There's Medicare for all, free college for all, food stamps for immigrants, food stamps for illegal immigrants, universal child care and more.
Many Democrats in Congress and several of the Democratic presidential candidates have embraced all or some of these programs, and Republicans have played right into their hands by repeatedly asking how they intend to pay for them.
They're asking the wrong question.
Republicans seem to think that it's a major victory to get the Democrats or even political pundits in the news media to admit that these plans will require tax hikes. But even if those plans mean tax increases for middle income earners and the rich alike, the Democrats still have a good response in claiming that their plans will benefit all Americans at a tax cost that will still mostly be absorbed by the rich.
Whether the actual accounting figures back those claims up or not, it's a political debate that puts the Democrats at a decided advantage. It casts them as agents of change and helpful aid, and the Republicans as cranky bean counters and defenders of the status quo for the wealthy.
But focusing on how to pay for these programs is the wrong way to go. The real question that needs to be asked about the Democrats and their welfare for all push is: What about the poor?
The "for all" part of many of these Democratic proposals is problematic for ethical reasons, because the "all" includes millions of Americans who are not poor by any objective economic standard.
Yes, many of them are struggling with student loan debt, medical bills and high rents. But compared to the still nagging number of people living below the poverty line in America, millions of us who do have steady jobs, roofs over our heads, and even some savings should not be made a higher priority over the truly poor.
Let's put it another way to illustrate the point: For many Americans who don't go to college, tuition costs aren't the reason. They simply cannot afford to delay entering the full-time workforce and don't have time to do both that and attend college.
It's ludicrous to ask those people, no matter what they may be earning, to contribute even a penny of their tax money at any time to wealthier people who did go to college and ended up with enormous student loan debt.
Presidential candidates like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are proposing plans to wipe out the nation's entire $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Those plans call for the cost to be covered by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, employers, and/or enacting new taxes on certain kinds of stock trading. But if those higher taxes have the inevitable effect of passing costs down to poorer Americans or eliminating some jobs, the end result will be that poorer people will be covering the debts of richer people.
Medicare for all plans present an even more morally hazardous scenario. As it is, the number of doctors accepting Medicare and Medicaid plans can often be severely limited in many parts of the country. What do our politicians think is going to happen to demand for those limited number of healthcare providers when and if Medicare benefits are extended to all Americans who want them?
Many doctors have been quitting the profession for years now rather than scraping by on lower Medicare reimbursements. For millions of poorer and older people already struggling to get medical attention and regular appointments, they would likely struggle even more as they compete with richer and younger Americans for those limited services.
Perhaps this could work if the Medicare for all plans included proposals to significantly increase the number of doctors, healthcare providers, and facilities in America this could work, but none of them do.
Republicans who revel in characterizing the Democrats' plans as "Robin Hood economics," have it exactly wrong. Instead of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, these welfare for all plans take existing funds and services that could be going to the poor and hand them to the rich, or at least the less poor among us.
A more winning and ethical strategy for Republicans and any other politician would be to remember a key phrase uttered by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan in the early 1970s: "The poor need a raise."
Reagan was alarmed by the fact that the state's welfare rolls were growing, but with no significant reduction in the most severe poverty. So he enacted a plan that reduced the welfare rolls overall but gave significant increases in benefits to the neediest Californians. The plan not only worked to reduce wasteful spending in California, but it was admired by other states for years to come.
It's one thing that today's Republicans have clearly forgotten how to focus on the poor. But for Democrats to increasingly abandon their decades-long focus on blue collar and working class Americans in favor of giving benefits to everyone is really shocking.
If the Democrats want to reverse their 2016 election losses in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, they're going to have to remember that demographic and stop looking like the only voters they care about are young urban dwellers who freely choose to pursue more expensive educations and live in high-rent cities.
America simply hasn't been able to correct its most severe poverty problems, that now include a homelessness explosion in many of our cities.
One idea would be an earlier cut off time for food stamps and other benefits for people at the higher end of the low-income spectrum, with a dramatic increase in benefits to the poorest and least able-bodied.
Democrats and Republicans need to focus on those priorities and leave the pandering to the middle class and the rich for another day.