used economics textbook. In his textbook, he has a section where he reports on what economists (academic and professional) agree on, across the ideological spectrum. The number one item on the list, with the highest level of agreement, is that rent control does not work.

He writes:

My textbook covers business cycle theory toward the end of the book (the last four chapters) precisely because that theory is controversial. I believe it is better to introduce students to economics with topics about which there is more of a professional consensus. In chapter two of the book, I include a table of propositions to which most economists subscribe, based on various polls of the profession. Here is the list, together with the percentage of economists who agree:

  1. A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. (93%)

You can read the rest of the list on his blog, but AOC and her ally Elizabeth Warren probably disagree with all of them. And that’s who the American left are looking to for leadership. People with no knowledge. People with no achievements. People who have never solved economic problems in the private sector in their entire lives. Warren and AOC have no demonstrated achievements in the area of economic policy. There are just speaking words that make them feel good, and get applause. They don’t know what happens next, if they ever get their ideas put into law.

If you’re not already paying off your debts and saving money, you’d better start. Because when these Democrat demagogues get power, you are going to feel the effects of their economic illiteracy where you live and where you work. Remember Obamacare? We lost our doctors, we lost our health plans, and the costs of our health insurance went up. If you elect an imbecile to make policy decisions, you will be made to feel the effects of your choices.

What will the Republican and Democrat plans for the economy mean for you?

Pretty soon, our mandatory expenses will consume all of our tax revenues
Pretty soon, our mandatory expenses will consume all of our tax revenues

I found two very good articles about the Republican and Democrat plans for taxing and spending. On the one hand, there’s an article about the effects of the Trump tax cuts, posted at the Washington Times. On the other hand, there’s an article posted at the radically leftist Vox, about the cost of Democrat party spending plans. I wonder which one is better for you and your family?

First, let’s look at the effects of the Trump tax cuts:

Almost immediately, numerous employers — including Boeing, AT&T, FedEx, CVS, and others — began offering bonuses to their employees. Nearly 200 companies, including Walmart, announced wage hikes due to the 2017 tax cut. Still others enjoyed higher contributions to their retirement plans.

The benefits soon went beyond that, however. The tax cut contributed to the strong economy we’ve been enjoying, leading many businesses to hire more and more workers. The United States added more than 2.6 million new jobs in the year following the passage of the tax cut — nearly a 25 percent increase from the previous year.

Unemployment is way down, with jobless claims at their lowest since 1969, thanks in large part to the tax cut.

[…]The Heritage Foundation used IRS data to produce a special report last year that shows how widespread the tax benefits truly are.

They found that in 2018 taxpayers would save an average of $1,400. Even better, married couples with two children would save more than twice that: $2,917.

So, that sounds pretty good if you’re a taxpayer. You got to keep more of the money you earned, and spend it on the things you wanted for yourself and your loved ones. If that money had gone to government, then government employees would have taken half for their own salaries and benefits, and then the rest might have been spent in a wasteful way by someone who never earned it.

By the way, you might think that taking less money from the people who earn it would cause tax revenues to go down. But that’s not the case. Whenever you allow job creators and workers to keep more of what they earn, they work harder and take more risks developing better products and services. This naturally results in more revenue to the government from increased economic activity. In Feburary of 2018, after the tax cuts were in effect a whole year, federal revenues were $1.4 billion HIGHER than the previous year.

But let’s see what the Democrats can do for the taxpayer, by looking at this article in the far-left Vox.

It says:

Sanders has proposed a Social Security expansion, including higher cost-of-living adjustments and higher minimum benefit levels, that the liberal Tax Policy Center estimates will cost $188 billion over the next decade.

The Tax Policy Center also scores the Sanders “free college” proposal at $807 billion over the next decade. (Note that free college benefits students from wealthy families and those whose tuition is currently affordable.)

Next, the center estimates that Sanders’s proposal of up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for new parents and for people with serious health conditions would cost another $270 billion.

Those costs, however, pale beside the cost of replacing private insurance, including copayments, with a Medicare-for-all plan. The liberal Urban Institute estimates that Sanders’s single-payer health plan would add $32 trillion in federal costs over the decade.

[…]Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Democrats also want to guarantee a job for anyone who wants one, at $15 per hour plus benefits. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, commissioned a report by outside scholars Darrick Hamilton, William Darity, and Mark Paul that estimates the cost of a more modest proposal along these lines (with a lower wage, for example). It suggested the cost would be $56,000 apiece for 9.7 million enrollees, for a total of $6.8 trillion over the next decade.

[…]Finally, Senate Democrats have promised $1 trillion for new infrastructure, and House Democrats are rallying around legislation to pay off all $1.4 trillion in student loan debt — both of which the far left generally supports. I will exclude vague promises such as universal pre-K and expanded special education funding.

Total cost: $42.5 trillion in new proposals over the next decade, on top of the $12.4 trillion baseline deficit.

OK, that does sound like a lot of money, but the rich are just sitting on trillions and trillions of dollars that they aren’t even using, right? So the total cost of all this spending is only $42.5 trillion of new spending and $12.4 trillion of existing spending, for  a total of about $55 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. I’m sure that if we just raised taxes by 5% on the rich, we could easily raise 10 times that amount, right?

Not quite.

In 2011, the Tax Foundation explained that even if you taxed ALL THE INCOME from all the people who make $200,000 or more, you would only raise $1.53 trillion dollars:

So taking half of the yearly income from every person making between one and ten million dollars would only decrease the nation’s debt by 1%. Even taking every last penny from every individual making more than $10 million per year would only reduce the nation’s deficit by 12 percent and the debt by 2 percent. There’s simply not enough wealth in the community of the rich to erase this country’s problems by waving some magic tax wand.

Finally, to put everything in perspective, think about what would need to be done to erase the federal deficit this year: After everyone making more than $200,000/year has paid taxes, the IRS would need to take every single penny of disposable income they have left. Such an act would raise approximately $1.53 trillion. It may be economically ruinous, but at least this proposal would actually solve the problem.

Now, if I were a rich person making over $200,000 a year, and someone came along and told me they would take all of it, I would not continue to work. And I doubt they would either. But taking all this money from “the rich” would just barely cover the BASELINE deficit of $12.4 trillion over the next 10 years. It would not cover the new $42.5 trillion of Democrat spending plans.

Think about that. What that means is that can’t pay for their spending even if they take every penny from “the rich”. Do you know what that means? It means they’re going to have to take money from YOU, the ordinary middle class American taxpayer. Something to keep in mind.

New study: 1 in 8 divorces is caused by student loan debt

I like to make plans in advance and calculate everything out before I try to do anything. This is the curse of being a software engineer. We’re taught to take a test-first approach to design. So, when I think about marriage, I naturally think about what tests marriage is supposed to pass, and work backwards from there to requirements for each of the spouses.

Here’s some research from CNBC that might help young people to avoid a divorce, if they respect the research in their choices.

Excerpt:

When it comes to student loan debt, “for richer, for poorer” doesn’t quite cut it.

In general, finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a study by SunTrust Bank, but student debt takes a particularly hard toll on a marriage.

More than a third of borrowers said college loans and other money factors contributed to their divorce, according to a recent report from Student Loan Hero, a website for managing education debt.

In fact, 13 percent of divorcees blame student loans specifically for ending their relationship, the report found. Student Loan Hero surveyed more than 800 divorced adults in June.

Here is a link to the full study from Student Loan Hero.

I think in general, you can’t just do whatever you want before marrying and jump into it unprepared. Marriage involves specific requirements in order to work, such as being faithful to your spouse, and buying things that you need for the marriage enterprise, like a home, and baby stuff. It doesn’t make any sense to say “I want to get married” and then not prepare for marriage by being careful about preparing for the behaviors marriage that requires of you. Being debt-free is one of those behaviors that marriage requires of you.

So how can we be debt-free, so that the marriage will be stable? Well, one way to be debt-free is to find a way to learn skills that will allow you to get a job without going to college, like being a self-taught software engineer. One of my friends actually did that, and now he’s with a very good software company as a remote worker. But if you’re going to go to college, you can avoid debt by studying something that will get you a high-paying job when you graduate.

This 2017 article from Harvard Business Review is interesting.

It says:

Examining 46,934 resumes shared on Glassdoor by people who graduated between 2010 and 2017, the researchers looked at each person’s college major and their post-college jobs in the five years after graduation. They then estimated the median pay for each of those jobs (also using Glassdoor data) for employees with five years of experience or less. Their key finding: “Many college majors that lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering are male dominated, while majors that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences and liberal arts tend to be female dominated, placing men in higher-paying career pathways, on average.”

Here’s the plot, and you can click it to expand it:

Starting salaries by major, broken out by gender
Median salaries by major, broken out by gender – don’t study things at the bottom!

As you can see from the graph, it’s especially important to share the message about choosing a major, salaries and student loan debt with WOMEN, because as the graph shows, they tend to choose the wrong majors, if the goal is to pay off student loans and avoid divorce. Everyone who wants marriage to go smoothly needs to choose majors that are near the top of the graph, like nursing, chemical engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering. It doesn’t make sense to go to college if you aren’t going to graduate in one of these high-paying fields.

As you might expect from the graph, women hold the majority of student loan debt, according to the Boston Globe, and that’s because women tend to choose majors that don’t result in good-paying jobs. And we already saw how this becomes a risk factor for divorce.

Student loans delay marriage and children

Another interesting piece of data, reported by The Consumerist, is that people with student loans tend to delay marriage, which means the couple has fewer children:

As consumers navigate life’s financial journey, they are faced with major financial milestones, like buying a home. But student loans are also delaying consumers from reaching these goals.

Survey respondents report delaying homeownership (23 percent), buying or leasing a car (23 percent), having children (10 percent) and getting married (9 percent) because of their student loan burdens.

So, it’s not just that there is an increased risk of divorce from student loans, but there’s also fewer children, which means a diminished legacy. I can’t speak for how others would see this, but for myself, I want to pass on my beliefs to as many effective, influential Christian children as I can.

Anyway, I feel obligated to post a relevant Dave Ramsey video, just to remind everyone that stewardship of money is a Christian virtue, and that being forgiven by Jesus for your sins doesn’t automatically make you good with money. It takes planning and stewardship.

This one from 2014: (H/T Robb)

 

When I was in high school, I was far more interested in becoming an English teacher than I was in becoming a software engineer. It was my Dad who overruled my choice of college major when I was still in high school. He had me take a first-year English course at a local university. When I saw how politicized and useless it was (they were studying all sorts of politically correct postmodern relativist stuff, instead of the Great Works, and they weren’t trying to learn any wisdom from any of it), I chose computer science. I did what was likely to avoid divorce, and likely to support having many children.