During my recent trip to D.C., I had a chance to sit down for an interview with Cabot Phillips of Campus Reform, which is part of The Leadership Institute. The topic was Elizabeth Warren, focusing on her Medicare-for-all plan, as well as her Native American problem and electoral prospects.

From the Campus Reform write up, EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Cornell prof rips Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Medicare for all’ plan to shreds:

Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson stopped by Campus Reform to discuss the state of free speech in America, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “Medicare For All” proposal, details of which she released Nov. 1.

Jacobson, in addition to founding the blog, Legal Insurrection, is also an expert on Warren’s campaign and career, having compiled an exhaustive collection of information and documents relating to her decades in politics. When asked about Warren’s signature plan to provide government run Medicare for all Americans, Jacobson was clear: “This is a radical proposal.”

Jacobson went on to point out how the economy would be negatively impacted by the implementation of such a plan, saying “her plan would include trillions in new taxes on employers as if there’s no impact. Maybe if you’ve lived your life in academia you don’t see that, but we all know in the real world… costs matter.”

“If that employer is taxed, guess what, that employer is going to eliminate jobs, or cut back hours, or forget your pay raise. The money doesn’t come from nowhere,” Jacobson added.

Going on to cite his own experiences with government-run healthcare, he said “I studied in the Soviet Union… I saw firsthand the myth of what is the equivalent of Medicare for all. It was free healthcare, but you couldn’t get in to see a doctor!”

In Jacobson’s view, Warren’s healthcare plan would hinder her electoral chances.

“How are you going to win nationally with women when you’re going to take away their private health insurance with a promise that government health plans will do better?” he asked.

Predicting a potential “electoral disaster” if she were to be nominated, Jacobson closed by saying, “Democrats are scared to death that it could be a landslide of [Walter] Mondale proportions if she’s nominated.”

Transcript below (auto-generated — needs a ton of clean up, working on it)(update – mostly cleaned up now)

CABOT PHILLIPS: I’m Cabot Phillips with Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief. We’re joined today by Professor William Jacobson who is with Cornell Law as well as the founder of Legal Insurrection website. Professor Jacobson, thank you so much for joining us for conversation.

WAJ: Thank you for having me on.

CP: So you are a man that has spent a lot of time studying a variety of topics. One of those things has been Elizabeth Warren and you have been you know, you spend a lot of time looking into her past history, her campaign now and her time in the U S Senate. So you’re a good person to ask about the 2020 race right now. And so as the campaign is going right now, what do you think her chances are of winning the nomination? And do you think that she’s running a good race? What do you, what do you make of her chances?

WAJ: Obviously hard to predict because seven months ago everybody had written her off, but I had not written her off because I’ve studied her enough.

She is extremely persistent. I think that’s a phrase she likes. And she is somebody who really is very, almost fundamentalist in her beliefs and she is very motivated. So I knew that even though people were writing her off after her controversy with the DNA tests she took, that made her something of a laughingstock. I knew she wouldn’t give up. And she’s very tactical, very methodical.

Whether that carries into a nomination though is another question because even with her surge, she still low single, you know, low double digits, 15%, 17%. She hasn’t had that breakaway where she gets 30%, 40% in polling. So she’ll have to do that, which means she’s going to have to convince more people. And I think the problem that she faces in getting the nomination is that I think mainstream more moderate Democrats, who still are a big force in the party are frightened to death of her.

Not because they’re frightened to death necessarily of her policies or of her as a person. They’re frightened to death that she could be electoral disaster.

I mean, how are you going to win Pennsylvania, which Democrats must do to win, with a candidate who wants to eliminate fracking? Anybody who knows about Pennsylvania, and Ithaca is just 45 minutes north of the Pennsylvania border, knows fracking has revitalized almost the entire state west of Philadelphia. You know, it was morabund like the economy is in upstate New York until fracking. How are you going to win Pennsylvania with that? How are you going to win Virginia when you want nassive cuts to the military budget can mean a lot of layoffs in Northern Virginia, which has been Democrat salvation in elections, you know, so she’s got a lot of policies. How are you going to win nationally in the suburbs with women, which is Democrats have to win big when you’re going to take away private health insurance for their children on the promise that a government plan will do better.

I mean, we’ve all had experience with government. Government does some things that nobody else can do. We can’t have multiple militaries. We can’t have multiple, you know, sewer departments. But we all know from our life experiences that when it comes to things like medical care and you know the VA system, that government’s not the best at doing that. And so I just don’t see how I think Democrats are scared to death that it could be a landslide of Mondale proportions if she is the candidate. And that’s why I think somebody’s going to do something. I don’t know what, to stop her within the Democratic party.

CP: And so you bring up her signature policy proposal at this point, which is Medicare for all the, at the time of filming this interview, it just came out. So full disclosure, you’ve not had chance to go through the full details of the plan, but what you know of the plan, the news reports that have been coming out today beforehand and what you knew in the lead up to it, what do you make of her Medicare for all plan? Do you think it’s feasible? Do you think it’s going to help or hurt her?

WAJ: Yeah, like you said, I’ve read the news reports about it including the New York times, so not an entity that’s likely to be skewed against her. But even the New York times said her plan is built on, I think the term they used was aggressive set of assumptions about how the economy would work in a tax revenue and things like that. But on its face, it’s a $52 trillion plan with 20 trillion new government spending and she’s going to raise it by taxing employers as if that has no impact on working people. If your employer is taxed, guess what? That employer’s going to eliminate jobs or cut back hours or forget your pay raise or maybe you have to take a pay cut. The money doesn’t come from nowhere. It’s got when you’re a business and you get taxed, and that’s what her plan is, is to include trillions in new taxes on employers as if there’s no economic impact.

And maybe if you’ve lived your life in academia, you don’t see that. But we all know in the real world world. I ran a law firm for many years before I switched to academia. Costs matter. And if you’re gonna impose costs, so, and there’s many other things there.

I think a lot of her assumptions are pie in the sky. How much more can you tax billionaires without them changing their behavior to avoid those taxes?

CP: Or going to a different country.

WAJ: Or going to a different country. But let’s say they’re not going to leave the U S or the U S will be able to dig its tax claws into them even if they leave. People change their behavior.  I just think that it’s pie in the sky. I think she has created a fictitious web of assumptions that are never going to happen and she’s going to destroy the health care insurance industry, not just as we know it, but completely.

And every poll I’ve ever, every survey I’ve ever seen it says that, I think, 80% of Americans have private insurance and of that 80% 80% are happy with them. You’re talking about hundreds of millions of people. Sure. I have private health insurance through Cornell. Yes, there are times the insurance company will make me pay a copay or reject something. But I’d rather have that because I studied in the Soviet union in college, I was actually a Russian studies major. And I saw firsthand the myth of what is the equivalent of Medicare for all. I mean it was free healthcare in the Soviet union, but you couldn’t get in to see a doctor. You couldn’t get good care. So yes, it was free, but it wasn’t good. And what happened was you established a black market for medical care in the Soviet Union where if you had the rubles or the dollars to pay somebody privately, you went and you did that.

So what you’re going to see happen in the U S is that doctors cannot survive on Medicare reimbursements. I know that have a lot of family members who are physicians. And I spoken to physicians. That without the private insurance reimbursements and coverage, they cannot survive. So the notion that you’re going to destroy the private health system.

I mean, it would make Obama blush at the notion of eliminating private insurance. I mean, he never even proposed that. This is such a radical proposal. And you know, she can sit there and she can run her numbers and have people come up with the numbers she needs to try to justify it. But this is gonna wreak havoc in the United States. And I don’t think the American people are going to go for it.

The only thing Democrats will have to hope for if Elizabeth Warren is the nominee, is either they succeed in impeachment, which at least at this point, nobody knows, but seems unlikely that you’d be removed from office. Or they have to so demonize them that it becomes an election solely about Trump. And that’s why I think Democrats are nervous because if you have a more moderate Democratic candidate, you have a chance of making the election about Trump. You have Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, it’s about the destruction of the system as we know it and the disruption of lives.

CP: Yeah. And so in closing, I want to get another controversy on Elizabeth Warren, your take on the, the Native American DNA testing. Obviously this was something that was big, you know, seven, eight months ago and it seems to have died out a little bit. I imagine if she wins the nomination it will become a huge deal. Once again, President Trump will certainly bring it up. How much of an impact do you see that having and do you think Americans should care in general about what she did?

WAJ: Yeah, well we’ve studied the Native American issue probably more closely than anybody and we’ve also done the research on it and we did this all in 2012 during her Senate campaign. And we have it all documented at another website that I have which is called ElizabethWarrenWiki.org, ElizabethWarrenWiki.org. We have it all in one place and people will be shocked to find out how manipulative her Native American story was, how she used it only for employment purposes. how she never claimed to be Native American until she was in her thirties and climbing the law school ladder. And how she only used it in a law directory, which would help advance her chances and how she’s had denial after denial. You mentioned the DNA test. That’s just the last in a long line of denials.

People don’t realize that while she’s now saying she’s sorry for making the claim of being native American. Even after she was discovered in 2012, she spent almost seven years defending it and defending that she was in fact Native American. There’s many videos out there. She was asked, would you be the first Native American Senator from Massachusetts? And she said, yes, I would. This was not. These were all on video and these are going to be run on TV. So it was extremely, extremely manipulative. She’s not been upfront about it.

The DNA test, which flopped dramatically,and offended actually Native Americans …

CP: As it should have.

WAJ: As it should have, because that’s not how they measure whether you’re native American, it’s not based on DNA. And so I think it will be a problem because it fits into a broader narrative. There are many other aspects of her personal narrative which are not holding up to scrutiny. She claimed that she was fired as a teacher in school, because she was pregnant. And people did some digging and it turns out there’s strong evidence that that is not true.

She claimed that she had a ‘me too’ moment with an older professor, but even the Boston Globe said, now she’s saying that, but that’s not how she described the interactions with him years ago in interviews. She says that she was a corporate lawyer fighting for the little guys. In fact, I’ve documented even the New York Times and Washington post picked up on my research, although they only partially credited me. No, she wasn’t. She was a corporate lawyer, made millions of dollars representing corporations against breast implant women, people like that. And corporations are entitled to defend themselves, don’t get me wrong, but she’s not portraying herself the way she was. And there are many other things that are going to come at her life. Her life narrative will not hold up to scrutiny. I can guarantee you that.

Now what people make of that is a different question. I mean, politicians often have issues in their life history and people say, I’ll overlook that because I want something. It’s more important. And I could see a lot of Democrats saying, I don’t care that she lied about being native American. I don’t support it. I don’t care that her personal narrative is false because I hate Trump so much. Yeah, I’ll vote for anybody. So it’s not going to affect the hardcore of Democrats. But those middle independent voters I think may have doubts.

And it becomes important because where she’s telling you, I’m going to take away your health insurance, trust me, government will be better. But she has lied repeatedly or at least misled people repeatedly about her own personal narrative. Why should we believe her when she offers this pie in the sky assumptions about Medicare for all. So I think it will have an impact even if now people are silent about it.

I’m shocked that no democratic candidate has gone over after her on the Native American issue because how can you have a party that purports to be essentially a social justice party now, where your possible nominee committed a fairly heinous social justice fraud, which is misappropriating Native American identity.

CP: We’ve made a video, which people can watch on Campus Reform, where I asked students ahead of Halloween, how nervous are you about cultural appropriation at Halloween. Everyone said cultural appropriations, it’s a big problem in America. You can’t offend people. You can’t put a costume on. And then I said, well, would you be nervous about a presidential candidate culturally appropriating a culture for their entire life to further? And I said, of course. Well, it’s Elizabeth Warren isn’t that cultural appropriation. It’s, it’s about as obvious as definition of using another culture for your own benefit and not actually being a part of that culture. And so I, I do think you bring up some good points there and so I um, I’ll leave the conversation at that. Uh, I really appreciate your, your insight and your expertise there and your website. One more time for people that want to learn more about, um, the legal stuff you’re doing as well as the stuff on Elizabeth Warren.

WAJ: Sure. So the main website is legalinsurrection.com but we also have, or I also have a website called Elizabeth Warren wiki.org.

CP: Got it. And we’ll let people go there. Uh, and we will end the conversation there. Professor Jacobson, thank you so much for joining us and we really appreciate your time.

WAJ: Great. Thank you.


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