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New Report: Dissecting Progressive Policy Proposals

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press release

New Report: Dissecting Progressive Policy Proposals

December 8, 2022

New York, NY – The progressive movement claims to have bold, ambitious legislative proposals to enact Medicare for All, slash the Pentagon, tax the rich, and bring about a Green New Deal. However, a close reading of leading progressive bills and proposals reveals that they are largely empty of policy substance, deferring on the details and opting for vague, unimplementable slogans.

In a new Manhattan Institute report, senior fellow Brian Riedl scrutinizes progressive policy plans in four major areas, and finds that progressive leaders have not been able to convert ambiguous ideas into concrete legislative plans. Leading proposals make grand promises of new benefits, and then simply appoint a commission or government agency to figure out how to make them work. This is not likely an oversight, Riedl suggests, but rather a predictable outcome of campaign talking points that are contradictory, unworkable, or mathematically impossible. He challenges progressive leaders to do their homework if they are to move from empty promises to a serious policy agenda.

Specifically, Riedl analyzes the following initiatives:

  • Medicare for All: Leading bills punt on key specifics, Riedl writes. Single-payer proposals detail generous new health benefits for Americans but fail to specify any system that would produce the promised efficiency savings, or lay out any hypothetical tax policy to replace private health premiums.

  • Taxing the Rich: America already has the most progressive tax code in the entire OECD. But even if the U.S. combined nearly every progressive tax proposal to build the highest tax rates in the developed world, the total revenue would be $10.8 trillion over the next decade—not nearly enough to cover the projected baseline budget deficit of $15 trillion, nor the more than $50 trillion in 10-year costs for progressive proposals like Social Security expansion and free college.

  • Large Defense Cuts: Progressives offer pledges without proposals. Adjusted for inflation, defense spending has already declined for most of the past 15 years. Leading progressive defense proposals fail to specify the promised cuts, and simply assign others to find them later.

  • Green New Deal: Progressives promise to plan a proposal later. The Green New Deal vaguely assigns others to come up with plans later, rather than answering fundamental questions such as which policies must be enacted, how families and businesses could incorporate said policies, and how much temperature change could reasonably be achieved by such policies.

Click here to read the full report.

Contact:Nicolas (Nic) AbouchedidPress Officer(574)707-9494nabouchedid@manhattan-institute.org

  

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