Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made a lot of promises: free college tuition, Medicare for all, expanding Social Security, and bolstering private pensions.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the price tag for Sanders plan is an astounding $18 trillion over the next decade, which would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of the federal government in history.
Sanders plans on paying for his proposals by increasing taxes on the wealthy, raising $6.5 trillion over 10 years. This would still leave an enormous $11.5 trillion deficit, nearly doubling the current national debt.
Healthcare spending is the costliest item on Sander’s agenda, and his single-payer health care system would cost an estimated $15 trillion.
His infrastructure and Social Security expansion proposals each carry $1 trillion dollar price tags.
His college affordability plan would cost $750 billion, paid sick leave would be an estimated $319 billion. Sanders’ smaller programs add up as well; his youth jobs initiative would cost $5.5 billion, and bolstering private pensions would be $29 billion.
Sanders’ campaign did not shy away from the enormous cost of his policy proposals.
“Sen. Sanders’s agenda does cost money. If you look at the problems that are out there, it’s very reasonable,” Sanders’ policy director Warren Gunnels told the Journal.
The Sanders program increases total federal spending by about one-third—to a projected $68 trillion or so over 10 years.
Government spending has been about 20 percent of annual gross domestic product in the United States for many years. Under President Bernie Sanders that would increase to about 30 percent in his first year alone, a larger increase than spending during the New Deal or Great Society.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s proposals are estimated to cost only $650 billion over the next decade, practically a bargain when compared to Sanders.
In a statement to Politico, the Vermont Senator disputed the claims by the Journal claiming they were “significantly exaggerated” the cost of the health plan.
Sanders said there would be a net savings by overturning the old system, which one of his supporters estimated could be as high as $32 trillion. Yet that number proves untested, especially considering Vermont had to abandon their own universal healthcare plan because it proved to be too expensive.