I just finished watching a CNN town hall with Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar. While Senator Klobuchar was as centrist as I thought she was, her sincerity and honesty will give her staying power in the race. Even though I have nothing against Klobuchar, her centrist policies make her an unacceptable candidate to me.
Klobuchar’s policies have the following problems:
- She is not for single-payer health care.
- She doesn’t support free college
- She wants to leave a so-called doughnut hole in Social Security tax funding.
- Her response on climate change was too simple.
- Her answers on gun control were not enough.
- Her answers on taxes were good but not quite enough.
In order to keep this from getting too long, I’m only going to cover: health care; free college; and Social Security taxes. If you’re interested in my thoughts on more of Klobuchar’s ideas, let me know in the comment section.
Instead of supporting Medicare or Medicaid for all, Senator Klobuchar favors creating a public option that would allow people to buy into Medicaid. The public option approach, while a big improvement on what we have now, doesn’t go far enough.
- I could see companies, like they did after passage of the Affordable Care Act, refusing to cover employees or drastically reducing benefits to make people choose the public option. In other words, companies would force the government to pay the cost of health care for their employees.
- The public option wouldn’t help people who couldn’t afford it.
- It wouldn’t reduce the cost overruns of several insurance companies and their individual bureaucracies.
The public option was acceptable in 2010–it’s insufficient now.
Klobuchar doesn’t support free four-year college. She would provide free two-year college and trade schools instead.
Klobuchar’s plan continues the shame that makes college attendance far more likely for children of middle-class and wealthy families. The income of one’s parents shouldn’t make them far more likely to attend two-year school or a trade school than they are to attend a four-year college. In America, students should be able to attend the post-secondary program of their choice–regardless of parental income.
Social Security Tax Doughnut Hole
Under current law, income earned over roughly $132,000 isn’t taxed for Social Security purposes. Klobuchar proposes keeping the current payroll tax structure in place and adding a new bracket where the tax would be reinstituted. She didn’t tell us where the tax would begin again.
To explain this, let’s assume Klobuchar set the new Social Security tax bracket at $500,000. Everyone with an income between roughly $132,000 and $500,000 would pay less than the full Social Security tax rate. So, the question is: why does someone earning $450,000 deserve a lower Social Security tax rate then someone earning $30,000?
Amy Klobuchar is a good candidate. She clearly has a demographic that will support her. While Klobuchar would be far preferable to centrists like Biden and O’/Rourke, she isn’t progressive enough for me.
Sadly, there wasn’t a single question asked about people with disabilities.