1/22/2020

The economic policy of Elizabeth Warren

"1. She wants to ban fracking through executive order. This would enrich Russia and Saudi Arabia, harm the American economy ($3.5 trillion stock market gains from fracking), make our energy supply less green, and make our foreign policy more dependent on bad regimes and the Middle East. It is perhaps the single worst policy idea I have heard this last year, and some of the worst possible politics for beating Trump in states such as Pennsylvania.
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6. Student debt forgiveness: The data-driven people I know on the left all admit this is welfare for the relatively well-off, rather than a truly egalitarian approach to poverty and opportunity. Cost is estimated at $1.6 trillion, by the way (is trillion the new billion?). Furthermore, what are the long-run effects on the higher education sector? Do banks lend like crazy next time around, expecting to be bailed out by the government? Or do banks cut back their lending, fearing a haircut on bailout number two? I am genuinely not sure, but thinking the question through does not reassure me.

7. College free for all: Would wreck the relatively high quality of America’s state-run colleges and universities, which cover about 78 percent of all U.S. students and are the envy of other countries worldwide and furthermore a major source of American soft power. Makes sense only if you are a Caplanian on higher ed., and furthermore like student debt forgiveness this plan isn’t that egalitarian, as many of the neediest don’t finish high school, do not wish to start college, cannot finish college, or already reject near-free local options for higher education, typically involving community colleges.

8. Health care policy: Her various takes on this, including the $52 trillion plan, are better thought of as (vacillating) political strategy than policy per se. In any case, no matter what your view on health care policy she has botched it, and several other Dem candidates have a better track record in this area. Even Paul Krugman insists that the Democrats should move away from single-payer purity. It is hard to give her net positive points on this one, again no matter what your policy views on health care, or even no matter what her views may happen to be on a particular day..."