Trump’s Big Government, ‘Expedited’ Revolving-Door Amnesty Plan Would Cost $375 BILLION

About his support for socialized healthcare for the poor, Trump says, ‘If I lose votes over that, or if I don’t get a nomination over that, that’s just fine with me’
Donald Trump interviewed by CNN's Dana Bash, July 29, 2015
Donald Trump interviewed by CNN’s Dana Bash, July 29, 2015

Now that the media is forcing Donald Trump to provide specifics to back up his bravado and bluster, he’s revealing himself to be just another big-spending, big-government Republican — at least when it comes to two of the nation’s most complex and intractable problems: funding healthcare for the poor and what to do about the millions of undocumented residents living in the United States.

In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Donald Trump admitted he once supported socialized healthcare in the form of a single-payer system like Medicare for seniors in the United States and the cradle-to-grave socialized systems in Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Japan, Kuwait and other U.S. competitor and allied nations.

(CNN has not enable embedding the video, but see it here — and the transcript of section of the interview about Trump’s healthcare and immigration plans follows this article)

Trump Supports Socialized Health Coverage for the Poor

Now that he’s running for president and desperate to appeal to the Republicans’ tea-party base, Trump has jumped on the Obamacare-bashing bandwagon. “Obamacare is, number one and maybe least importantly, it’s costing the country a fortune,” Trump told Bash, without citing specifics. “It’s also a very bad form of — it’s very bad.”

(Not really. Earlier this week, Covered California, the Affordable Care Act exchange in California, announced that premiums would rise just 4 percent for the states 1.3 million ACA enrollees, rather than the double-digit ris predicted, largely because Democrats who control the program have used it to negotiate aggressively with providers.)

As president, Trump would revert the U.S. healthcare industry to its pre-ACA vulture capitalist-based system in which private companies were essentially unregulated, which likely means, for example, that insurers would reinstate the uniquely American institution of denying insurance coverage to people need it most, those who have “pre-existing conditions.”

But it was Trump’s solution for dealing with people locked out of the system because of that should enrage his conservative supporters. Trump’s solution?


“[You] have got to be able to help the people,” Trump said. “Can you imagine you have no money, and you get sick like somebody else, and you have no place to go? And you know what? If I lose votes over that, or if I don’t get a nomination over that, that’s just fine with me.”

“Because it would be government assistance, effectively?” Bash asked him.

“It’s has to,” Trump replied. “You have to help people.”

Medicaid, the system that provides healthcare for low-income Americans, currently covers 31 million children, 11 million non-elderly low-income adults, 9 million non-elderly disabled adults and 4.6 million low-income seniors at a cost of more than $476 billion every year. The GOP plan to repeal Obamacare and reinstate the “free enterprise” vulture system could cause as many as half of the 16 million Americans now enrolled in the ACA to lose their coverage, leaving them with no choice by to sign up for the socialized program proposed by Trump.

Trump Proposes an ‘Expedited’ Revolving-Door Amnesty Program

If the swelling ranks of Trump’s supporters in the GOP’s tea party base aren’t sufficiently outraged by his socialist healthcare plan, wait’ll they get a load of his expensive, revolving-door, deport-’em-then-give-’em-amnesty plan for dealing with the “illegals.”

“One, we have a law, right?” Trump said. “You’re supposed to come in legally. I would get people out and I would have an expedited way of getting them back into the country, so they can be legal. Let them be legal.”

Later Trump restated his plan. “I want to move them back in and let them be legal,” he said. “But they have to be in here legally.”

When pressed about what he meant by “legal,” Trump said he was advocated legal status for the deportees after they return, but as for citizenship, he said, “We will see. Later down the line, who knows what is going to happen, but legal status.”

Trump’s advocacy of blanket amnesty puts his approach in line with recent Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan, who altogether issued 18 executive orders that in one form or another provided what tea partyists refer to as “amnesty” to immigrants.

Even worse from the perspective of his “Taxed Enough Already” base, Trump’s expedited revolving-door amnesty plan would blow a whole in the U.S. budget second only in recent times to the price tag for George W. Bush’s $2 trillion (and counting) invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The logistics of deploying an army of hundreds of thousands of government employees to locate, arrest, incarcerate and transport millions of undocumented children and adults would, as Trump might say, “YUGE.” And the cost would be commiserate with the task.

After Republicans took control of Congress in January 2011, one of the first things they did was hold a hearing to look into the option of mass deportation. Called to testify, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deputy director Kumar Kibble said that the government spent $5 billion in 2010 to deport a record 393,000 immigrants.

Given the government’s estimate that there are about 11 million undocumented residents in the United States, the cost to deport them all would be $137.5 billion.

That’s lower than the cost based on analysis by the Center for American Progress that put the cost at about $285 billion, based on this break down:

Arrests: $158 billion
Detention: $29 billion
Legal processing: $7 billion
Transportation: $7 billion

That works out to $23,150 for every child, woman and man who would be deported.

However, Trump scoffs at the government’s estimate of the number of undocumented residents. “I don’t think the 11 million — which is a number you have been hearing for many many years, I’ve been hearing that number for five years — I don’t think that is an accurate number anymore,” Trump said on last week on MSNBC’s right-wing talkfest, “Morning Joe.” “I am now hearing it’s 30 million, it could be 34 million, which is a much bigger problem.”

Yes, three times bigger, which means Trump’s expedited revolving-door plan would be three times as expensive. Let’s go with his more conservative estimate that there are 30 million undocumented residents in the country.

Based on the CAP estimate of $23,150 per deportation, Trump’s plan to deport 30 million people would cost $694.5 billion. At the ICE estimate of $12,500 per deportaton, Trump’s solution would cost U.S. taxpayers $375 billion.

Until Trump releases more specifics, there’s no way to estimate the additional costs related to “expediting” his deportation-then-amnesty plan.

In an interesting political paradox, $375 billion happens to be the amounted the U.S. healthcare system would save by going to the sort of single-payer system once advocated by Donald Trump. The figure is the amount of money wasted on billing and insurance-related paperwork every year by bureaucrats employed by the giant health-insurance corporations, according to a study by BMC Health Services [PDF] released earlier this year.

Transcript of Interview

DANA BASH of CNN: I bought your 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” $7.99 on Amazon, by the way.

DONALD TRUMP, tea party GOP presidential candidate: Right. Good.

BASH: I contributed to the empire.


BASH: OK, health care in this book, you at the time said you were very conservative on most issues, but liberal on health care. You advocated a single-payer system, sore of Canadian-style, universal health care.

What’s your position now?

TRUMP: Well, at the time — and I will say this. At the time, we were having not the kind of difficulty that we’re having now with Obamacare.

Obamacare is, number one and maybe least importantly, it’s costing the country a fortune. It’s also a very bad form of — it’s very bad. People are losing their plans. They’re losing their doctors. Doctors — one of the biggest problems that nobody talks about, doctors are all leaving. They’re leaving the profession.


BASH: Do you think the answer still is a single-payer system?

TRUMP: No, I think the answer is going to be, we have no knock down the borders and let people compete. And then we do.

Now, where I may be different than other people, I want to take care of everybody. You have a group of people that aren’t able to take care of themselves. I can’t even imagine…

BASH: How do you do that?

TRUMP: We’re going to have work out some kind of deal with hospitals where they can get some help, when they are sick, when they have no money and they are sick.

And you know what? If a Republican or if a conservative — and I’m a very conservative person. But if a conservative person doesn’t like the fact that I have to — want to take care of somebody that, if they are really sick and they have no money, I want to help the person…

BASH: How do you do that, though?

TRUMP: You’re going to have — we are going to have to work out some kind of a very, very smart deal with hospitals around the country.

BASH: So, you’re in the Oval Office, you’re saying, Obamacare…

TRUMP: It’s got to go.

BASH: It’s got to go.

TRUMP: Repeal and replace with something terrific.

BASH: And the terrific is?

TRUMP: The terrific will be plans that could be done by private companies. I have to be able to compete. I want to be able to compete and go to a company in California, a company in Iowa, a company in New Hampshire, a company — for — and I will get a good price.

The only way the government should really be involved is they have to make sure those companies are financially strong, so that if they have catastrophic events or if they make a miscalculation, they have plenty of money.

Other than that, it’s private. You will get great plans, you will have great competition, everything else. Now, at the lower end, where people have no money, I want to try and help those people. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But I want to try and help those people, so they can also can — now, it’s not going to be like a good plan. It’s not going to be like the finest plan that somebody that’s made some money or has a good living can do.

But you have got to be able to help the people. Can you imagine you have no money, and you get sick like somebody else, and you have no place to go? And you know what? If I lose votes over that, or if I don’t get a nomination over that, that’s just fine with me.

BASH: Because it would be government assistance, effectively?

TRUMP: It’s has to — you have to help people.

BASH: Let’s talk about immigration. You have said that, when it comes to the 11 million — I’m — we’re not exactly sure how many are here.


TRUMP: Nobody knows.


TRUMP: Nobody knows.

BASH: They’re illegal, undocumented. You have said that those who are criminals should be thrown out of the country. I think everyone pretty much, you know, would agree with you on that.

TRUMP: No, I don’t think so. A lot of people think they should stay here.

BASH: OK. Well, let’s just — let’s just — for argument’s sake, for argument’s sake, let’s just say you’re president, you would do that.


BASH: What happens to the other people? What do you do?


BASH: Yes.

TRUMP: Right.

Number one, the first thing we would do is get the bad ones out. We have a lot of bad dudes, as I said. You have a lot of really bad people here. They’re in our prisons and they’re clogging up our prisons. I want them to go back, and not only Mexico. I want to get them back to the country where they — and I want them to be in their prisons.

So, I want to get the bad ones out, not only the ones in the prisons — and, by the way, and they’re never coming back — not only the ones in the prisons, but the ones that are going around like in San Francisco and shooting Kate, and shooting Jamiel, and shooting people that should not — that should be with us. OK.

One, we have a law, right? You’re supposed to come in legally. I would get people out and I would have an expedited way of getting them back into the country, so they can be legal. Let them be legal.


BASH: Let me just hold on that point right there, because when you say get people out, are you talking like a mass deportation?

TRUMP: We don’t even know who these people are.

BASH: But how do you find them?

TRUMP: We have got to find them. BASH: But how do you do that?


BASH: You’re a business guy.

TRUMP: Excuse me. We have got to find them.

BASH: But how?

TRUMP: Politicians are not going to find them, because they have no clue. We will find them. We will get them out.

BASH: When you say still get them out, just the process of that, there are a lot of smart people who have been focused on this for a long time say it’s just not feasible.


TRUMP: It’s feasible if you know how to manage. Politicians don’t know how to manage.

We have to bring great people into this country. OK? And I want to bring — I love the idea of immigration, but it’s got to be legal immigration. Now, a lot of these people are helping us, whether it’s the grapes or whether it’s jobs. And sometimes it’s jobs. In all fairness, I love our country, but sometimes it’s jobs that a citizen of the United States doesn’t even want to do.

There are jobs that a lot of people don’t want to do. I want to move them out. I want to move them back in and let them be legal. But they have to be in here legally.

BASH: Legally like…


TRUMP: Excuse me. Otherwise, you don’t have a country. You don’t have a country. If people can just pour into the country illegally, you don’t have a country. But I would expedite the system.

BASH: When you say legal, do you mean legal status or can they be eligible for citizenship?

TRUMP: Legal status.

BASH: No citizenship?

TRUMP: No citizenship.

We will see. Later down the line, who knows what is going to happen, but legal status.


BASH: So you’re open to… (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: It’s something I would think about, but I would say, right now, no, I’m not open to it. I would say legal status.

BASH: What about the dreamers? What about people who came here when they were children, they didn’t know what they were doing, they came with their parents who brought them here illegally? Now many of them are upstanding citizens.

We — again, you’re right. We don’t know exactly how many people, but about maybe even 1.8 million people fall into this category. Should they be able to stay legally?

TRUMP: We’re going to do something. I have been giving it so much thought.

You have — on a humanitarian basis, you have a lot of deep thought going into this, believe me. I actually have a big heart, something that nobody knows. A lot of people don’t understand that. But the dreamers, it’s a tough situation. We’re going to do something. And one of the things we are going to do is expedite. When someone is terrific, we want them back here.


BASH: Should they have to leave too?

TRUMP: But they have to be legally.

They’re with their parents, it depends. But, look, it sounds cold, and it sounds hard. We have a country. Our country is going to hell. We have to have a system where people are legally in our country.


  • Steve Olsen
    July 31, 2015 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

    “Mach schau, mach schau!”

  • Joan
    August 1, 2015 - 4:21 am | Permalink

    I see that 60 or so freshman congresspeople are being taken business class to Israel, to stay in 4 star hotels at the expense of AIPAC and Sheldon Adelson to get instructions on
    trying to block the Iran deal.
    I cannot but think this sounds like treason.

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