No doubt you have heard the phrase: “campaign promises are like pie crust: they are made to be broken.” The first time something like that was uttered was back in the seventeenth century. That shows you how skeptical people have been when a candidate makes a promise.
The Democratic presidential candidates are making some extreme promises. Jim Geraghty put together a shortlist from candidates he refers to as “charlatans.”
Bernie Sanders promises no one will ever have to pay for public colleges or universities ever again. Elizabeth Warren promises that no American parents will pay more than seven percent of their income on childcare. Kamala Harris promises the average teacher will receive a $13,500-per-year raise. Peter Buttigieg will cut the number of incarcerated Americans by half without an increase in crime. Andrew Yang promises that every adult citizen will receive $1,000 per month from the government, forever. And don’t forget Joe Biden, who promises that the government will cure cancer once he is elected.
Certainly, these candidates must know they can’t deliver on these promises. There is the obvious question of cost. At a time when the federal government is $22 trillion in debt, where do they think we would get the money to pay for all of these outrageous promises?
But a more important question is: Where do these candidates get the confidence that the government could even deliver on some of these promises? All you need to do is look at the last few presidential administrations that have had scandals and ineffective responses to everything from terrorist attacks to the Great Recession. We have so-called “shovel-ready projects” that turned out not to be so shovel-ready. We have had veterans waiting for care because of incompetence at the VA. The Affordable Care Act certainly hasn’t made health-care more affordable.
These candidates are making promises they can’t keep, and I suspect the voters know that.