Pete Buttigieg grilled Elizabeth Warren for not answering the middle class tax question during the CNN/New York Times debate on Tuesday night.
Reporter: Mayor Buttigieg, you say Senator Warren has been “evasive” about how she’s going to pay for Medicare for All, what’s your response?”
Buttigieg: “We saw it tonight. A yes or no answer that didn’t get a yes or no answer. Look, this is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general and Capitol Hill in particular. Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi trillion dollar hole in this Medicare for All plan that Senator Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”
Warren is avoiding the reality that middle-class Americans would have to pay more in taxes — as Bernie Sanders notes is necessary — to fund “Medicare for All.”
“Yeah, [we’d have to] raise taxes on the middle class,” Sanders told a CNN reporter after the July debate.
Yesterday, ATR released a compilation video of the 17 times that Warren has dodged the question.
Warren repeatedly dodged the question in September during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. An exasperated Colbert tried to offer advice about the “taxes that perhaps you’re not mentioning.”
In July, Warren got into a heated exchange with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews while refusing to answer Matthews’ question on middle class tax hikes. She also dodged the question during the CNN and ABC debates.
In POLITICO Jeff Greenfield noted that Warren could be holding back an admission that Medicare for All will lead to higher taxes for the middle-class because she is worried about losing voters.
This leaves an obvious question that will follow her through the campaign: “Bernie Sanders is frank enough to acknowledge the obvious, and then explain it. Why won’t you?” The answer may be as simple as: If you say you will raise middle class taxes, an unmeasurable but likely significant number of voters simply will not bother to wait for the rest of your explanation.
As ATR noted earlier, Medicare for All would require anywhere from $32 trillion and $36 trillion in higher taxes over the course of the next decade.