A running theme throughout the Democratic presidential primary, at least for those who care about realism in public policy, is "how are you going to pay for it?"
This applies to health care, immigration, environmental policy, and a host of other promises candidates have made. The question of how to pay for things, while repeatedly asked, rarely receives a legitimate answer.
Stephen Colbert, host of "The Late Show," is apparently a bit frustrated with the candidates' evasiveness, so he took some of that frustration out on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a Medicare for All discussion, and tried to show her a more honest way to defend her policies.
Colbert: You keep getting asked in the debates, "how are you going to pay for it? Are you going to raise the middle class taxes?"
Colbert: How are you going to pay for it? Are you going to raise the middle class taxes?
Warren: So here's how we're going to do this. Costs are going to go up for the wealthiest Americans, for big corporations—
Colbert: Taxes which is what you mean by "costs?"
Warren: Yes. And hardworking middle-class families are going to see their cost goes down—
Colbert: But will their taxes go up?
Warren: Here's the thing—
Colbert: Here's the thing. I've listened to these answers a few times before, and I just want to make a parallel suggestion to you that you might defend the taxes, perhaps, you're not mentioning in your sentence.
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Colbert then went on to suggest Warren be honest about higher taxes, but justify it by making a comparison to paying taxes for public schools. Warren tepidly agreed with his premise before going back into generic talking points about medical debt.
The exchange is notable because Colbert was not criticizing or opposing Warren's policies. Instead, he was trying to help her understand that, even to supporters, her explanations about how these policies might come to pass come off as deceptive and dishonest.