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BILL CRAWFORD — Preposterous promises taking over politics?


Standing on the promises….

No, not those promises, but the promises of politicians.

Consider these current promises from the Democratic candidates for president.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is promising to make college and university attendance free for students for families earning less than $125,000 per year. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s promise is to forgive up to $50,000 in student loans for graduates who make less than $100,000. Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris of California promise to subsidize college costs.

As you might expect, such promises appeal to many. TheHill.com  reported that a majority of voters support free state college and canceling student debt, citing a recent Hill-HarrisX poll. “The survey found that 58% of registered voters said they would support a proposal that would make public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition-free. The same group also said they would back a plan eliminating all existing student debt.” The breakout by party showed 72% of Democratic voters in favor, 58% of independents, and 40% of Republicans.

Among the leading Democratic presidential contenders Sanders and Warren are promising Medicare for All that would replace the current public/private health insurance system with a single government-run system. But all promise to create more publicly funded options for health care, such as allowing people to buy-in to Medicaid.

Lower cost health insurance appeals to many too. A survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation this month found that 53% of Americans favor a national single-payer health insurance plan. “We have found broad support for proposals that expand the role of public programs like Medicare and Medicaid as well as a government-administered public option,” the foundation said. The breakout by party showed 77% of Democrats in favor, 53% of independents, and 19% of Republicans.

There are more, like Warren’s promise to provide subsidized child care for all families earning below 200% of the poverty line and entrepreneur Andrew Yang’s promise to give every American family $1,000 a month.

You get the idea.

Preposterous promises you say.


Well, not that long ago Donald Trump got elected president by making preposterous  promises that appealed to his base. These included making Mexico pay for “the wall,” balancing the budget quickly and eliminating the national debt in eight years, growing the economy 4% a year, and saving the coal industry.

Of course, none of those promises are coming true. Raided military construction projects and taxpayers are funding the wall, not Mexico. Budget deficits and the national debt are escalating. While the economy got an initial kick from Trump’s tax cuts, growth is averaging under 3% annually. And the coal industry continues to collapse.

Presidential candidates have often been unable to deliver on campaign promises due to a reluctant Congress or changing circumstances. But those cited above seem all too willing to make appealing promises they have little chance to deliver.

We’re seeing the gap between politics and upright character traits integrity and honesty grows wider and wider.

While this trend is regrettable, we have been cautioned  – “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight,” Proverbs 12:22, and should know whose promises we can truly rely upon  – “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man,” Psalms 118:8.

» BILL CRAWFORD is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.


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