Our Opinion: Who’s going to pay for all this?
Promise-them-anything Democrat candidate for president Julian Castro was under fire last week from fellow liberals — for not promising Americans enough.
Castro, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama, announced last weekend that he is running for the top office. His platform will include “Medicare for all,” massive spending on “alternative” energy, universal preschool and paid tuition for all to attend college for two years, Castro said.
Two years? Not enough, Castro’s critics reacted. Why other liberals are promising four years of paid tuition.
Questioned about that by The Associated Press, Castro backpedaled. “At least the first two years of college or university or apprenticeship program should be tuition-free — and preferably four years,” he told a reporter.
Perhaps Castro’s initial misstep was a result of thinking about the numbers. They tend to add up. Paying for all the freebies promised by some liberal candidates for president would eat up about twice what the federal government collects each year in taxes, some analysts have noted.
Even the small portion of free tuition would be an enormous new burden on taxpayers. Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, who never tires of pledging that, if elected, he will deliver all the goodies, admits free tuition for four years of higher education would cost at least $70 billion a year. He footnotes that by adding he includes only public colleges and universities in his calculations.
But don’t worry, Sanders adds. The federal government would have to come up with only $47 billion a year. The remaining $23 billion would be dumped on the states.
It is early in the process of selecting nominees for president in the 2020 election. Thus far, however, Democrat leaders have encouraged ultra-liberal big spenders. Any hint of fiscal responsibility, such as that Castro demonstrated — if only briefly — is slapped down.
That grand strategy may gain lots of applause from certain crowds. Eventually, however, someone will ask the relevant question: Who’s going to pay for all this?