The CRFB estimates what it would take to pay for Medicare for All. Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support Medicare for All, a single-payer government health system that would cost $32 trillion over 10 years, according to the Urban Institute. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated what kinds of tax hikes or spending cuts would be needed to pay for the plan. Some of the numbers: a 32 percent payroll tax, a 25 percent income surtax, more than doubling all individual and corporate income tax rates, a 42 percent value-added tax (VAT), a mandatory public premium averaging $7,500 per capita, an 80 percent reduction in non-health federal spending, a doubling of the national debt as a share of the Gross Domestic Product, or some combination. Warren says she’ll say how she’d pay within a few weeks, Sanders doesn’t think he has to release a financing plan.
The federal budget: Good news and bad news. The Senate is expected to pass one of its two combined budget bills this week. It would fund four domestic federal agencies. But Democrats have blocked the second one that includes the Department of Defense. One big hang-up, President Trump’s border wall, of course.
Is it time to rethink unemployment insurance taxes and benefits? New TPC research makes that case. The paper by Ryan Nunn of The Hamilton Project and David Ratner recommend areas of investigation and policy changes in benefit structure, eligibility rules, experience-rated UI tax schedules, and interactions of UI with part-time work. “A better-functioning UI program,” they conclude, “is one that can be more readily expanded in its generosity and reach to enhance the insurance that workers need when navigating a volatile labor market.”
House Ways & Means member Bill Pascrell wants to know about Opportunity Zone “corruption” at Treasury. Pascrell wants Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain alleged “rampant corruption” in the department. At issue: The implementation of the Opportunity Zone program, which provides capital gains tax breaks to investors in designated areas. The New York Times reported that Mnuchin directed Treasury to approve Opportunity Zone status in Nevada to benefit Michael Milken. Treasury denies the allegation. Meanwhile, ProPublica reports on lobbying efforts that secured zone status in a wealthy area of Detroit.
If you can’t ban ‘em, tax ‘em… and make them leave? Tacoma, Washington, is one of several US cities moving to tax gun sales. The city council voted to approve a tax on guns and ammo that mirrors Seattle’s tax. The problem, as The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall): Seattle expected its tax on gun sales would generate $300,000 to $500,000 in annual revenue, but collected only $77,642 last year. Gun stores left town.
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