The Atlantic Politics Daily: She Has a Plan (Not to Raise Middle-Class Taxes)

Our politics writer takes a closer look: the plan still appears very costly, and may be very disruptive. Plus: Beto drops out; Pete stays in.

It’s Friday, November 1. Beto O’Rourke is dropping out of the presidential race. The Atlantic’s politics team will be covering developments through the weekend. See you Monday.

In today’s newsletter: ¶ People. Buttigieg, Warren. ¶ Places. Rock Hill, South Carolina. ¶ Plans. One for Medicare for All


(Bryan Snyder / Reuters)

Will Medicare for All lead to higher taxes for the middle class?

The question has dogged Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign perhaps more than any other this year. The senator, who has turned “I Have a Plan for That” into a campaign mantra, has been evasive on that point, creating an opening for many of her Democratic rivals to pounce.

On Friday, she finally released a plan with the nitty gritty wonkery on how she’d pay for Medicare for All. But by putting out one fire, she may have kindled another, Russell Berman writes:

Warren may have neutralized a pair of emerging critiques from her rivals for now, but her full and ever more detailed embrace of Medicare for All remains an ambitious yet risky political bet. [Read the full story here.]

Medicare for All has turned into something of a litmus test for the left flank of the Democratic Party. Excitement around the idea could crash head first into the political realities of Congress, argues Ronald Brownstein:

Even if families would eventually save under a single-payer system, a President Warren would still need to identify a politically plausible funding plan to pass such a program through Congress. By all indications, that looms as an extremely daunting project. [Read “The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All”]

Much of the Democratic rhetoric around Medicare for All generally has homed in on insurance companies. They aren’t singular villains. Our health reporter Olga Khazan writes:

The profits of health insurers are not that exorbitant compared with other parts of the health-care system. And in fact, many scholars suggest that American health care is so dysfunctional because it simply costs too much. That’s the fault of doctors, drugmakers, and hospitals, too, not just insurers. [Read the full story here.]


Remember the corporate-tax cuts from President Trump’s signature legislative achievement?

Our economics writer Derek Thompson looks back at the promises of those tax cuts—they didn’t work at all, he argues:

Republicans said it would grow the economy by up to 6 percent, stimulate business investment, and pay for itself.

None of those promises have come to pass. GDP growth has declined to less than 2 percent according to the latest report, released yesterday. Business investment has now declined for two straight quarters, dragging down economic growth. And the federal deficit exceeds $1 trillion. [Read the full argument here.]

+ More from Derek: “The American System of Tipping Makes No Sense.”


(Bryan Snyder / Reuters)

Our 2020 reporter Isaac Dovere catches up with Pete Buttigieg on his strategy for pulling ahead in an evolving—and still large—field.

The core brilliance of Buttigieg’s campaign is making the carefully planned seem nonchalant, like he’s ambling when in fact he’s in the middle of a plié. Every sentence is precisely arranged, the words weighted, playing off ideas like faith and security and freedom. Operatives on other campaigns grumble that he’s a construction, a “celebrity” who wows reporters looking for the hot new thing, but it’s working. [Read Isaac’s story—which includes some illuminating perspectives from supporters—here.]

¶ Lawyers are essential to keeping Washington running, but they’re not always interesting in their own right. No attorney is more newsy right now than Mark Zaid, who’s representing the anonymous whistle-blower against President Trump, but as it turns out, Zaid is as colorful a character as any of his clients.
—David Graham, who covers politics (and a few other topics) for The Atlantic

This is a good look at the complicated internal political dynamic within the House Democratic caucus over the allegations that led to Representative Katie Hill’s rather abrupt resignation this week.
Russell Berman, who covers politics for The Atlantic (and is also tracking congressional retirements and resignations here)

¶ I love investigative pieces that narrate precisely how the writer did her investigating. This is a thrilling example of one such story.
Elaina Plott, who covers the White House for The Atlantic


(From Twitter @yappelbaum)

Our Ideas editor Yoni Appelbaum found a robust argument for the impeachment process during his research.

“[The president’s] defenders describe the unthinkable disaster of impeachment. But it should not be unthinkable,” the scholar wrote. “The framers of the Constitution did not see impeachment as a doomsday scenario; they thought it necessary to remove bad men from the offices they were subverting.”

→ Read through these quotes to see if you can guess the original author of the argument


Today’s edition of our daily newsletter of political ideas and arguments was written by Saahil Desai and Christian Paz, and edited by Shan Wang.

Comments, questions, or even reading recommendations for us? Reply directly to this newsletter, or email See you tomorrow.

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