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Raise Taxes on the Middle Class Before It's Too Late

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If taxpayers want it, they have to pay for it.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren “has a plan for that.” Except, that is, for financing Medicare for All.

The Democratic presidential candidate has been taking heat for refusing to say whether she would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for her health-care ambitions. But we don’t have to wait to know the bottom line: Overall, the middle class will have to pay more.

Indeed, even without any of the new programs Warren or her Democratic rivals would put in place, the broad middle class — households that aren’t in poverty but that also aren’t in, say, the top 1 or 2 percent — will likely be on the hook for a higher tax bill.

To see why, let’s look at some budget projections. As currently configured, spending on Social Security and major health programs — Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Obamacare insurance subsidies — will total $2.3 trillion in 2019, or 10.2% of gross domestic product. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that in 2049, this combined spending will grow to 15.5% of U.S. GDP.

Interest payments on the national debt are also expected to increase over the next 30 years. Meanwhile, all other federal spending — on the military and national defense, education, transportation, research, international affairs, the federal statistical system, the FBI, space exploration, safety........

© Bloomberg