An interesting poll came out the other day. (“Poll Watch,” The Week, Feb 8, 2019, pg. 17) Fifty-five percent of Americans favor receiving a health care plan through Medicare, but only 37% would be willing to raise taxes for it. Presidential aspirant, Kamala Harris, and Senator Bernie Sanders imagine they can make the rich pay — even as they propose a tax cut on the middle class. Unfortunately, the bill they submitted in Congress went nowhere. People with sharp pencils concluded their legislation would cost $33 trillion dollars in the first decade. (“Talking Points,” The Week, Feb. 8, 2019, pg. 17)
“Taxing the rich” to pay for universal health care is jingoism much like the old, “a chicken in every pot.” Proponents forget the rich are adept at avoiding taxes. Didn’t Donald Trump admit as much during the 2016 campaign? Largely, they secure their money by putting it in illiquid assets such as property, art, or privately held companies, enterprises that aren’t taxed like income. (“Taxing the rich” The Week, Feb. 8, 2019, pg. 16.)
As they don’t need it, I’m not surprised the rich don’t want to pay for universal healthcare. Unfortunately, the middle class is averse, too. Given the universal reluctance, how are Harris and Sanders to fund their project? Simple. A Flat Tax. Malcom Forbes, a two times Presidential candidate, proposed it a while ago but, except for a few Republicans, no one listened. The Democrats haven’t touched the idea, mainly because the Republicans liked it. Even so, the idea is far from revolutionary. Both Medicare and Social Security are flat taxes.
True, a flat tax lies heavier on the middle class than the rich, but as a buffer against increasing healthcare costs, it might be a fair trade-off. Some states have already adopted the idea and reaped financial benefits. It’s simple math. When tax loopholes disappear, everybody pays.