It’s not the ambitious social spending platform of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
But little-known Republican Michael Cassidy, who forced a runoff with incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael Guest in one of the nation’s most conservative districts, proposed social spending programs would cost taxpayers at least $48 trillion over 10 years, according to a Mississippi Today analysis.
Among Cassidy’s ideas are Medicare for All, stipends for married couples, and universal basic income for families with children.
Cassidy, a Naval reserve pilot whose campaign slogan is “America First for Congress,” garnered 48% of the vote in Tuesday’s Republican primary, while Guest received 47%. Thomas Griffin earned just 5% of the vote. Because no candidate reached 50%, Cassidy and Guest will duke it out in a June 28 runoff.
A Mississippi Today analysis of several ideas Cassidy proposed on his campaign website shows that his platform — focused on social spending — would cost taxpayers at least $48 trillion over 10 years.
On Wednesday, after several people posted to social media about some of the ideas listed on his website, Cassidy removed them from his site. But Mississippi Today saved an earlier version of the website that was publicly available to voters ahead of the June 7 primary.
Some of Cassidy’s ideas, now scrubbed from his website, include:
- “Allowing all citizens to enroll in Medicare, regardless of age.” Kaiser Health News, forecasting the “Medicare for All” platform idea of Bernie Sanders in 2020, estimated that the policy would cost $44.8 trillion over 10 years.
- “Providing newlyweds with a $20,000 wedding gift, paid back if the couple divorces.” Across America in 2020, there were 1.68 million marriages — down from about 2 million in 2019. $20,000 per 2020 marriage is $33 billion a year, or $330 billion over 10 years.
- “Giving married citizens a $250/month stipend for children under 10, and $500/month for children 10-17.” There are 72.9 million American children in these categories. Assuming an equal distribution between the two groups, that’s $318 billion a year, or $3.18 trillion over 10 years.
Cassidy, meanwhile, has focused energy on touting himself as a “fiscally sane representative” for the district. Ahead of the primary, Cassidy ran a TV attack ad that sharply criticized Guest for voting to provide $53 billion in aid to Ukraine to assist its defense efforts against Russia — all while “the national debt is over $30 trillion and inflation is raging,” Cassidy said in the ad.
Cassidy, whose modest campaign has been bolstered by more than $200,000 he loaned himself, had few other supporters. At least 87% of his total receipts through May 18, 2022, came from personal loans.
After Facebook and Twitter comments blistering much of Cassidy’s original platform on Election Day, Cassidy removed his entire fiscal platform from the website sometime on Wednesday.
By end of business on Wednesday, Cassidy’s campaign consultant Matt Braynard issued a press release announcing an “improved pro-family policy” and posted it to Cassidy’s campaign website.
Noticeably missing from Cassidy’s new platform is any mention of Medicare for All, stipends for married couples and universal income disbursements for families with children.
“Based on helpful feedback from many conservatives in the 3rd District of Mississippi, I’ve improved my America Dream policies by focusing on lowering the tax burden for working families with children,” Cassidy said in the press release.
The principle idea of Cassidy’s new-and-improved platform is expanding the current child tax deduction from a maximum of $3,600 to $10,000 “for working families not currently receiving government assistance.”
Cassidy’s idea for the child tax credit is remarkably similar to one of President Joe Biden’s chief economic focuses — a program the president fought to include in the American Rescue Plan Act.