Bernie Sanders policy proposals would cost $18 trillion
As a socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders is bubbling over with ideas on how to spend your money – as well as money the government has to print. So what would it cost to turn America into a workers' paradise?
The Wall Street Journal figures about $18 trillion.
In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.
His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges.
To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.
So, $18 trillion in new spending covered by $6.5 trillion in taxes. Yeah...that's a socialist for you. If anyone cares – and Bernie certainly doesn't – that's $11.5 trillion added to our national debt.
A campaign aide said additional tax proposals would be offered to offset the cost of some, and possibly all, of his health program. A Democratic proposal for such a “single-payer” health plan, now in Congress, would be funded in part through a new payroll tax on employers and workers, with the trade-off being that employers would no longer have to pay for or arrange their workers’ insurance.
Mr. Sanders declined a request for an interview. His campaign referred questions to Warren Gunnels, his policy director, who said the programs would address an array of problems. “Sen. Sanders’s agenda does cost money,” he said. “If you look at the problems that are out there, it’s very reasonable.”
"Reasonable" for Stalin, maybe, or Mao. For the American taxpayer? Not so much.
The Sanders program amounts to increasing total federal spending by about one-third—to a projected $68 trillion or so over 10 years.
For many years, government spending has equaled about 20% of gross domestic product annually; his proposals would increase that to about 30% in their first year. As a share of the economy, that would represent a bigger increase in government spending than the New Deal or Great Society and is surpassed in modern history only by the World War II military buildup.
By way of comparison, the 2009 economic stimulus program was estimated at $787 billion when it passed Congress, and President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts were estimated to cost the federal treasury $1.35 trillion over 10 years.
The good news is, even many Democrats would blanch at those numbers. Not because they disagree with the ideas, but because they realize that turning America into a socialist paradise is a long-term project to be carried out stealthily – like the proverbial boiling frog scenario. But for proposing all these goodies, Sanders should be considered the most honest person running for president. It's doubtful he can win, even if the GOP runs the devil himself. But he has positioned the Democratic Party far, far to the left of the mainstream of America.
And they might be paying for that for years.