Sanders unsure how much his programs will cost, but critics say a 100% tax wouldn’t cover them

In a recent interview with Anderson Cooper, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders said he isn’t sure how much all of his socialist policies would cost or how his administration would pay for them.

Cooper asked, “Do you have a price tag for — for all of this?”

Sanders replied, “We do. … it will be substantially less than letting the current system go. I think it’s about $30 trillion,” which he later clarified was only for “Medicare for All” plan.

When it comes to tallying the cost of free college tuition or other programs, Sanders said, “making public colleges and universities tuition free and canceling all student debt” would be possible by imposing “a modest tax on Wall Street speculation.”

Sanders’ “speculation tax,” referred to as the “Robin Hood tax,” would assess those who trade in the stock exchange a tax for every bond, stock or derivative sold.

In 2017, Sanders’ “College For All” Act was estimated to cost around $47 billion per year. The federal government would pick up 67 percent of the $70 billion it costs for tuition at public colleges and universities while states would cover the remaining 33 percent.

Cooper then asked, “But you say you don’t know what the total price is, but you know how it’s gonna be paid for. How do you know it’s gonna be paid for if you don’t know how much the price is?”

Sanders replied, “Well, I can’t – you know, I can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime. But we have accounted for – you – you talked about ‘Medicare for All.’ We have options out there that will pay for it.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign immediately weighed in.

“For the second time in the last month, Senator Sanders has admitted that he does not know the astronomical price tag that his massive new programs would force onto American families,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said. “That’s untenable.”

According to an analysis by CNN contributor and The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein, “Medicare for All,” the “Green New Deal” and free public college tuition and loan forgiveness would cost more than $60 trillion.

Both the Urban Institute and the Mercatus Center estimate Medicare for All would increase federal spending by $32 trillion over 10 years. The Urban Institute has increased that number to $34 trillion, which is more than the federal government’s total cost for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined over the next decade, according to Congressional Budget Office projections.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget argues in a recent report that it is mathematically impossible to pay for Medicare for All without imposing a massive tax hike.

“There is simply not enough available revenue from high earners and businesses to cover the full cost of eliminating premiums, ending all cost-sharing, and expanding coverage to all Americans and for (virtually) all health services,” it states.

Even if the most confiscatory tax rates were imposed on high-income families and corporations, tax revenue would only generate $11 trillion, only one third of the required revenue to pay for just Medicare for All. But that’s not even the whole picture, David Burton, a senior economist at the Heritage Foundation, argues.

Even if the federal government confiscated every dollar of $200,000 in earnings every year (100 percent of an earner’s income), the revenue would still only cover half of Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, a $15 minimum wage, and free college tuition.

“The reality is that progressive promises can only be funded by radical tax increases on the middle class, a dramatic increase in annual federal deficits and the national debt, or a combination of the two,” Burton writes.

This article was first published by The Center Square.



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