$50 Trillion …With a T

By Chris Rochester

MADISON, Wis. – One of the Democrats running against Speaker Paul Ryan could be an expensive choice for voters if his own rhetoric is to be believed.

Randy Bryce, who likes to milk his public persona as a moustachioed “everyman” ironworker, outlined his economic agenda on Monday at the Wisconsin Council of Machinists. The plan is familiar to anyone versed in far-left big government manifestos – most of it seems to have been plucked straight from the Bernie Sanders platform.

And it comes with a similarly eye-popping price tag: $50 trillion.

Bryce, a candidate for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, told the union members he supports a $15 minimum wage, increased infrastructure spending, and new regulations on scheduling employees. His website also presents a laundry list of big government schemes ranging from a slate of new regulations on employers, sops to unions, a $1 trillion green energy spending program, and “Medicare For All.”

Long a dream of the far left, “Medicare For All” would create a national single-payer health care system and effectively socialize all of medicine. And it isn’t cheap – the price tag has been pegged at $32 trillion over 10 years, a jaw-dropping figure that Bryce struggled to defend on CNN.

“There’s a lot of people that are getting away with not paying their fair share in taxes right now,” Bryce told the network last summer when asked where the $32 trillion – nearly twice the entire economic output of the United States in 2012 – would come from.

“You want to raise $32 trillion in taxes?” asked host John Berman.

“Well…I’m not saying that…that, we have to look at ways to, um, just increase complete costs. There’s a lot of things that we can look at as far as making things cost-effective,” Bryce said, restating his apparent belief that raising taxes on the rich could somehow cover the massive tab of his “Medicare For All” quest.

Bryce has said the $1.5 trillion Republican tax cut should have been put toward “Medicare For All.” Interestingly, after excoriating the Ryan-led bill as a “#TaxScam” just two months ago, on Monday he called for the extension of the middle-class tax cuts it contains.

Bryce seems to be using both sides of his mustached mouth when talking about the federal tax overhaul.

“It’s a horrible bill,” Bryce said of the sweeping GOP tax overhaul when it was before Congress in December. “Unless you’re a billionaire or a multi-millionaire, you’re not going to see any benefit from this,” he stated in a campaign video posted at the time. Bryce was hopping on a bandwagon of Democrats who derided the tax cut plan as “armageddon,” a conservative coup d’état, and the end of the Republic, among a slew of other overheated claims about the long-overdue tax overhaul.

Those claims of doom and gloom fell spectacularly flat as the tax cuts, signed into law by President Donald Trump just before Christmas, began to yield immediate dividends for American workers. More than 4 million Americans – many of them not billionaires or multi-millionaires – have already gotten raises, bonuses, enhanced retirement contributions, or other perks as a direct result of the reform, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

But $1,000 bonuses and $15 minimum wages voluntarily instituted by companies are just “crumbs,” according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California). Former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) echoed the sentiment.

“I’m not sure that $1,000, which is taxed, taxable, goes very far for almost anyone,” she said.

Bryce agrees, repeatedly tweeting that the tax cut is designed to benefit the rich and not the middle class.

“The GOP’s tax bill isn’t helping working families…It’s lining the pockets of people like @realDonaldTrump,” he tweeted, ignoring that an estimated 80 percent of taxpayers will get a tax cut averaging $2,100 in 2018.

Other estimates say 90 percent of Americans will see a tax cut, which Bernie himself said is a “very good thing.”

With new polling showing 51 percent of Americans now in support of the tax law just weeks after the new rates went into effect – up from 37 percent in December – it looks like a majority of Americans disagree with Pelosi, Wasserman Schultz, and Bryce.

Costly single-payer utopias and confused opposition to tax cuts aren’t the only pet liberal causes Bryce touts. He’s also calling for a mandated $15 per hour minimum wage, another long-sought bullet point on the far-left, unionista checklist. But according to a study by the Heritage Foundation, a $15 federal minimum wage would cost Wisconsin 138,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Nationwide, 7 million people would be out of work if this plank of the Bryce platform were to make it into law.

Bryce and his ideological allies have yet to offer more than platitudes about “millionaires and billionaires” when asked how they’d pay for their budget-busting new spending schemes, which amount to $18 trillion, according to the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute Health Policy.

That doesn’t include the Bernie-Bryce “Medicare For All” plan, which would blow another $32 trillion hole in the budget.

Simple math shows that the price tag of Randy Bryce’s plans adds up to $50 trillion. That’s nearly 15 times the entire annual federal budget and nearly 2.5 times the current $20.7 trillion national debt.

If the ballyhooed “blue wave” hits Wisconsin’s First Congressional District this fall, America’s “millionaires and billionaires” – and everyone else who pays taxes – should get ready to whip out their checkbooks.

Chris Rochester is the Communications Director for the MacIver Institute.