Sen. Bernie Sanders’ tax and spending proposals would provide new levels of health and education benefits for American families, but they’d also blow an $18-trillion hole in federal deficits, piling on so much debt they would damage the economy.
That sobering assessment comes from a joint analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute Health Policy Center, well-known Washington think tanks.
The bottom line: Democratic presidential candidate Sanders would raise taxes by more than $15 trillion over 10 years, with most of that paid by upper-income earners. But that wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of his proposed government-run health care system, along with free undergraduate college, enhanced Social Security, family and medical leave, among other new programs.
As a result, Sanders would add $18 trillion to federal debt over a decade.
The Sanders campaign is trying to wriggle out of this, claiming that their healthcare plan will save lots of money because … because … well, because they want it to. But I am totally unsurprised by this. I have said it in this space a million times: you can’t pay for a social welfare state just by taxing “the rich”. There’s not enough money. Every European welfare state pays for itself with heavy taxes on the middle class — VATs, sales taxes, excise taxes, income taxes. Their tax systems are way less progressive than our because they have to be. In the end, you have to go where the money is.
This is the big problem with Sanders’ promises. You have to raise taxes on everyone to pay for them. And people don’t want higher taxes even if they supposedly come with Awesome Government Benefits. Sanders’ own state rejected socialized medicine because it was too expensive.
I’d say this would be the nail in the coffin of the Sanders campaign except that (1) many of his supporters don’t care about math; (2) I’m sure Clinton will find a way to bungle this incredibly easy and salient talking point.