Guest Post from Max Sawicky

by Max Sawicky

Hillary’s getting a huge free ride on her purported mastery of the mechanics of policy, in contrast to Bernie. I decided to look into just one of her campaign initiatives. She likes to throw around the phrase “universal child care” or “universal pre-K.” But she isn’t proposing universal either. She’s proposing new money for pre-K, which is fine, but a) false advertising, and b) it’s not clear how it would “work.”

Google “Hillary universal child care.” The first thing you get is one of her web pages. On it we are told “Her proposal would work to ensure that every 4-year old in America has access to high-quality preschool in the next 10 years. It would do so by providing new federal funding for states that expand access to quality preschool for all four-year olds.” There’s nothing else from the campaign as far as I looked — 4 or 5 pages of google results.

“Would work to” means “won’t” in this context.

Most of the page is about how great preschool will be, for those who get it, and I’d be the first to agree that it would be. Think Progress informs us, again under that “universal” headline, that HRC also favors a “middle class tax cut” to help parents pay for childcare. To be clear, both of these initiatives deserve praise and point in the right directions.

The rub is that they are no more specific or rigorously motivated than the Sanders proposals that people have been blathering about.

On the strength of rousing approval by a compliant Congress unavailable to Bernie, HRC would supposedly provide a grant to those same evil state governments who couldn’t be trusted to implement single-payer, under a defunct Sanders proposal. Who could say whether the results would be “universal”? Is the money adequate, assuming full participation by the states? Is there anything that would prevent them substituting the money for their own limited programs? These are the usual questions applying to grants-in-aid. There are no wonky answers on her web site.

A published journalist of my acquaintance thinks the page is a real policy proposal, rather than an advertisement. She couldn’t tell the difference. She thought I was talking about a ‘brief summary’ of the proposal and gave me a link to what I was going on, which actually IS a brief summary.

Note that bumping up Head Start does not get you to universal either. It’s fine, but Head Start is a tiny program, relative to the relevant population.

How to “pay for it”? Forget it. They don’t say, not that I care. All the critics of “unpaid-for” single-payer BernieCare evidently don’t care either. Criticisms of Sanders’ vagueness on policy can be applied to HRC as well, if one delves just a little bit.

I look forward to all the deep-dive analyses of HRC’s projected path to universal health care coverage. Are there any? Why not? Because Hillary advocates are too busy blathering about Bernie. Those with policy expertise don’t apply it to Hillary’s treacle.

3 thoughts on “Guest Post from Max Sawicky”

  1. Hi Max! Feeling the Bern???

    “Those with policy expertise don’t apply it to Hillary’s treacle.”

    Luckily we have people like you, Mason and Dean Baker, etc. Keep up the good work!

  2. I detest the “how will you pay for it?” question and all those who harp on it, as if it is some trump card that proves a proposal is impossible.

    The correct answer is, “With taxes, duh”. *


    “Whatever taxes Congress agrees to pass.”

    Maybe you feel that Bernie/Hillary need to provide detailed plans to prove that universal healthcare or childcare is possible in a technical sense. I do not agree, I think they are obviously possible and actually pretty straightforward to implement, but whatever, fine. But there is absolutely no way that you can argue that it is technically infeasible for the government to collect revenue. The government has been collecting revenue for its entire existence.

    This applies to Trump’s wall too. It’s beyond obvious that the USA has the technical capacity to build a big-ass wall and also sufficient money and resources to do so. The question is not “How will you pay for it???”, but rather, “Isn’t this a huge waste of money?” No matter what exotic funding source a politician comes up with for their proposals in the end it will always come directly or indirectly from the general mass of US citizens and residents. The only question is whether what we get is worth the expense.

    *I’d be okay with it if they said “with currency creation” or “with deficit spending” but those are the only things politicians are more afraid of proposing (explicitly) than taxes.

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