Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — who was polling toward the bottom of the candidate pool when she first announced her campaign — is steadily rising in the polls. Warren is projected to be the front-runner over former Vice President Joe Biden, and CNN actually labeled her as its poll front-runner on Thursday.
While Warren is becoming increasingly popular, a closer inspection of her policies shows her ideas are outlandish and, in some cases, unconstitutional. She has been caught in several lies of omission and commision that she could not explain her way out of, which led to her being publicly lambasted at the last debate. Her rhetoric and incoherent policies show that Warren is a weak candidate in comparison to her current opponents.
One of Warren’s proposals includes Medicare for All, a stance that an increasing amount of Democrats are taking. However, she has consistently dodged the specifics of how she will pay for it. When asked during the most recent October Democratic debate if middle-class families will pay more in taxes, Warren said, “costs will go up for the wealthy and for big corporations, and for hardworking middle-class families, costs will go down.” Her nonanswer provided a glaring target for numerous other candidates to attack.
In a recent interview, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, D-Ind., said, “[Warren] was more specific and forthcoming about the number of selfies she’s taken than about how this plan is going to be funded.”
Biden also highlighted the absurdity of her proposal by pointing out how much this will actually cost, saying she is “conning the American people.”
“The plan is going to cost at least $30 trillion over 10 years,” Biden said. “That is more on a yearly basis than the entire federal budget.”
The current federal corporate flat tax rate is 21%. In 2017, the corporate tax rate raised $297 billion in revenue, which is 9% of the federal budget. Even if Warren increased the corporate tax rate to 100%, everything else being static, it would not come close to paying for Medicare for All. However, Warren did announce other ways of collecting revenue.
Her wealth tax policy, which is remarkably similar to the “tax on extreme wealth” policy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., would implement a 2% tax on the net worth of households worth more than $50 million and a 3% tax on households worth more than $1 billion. Not only would this raise a mere $220 billion per year in revenue, but this is potentially unconstitutional as it is a direct tax on individuals who have already paid income taxes. Direct taxes, such as property taxes and taxes on assets, are illegal under Article 1 Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. Andrew Yang targeted this proposal, saying that it historically does not hold water.
“A wealth tax makes a lot of sense in principle,” Yang said. “The problem is that it’s been tried in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and all those countries ended up repealing it because it had massive implementation problems and did not generate the revenue that they projected.”
With nowhere else to turn, Warren would inevitably need to increase all tax brackets to avoid exponentially increasing the federal deficit.
But, unfortunately, her list of plans doesn’t stop there. Another of Warren’s asinine policies includes a borderline communist mandate, of which she incomprehensibly calls “accountable capitalism.” This proposal compels every large corporation in America to have 40% of its board elected by the employees. This effectively allows low level workers, such as cashiers or waiters, to have almost full control over their own wages, which would immediately bankrupt the company when they certainly elect someone to vote for substantial pay increases.
This also blatantly violates the free market principles of consensual agreement of labor for compensation, namely working for a wage that is determined by the worker and the employer. Most people in this country want to independently negotiate their salary with their bosses, since there is only a 6% private sector unionization rate in America. The reason why unions have declined in popularity is because their operating model is not compatible with a free market economy, so effectively precipitating them into existence would be detrimental to both the general economy as well as laborers.
Warren claims she’s not “punitive” and the heads of the corporations didn’t build the roads on which they founded their business. However, she fails to mention that the top 1% of earners pay more than a third of collected income tax and the top 25% of earners pay 86% of collected income tax. So in reality, the heads of corporations pay for the roads they worked on, the police departments who protect the city and the firemen who save lives more than anyone else.
During the debate, Warren highlighted other areas of contention. While her policies are atrocious, her rhetoric is just as bad. Warren says that she is bewildered as to why “anyone would call her punitive,” but she is suspiciously willing to jump the gun on the most recent impeachment scandal with President Donald Trump.
”Donald Trump broke the law again in the summer, broke it again this fall,” Warren said. “No one is above the law, and that includes the president of the United States.”
With no hard evidence of a quid pro quo, even Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, recognized that impeachment is a partisan issue.
“If impeachment is driven by these hyper-partisan interests, it will only further divide an already terribly divided country,” she said. “Calls for impeachment really began shortly after Trump won his election.”
Polls on the impeachment are very split. While more people favor an impeachment inquiry, a minority of people support impeachment. A closer inspection of the partisan gap shows a supermajority of Democrats, nearly 85%, a slim minority of Republicans, around 12%, and about 46% of Independents actually support impeachment.
As Warren is attempting to paint Trump as the enemy, and not just an opponent, she is also trying to derive sympathy from her constituents. In a desperate attempt to appeal to the average American, Warren said, “the rich are not like you and me.” Not only is this a punitive and incorrect statement, as economic mobility is very high, but Warren herself is worth $12 million.
In another vain attempt for sympathy, Warren decided to mention that she was fired for getting pregnant while working. But a transcript of her during an interview has since shown she admitted to quitting on her own accords.
While Warren’s high energy on the campaign trail is appealing, her policies and lies cannot be ignored. If Warren cannot answer simple questions by her Democratic colleagues, she will be lampooned by Trump during the general election.
Hayden writes primarily about politics. Write to Hayden at HWT3@pitt.edu