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Democrats’ race for White House getting interesting

When even liberal and left-leaning columnists start criticizing Democrats and their shaky promises of free stuff, you know there’s trouble.

Syndicated political columnist Froma Harrop’s piece published in this newspaper Sept. 22 did just that.

In that column, Harrop pointed out that Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts still is refusing to say what taxes she would raise to cover her “Medicare for All” health care plan.

Harrop pointed out that Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ similar vision — a single-payer plan that does away with private coverage — would cost an estimated $33 trillion over 10 years.

Warren also has shared expensive vows to make four-year college free, cancel student loan debt and provide universal day care for children, among other things.

Sure, it all might sound good, but as they say, if it seems too good to be true …

House Budget Committee Republicans have provided their numbers indicating that eliminating existing private health care coverage and imposing a single-payer health care system touted by some of the Democrats would cost $3.2 trillion per year. Free college for all would come in at around $125 billion annually.

No problem, Warren says, just raise taxes on the rich.

But former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers tells us the “wealth tax” Warren proposes would generate just $25 billion to $75 billion per year.

Even liberal local presidential candidate Tim Ryan says Warren and Sanders are far too liberal to get either of them elected.

In a recent interview with this newspaper’s political writer David Skolnick, Ryan, D-Howland, knocked their “Medicare for All” plans, among other things, including their calls for bans on fracking.

“That can’t be the position if we want to win. If the position (they) are taking stays the same, it’s going to be very hard to beat (Republican President Donald) Trump,” Ryan said.

He’s right, but it appears things are about to get interesting.

With Sanders’ recent health problems that have curtailed his campaign and the president’s impeachment inquiry triggered by issues involving popular Democratic contender former Vice President Joe Biden, change is in the wind.

Warren is picking up steam. She’s surpassed Sanders in many polls and is in a close race for first with Biden. But even with those gains, she would be on shaky ground if she were to go up against Trump, poll numbers have shown.

And now, as she rises, some business leaders are expressing alarm, the Associated Press is reporting. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg was heard in leaked audio published this week by The Verge saying of Warren, “If someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”

Now Warren is hoping new publicity stemming from pushback by corporate giants whose tech businesses she wants to break up will help her continue to gain momentum.

Warren and Sanders are testing how far Democratic voters are willing to go in taking on some of the nation’s wealthiest citizens and most powerful companies. They argue that the concentration of profits on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley have hurt the middle class, so introducing a wealth tax and curbing the power of mammoth companies will improve the well-being of everyday Americans.

That could be risky at a time when our country is facing economic downturn and polarizing political divide. And let’s not forget that many middle class Americans rely heavily on continued success of tech giants as they keep a close eye on the bottom line of their 401(k) retirement accounts.

CNBC last week reported that Democratic donors with ties to big business might boycott the election or even vote to re-elect President Trump if Warren wins the party nomination.

Warren responded with comments and tweets that seem to show she will relish the challenge.

And considering she’s not the lone Democrat with a plan to take on big business, things are about to get interesting.

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