Governments have always more or less held to political satirist P.J. O’Rourke’s dictum that “It’s better to spend like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money.” Recently, however, some truly outlandish proposals have become mainstream in both political parties. These policies make one wonder whether today’s politicians misinterpreted O’Rourke’s humor as actual advice.  One such proposal is the “Medicare for All” plan that is spreading throughout the Democratic Party with all the menace and energy of a wildfire.

The cost of “Medicare for All” would be, conservatively, $32 trillion over 10 years. That is $3.2 trillion year, or a near 80 percent increase in proposed federal expenditures for FY 2018.  The deficit for FY 2018 is projected to be $793 billion.  Deficits over the next 10 years are projected to surpass $1 trillion. Therefore, even if proponents can come up with a way to fund the $3.2 trillion in new annual spending on “Medicare for All,” we will still be left with perennial trillion-dollar deficits.  When so-called “common sense” consists of adding to the budget the equivalent of the entire GDP of Germany, one wonders how common it is.

However, if we are to define “common” as pervasive in its political influence, then “Medicare for All” is fast gaining ground.  Only six years ago, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced his “Medicare for All” plan with precisely zero co-sponsors.  Today, you cannot run for President or be considered a leader in the Democratic Party without buying into the idea wholesale.  Current supporters a version of Sanders’ proposal include presidential aspirants Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kristen Gillibrand, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, US Senate Candidate from Texas Beto O’Rourke, and, of course, the new “democratic socialist” voice of the Democratic Party Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez has generated much attention with her claim that “Medicare for All” will save the American people untold amounts of money.  Literally “untold” amounts, because the candidate for Congress has no answer for how the program will be funded, beyond a vague reference to the fact that such a single-payer system could cover funeral costs and increase administrative efficiency. (It is ironic that one of the few specific examples of “savings” Ocasio-Cortez cites involves government funding for post-death expenses.)