One clear signal that few people gave Michael Cassidy a chance of getting elected to Congress is that his campaign website got very little attention until he surprised 3rd District Rep. Michael Guest in last week’s Republican primary.
It was the day after the primary when political watchers pointed out the massive government spending proposals on Cassidy’s website — proposals that have since been removed.
The Mississippi Today website did the math and estimated that three of Cassidy’s former spending ideas would have cost taxpayers at least $48 trillion over 10 years. But the review of a single year will allow Guest to make the case that, while Cassidy may mock the congressman as a Republican in Name Only, the challenger was just another big spender until he ran strongly in the primary.
Cassidy’s team removed these ideas from his website after he led in the primary:
• Allow everyone to enroll in Medicaid, regardless of age. That is straight out of the Bernie Sanders playbook and would cost more than $4 trillion in its first year. (Fiscal sanity reaction: No.)
• Give newlyweds $20,000, which they would have to repay if they divorce. That would require quite a thank-you note to the federal government. More seriously, Mississippi Today reports there were 1.68 million marriages in 2020, so a $20,000 gift to each of those couples would have cost $33 billion. Taxpayers would have given 2019’s 2 million newlywed couples $40 billion. (Fiscal sanity reaction: Still no.)
• Give married couples $250 per month for each child under 10 years of age and $500 per month for each one between 11 and 17. America had about 73 million residents under age 18 in 2018. If 30 million of them live with a married couple, the government payout would be in the $135 billion range per year. (Fiscal sanity reaction: Another no.)
Again, all these expensive ideas have been removed from Cassidy’s website. In a statement after the runoff, he said critics, including Mississippi Today, are misrepresenting his platform. He said he only briefly considered supporting universal Medicare and now believes it would cost too much money.
As for payments to newlyweds and married parents, Cassidy said he wanted to provide incentives “to offset the many government-created costs of starting and raising a family.” But after “feedback from supporters,” he now supports other strategies like increasing the child tax deductions to help couples.
Cassidy describes himself as a pro-Trump, pro-American worker fiscal conservative who wants to reduce the $30 trillion national debt and stop the Federal Reserve from printing extra money. He said that if elected, he will be the first Mississippi congressman to join the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and called the June 28 runoff “America First vs. The Swamp.”
There’s no reason to doubt the sincerity of Cassidy’s statement, or his positions on other issues like election integrity, immigration and congressional term limits. But if he’s really that conservative, what was he thinking when he pitched all those freebies on his website?
— Jack Ryan, McComb Enterprise-Journal