Point Counterpoint: Is Sanders’ fiscal policy feasible? Counterpoint: Let’s be real, Ryan would be a better choice

With an uninspiring set of candidates for the Republican Party’s lineup, and one man whose hands are far too small to afford him my endorsement, the man for the job is Paul Ryan, whose ascendancy to the nomination will be contingent upon an unlikely set of circumstances: 1) Trump does not reach the 1,237 delegate count, 2) The convention is brokered, and a nominee must be chosen, 3) They choose Paul Ryan and 4) Paul Ryan accepts the nomination.

It’s a long shot, but the party needs a facelift, and – nobody tell Trump about this – actual policy.  

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Ryan has sufficiently proven that he can provide that.

For those whose recollection of 2012 is scant, his “Ryan Plan,” despite the repeated insistence of its “draconian” nature, would have balanced the budget by 2040.

Onto Bernie Sanders: Sarang cites economist Robert Gordon, who asserts that “inequality, slowing pace of education, changes in demographics and a dwindling tax coffer” are to blame for slowed growth.

The first two would seem to be directly under the policy domain of the Sanders campaign; but while Gordon relies on data from economists Saez and Piketty, they themselves acknowledge in their paper, entitled “The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective,” that “Casual examination of the series constructed suggests income concentration and growth are not systematically related.”

Onto policy: Sanders is against free trade, NAFTA, for starters, and cites the 1994 trade bill as the culprit in the decline of manufacturing jobs.

The problem with his reasoning is that manufacturing jobs have been on the decline since almost immediately after World War II, and NAFTA had little impact on that trend.

Sanders supports a “Medicare for All” plan, a single-payer-style healthcare system. But he seems to have fabricated much of his savings projections.

Kenneth Thorpe, who was originally in charge of crafting Vermont’s single-payer plan, notes several glaring discrepancies in Sanders’ plan:

While Sanders asserts that his plan would save $324 billion in prescription drug costs, Thorpe notes that “In 2014 private health plans paid a total of $132 billion on prescription drugs and nationally we spent $305 billion,” which would mean that Sanders’ plan is also a scheme to make money, which is impossible. (Sanders later dropped that savings projection to $241 billion after this was pointed out.)

Sanders asserts that eliminating elective plastic surgery procedures would save $160 billion; but, as Thorpe notes, these expenditures total only $12 billion per year. He seems to create $148 billion in savings with one signature overenthusiastic hand gesture.

There are many more obvious issues with Sanders’ plan, but the Ryan alternative is the Patients’ Choice Act, which would bring the healthcare market back in the private sector, where it has not been for decades.

On college education, Sanders desires tuition-free public universities.

He endorses no plan to control the rising costs of education, and only changes who fronts the bill: naturally, Wall Street, with a tax of 0.5 percent fee on stock trades, 0.1 percent fee on bonds and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives.

These small estimates, though, betray what could be prohibitively expensive – and not just for Wall Street, but for everyone.

Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, remarks that Sander’s Wall Street tax runs the massive risk of relocating investment abroad.

According to Edwards: “Sanders needs to realize that we live in a global economy, so raising taxes on mobile activity like stock trading just makes the tax base vanish — we would shoot ourselves in the foot.” The issue of affordable education aside, it simply couldn’t be done without prohibitive economic damage.

Ryan himself said back January that the prospects of his candidacy due to a brokered convention are slim; but that was long ago, and the dreadful notion of Trump reaching the general election will hopefully apply pressure on his intransigence to run. Republicans should pin their faith on Ryan.