Bernie Sanders outlined the estimated costs of his ambitious proposals and where he intends to get the money to fund them, under pressure from rivals for transparency. But on Medicare for All, at least, he’s about $12.5 trillion short.
Sanders’s agenda of massive federal spending is facing renewed scrutiny since he has earned front-runner status by winning the popular vote in Iowa and the contests in New Hampshire and Nevada.
Late Monday, the Vermont senatoroutlined funding for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, College for All and canceling student debt, expanding Social Security, eliminating medical debt, Housing for All and Universal Childcare/Pre-K. Most of the money comes from additional taxes, but the numbers do not add up.
For example, Sanders has not disputed estimates that his Medicare for All will cost $30 trillion over the next decade, but his document only accounts for about $17.5 trillion.
Under his plan, employees would pay a 4% income-based premium, exempting the first $29,000 for families of four. Employers would pay a 7.5% premium, exempting their first $1 million. Sanders said those taxes would account for $9.2 trillion over the next decade. Eliminating health expenditures would raise about $3 trillion over the next ten years and taxing capital gains $2.5 trillion. He finds another $5.5 trillion through increased estate taxes, corporate taxes and an “extreme wealth tax.”
Sanders does not specify where he plans to get the remaining amount. His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The bulk of his other proposals would be funded through Sanders’s proposed extreme wealth tax which the campaign says will raise a total of $4.35 trillion and a Wall Street speculation tax which the campaign states will raise $2.4 trillion over the next decade.
Sanders’s plan to end homelessness would cost $2.5 trillion over the next decade and would be paid for by the wealth tax. That tax will also be used to fund the childcare, which the campaign states will cost $1.5 trillion.
On Sunday, Sanders struggled to give a clear answer when asked on CBS’s “60 Minutes” how precisely he would pay for his ambitious agenda of generous social services.
“I can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime,” Sanders said after repeated requests for specifics on how he planned to pay for his proposals. “But we have accounted for — you — you talked about Medicare for All. We have options out there that will pay for it.”
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren fell sharply in the polls in the fall when she tried settle the question of how to fund Medicare for All. Around that time, Sanders told CNBC, “I don’t think I have to do that right now.”
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