Let me preface this by saying that I first became familiar with Warren back in the days of the 2008 meltdown, when she was often on CNBC providing her commentary on the events as they unfolded.
She was not controversial, not political, and not argumentative. Seemed like a very lovely person, very intelligent, very interactive and personable.
As she entered public service, however, I became less and less impressed with her. Her ideas on government policy became less and less pragmatic, and more and more ideological. She started to propose policies that were clearly designed to be popular with the masses who don’t really understand the economy, but less and less sound on economic grounds. She was “moving with the herd”, that herd being the progressives, and honing her proposals to appeal to that audience.
When she got into the presidential race, being an economics wonk myself, I thought “you know, Trump’s an ass, this is a Democrat I could get behind. Surely she won’t, being an economist, do anything to break the economy.”
Then it started:
- Ranting against billionaires. No serious economist thinks that the fact that we have a lot of billionaires is an economic negative. They may throw their money around in a way that influences legislation over and above the regular Joe, but most of our “billionaires” list tends to be Democrat, which kind of makes Democrats complaining about billionaires weak tea; it’s just red meat for the masses.
- Corporate Tax Rates. Sticking the corporate tax rate back up to 35% is ridiculous. Even Obama recognized this, and proposed it be lowered to 28%, which is the high end of international competitiveness. Proposing 35% is economic foolishness, and encourages our corporations to offshore more and more of their business functions. But, it plays well with the crowds.
- The M4A funding matter. Both Warren and Sanders tried to softsoap the financial cost of a true M4A system. Europe’s middle class pays 3X the effective tax rates our middle class does; it’s just logical that if you want Europe’s bells and whistles, you’re going to have to tax the citizens in a similar way. The voters don’t tolerate (for very long) politicians who answer major questions with “Trust Me.” (It’s been said that both parties in the US live in a fantasyland. Democrats live in the fantasyland that they can have Euro-style benefits by taxing only the rich; Republicans live in the fantasyland that they can pay for American-style benefits by taxing nobody at all. Both notions are totally unrealistic.)
- The M4A structure. You want M4A? Fine. There is absolutely zero reason, other than pandering to an ideology, to make private health insurance illegal. Set up your M4A next to the private system and may the best system win. The citizen wins either way. Support for M4A crashes when it’s the only option that exists. Voters like choices, and in this case, there’s no reason not to give it to them — — except for ideology.
- But, by far, the coup de grace was her health care funding plan’s TIMING. It was designed to phase in various benefits at different times, making it “affordable” using palatable funding schemes for the first decade. In the second decade……the bills would come due, necessitating the aforementioned doubling or tripling of the individual middle class tax rate. This struck me as unbelievably cynical, since after that decade (a) Warren would be safely out of office, (b) M4A would be an unrepealable part of our social welfare structure, and (c ) the masses would blame whoever was in office at the time (probably a Republican, because we tend to switch parties in the White House when we switch presidents).
That;s just off the top of my head. You can believe she’s “out” because of her sex if you wish…..but to me, that’s ignoring the fact that many of her proposals were considered extreme by the center-left voters and independents she needed to attract, and cynical by those knowledgeable of the economy.