Stephen Colbert Calls Out Elizabeth Warren for Refusing to Say Whether She’ll Raise Middle Class Taxes


Late night host Stephen Colbert called out Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren over her consistent refusal to say whether middle-class taxes will need to increase in order to fund “Medicare for All,” but ultimately failed to get an answer.

On Tuesday night’s edition of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Colbert made reference to the frequent attempts to get an answer to this question, then took his own best shot.

“You keep being asked in the debates, how are you going to pay for it? Are you going to raise the middle class taxes?” Colbert said.

“Right,” Warren said.

After a comic pause, Colbert asked “How are you going to pay for it? Are you going to raise the middle class taxes?”

“So here’s how we’re going to do this,” Warren said, launching into her familiar response. “Costs are going to go up for the wealthiest Americans, for big corporations…”

“Taxes which is what you mean by ‘costs’?” Colbert interrupted.

“Yes. And hardworking middle-class family are going to see their cost goes down…” Warren continued.

“But will their taxes go up?” Colbert pressed.

“Here’s the thing,” Warren began, but Colbert cut her off again.

“Here’s the thing,” he said. “I’ve listened to these answers a few times before, and I just want to make a parallel suggestion to you that you might defend the taxes, perhaps, you’re not mentioning in your sentence.”

He then proposed a message that would acknowledge the taxes, saying “Isn’t Medicare for All like public school? There might be taxes for it, but you save money sending your kids to school, and do you want to live in a world where your kids aren’t educated? Do you want to live in a world where your fellow Americans are dying?”

“I accept your point and believe in your point,” Warren said, but then launched into a lengthy response that did not address the question of a middle class tax increase, but rather focused on the dysfunction of the current system, and her claim that middle class families will pay less, on balance, under Medicare for All.

Both Warren and Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have been pressed on this point repeatedly, at the debates and elsewhere. Sanders’ response has been to acknowledge the taxes, but to point toward the overall reduction in costs when the elimination of premiums and out-of-pocket costs are factored in, and to yell at Jake Tapper for asking.

Warren’s strategy has been to acknowledge the tax increase in everything but name, making essentially the same argument as Sanders without actually using the words “middle-class taxes will go up.”

But neither Warren nor Sanders address the millions of Americans who pay very little in premiums for their employer-sponsored health care, and whose average out-of-pocket expenses are $0 a year.

Watch the clip above, via CBS.

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