(UnitedVoice.com) – On Sunday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) was asked during an interview on 60 Minutes, how he intended to pay for his massive spending proposals. He didn’t have an answer.
On Monday night, Sanders released a fact-sheet unexpectedly and explained that he would pay for his big government programs with a combination of new taxes, cuts to the military, and massive lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry.
Democrats and Republicans have said that Sanders’ proposals for Medicare-for-all, student loan debt elimination, free college, expanding social security, guaranteed housing, elimination of medical debt, universal childcare, and the Green New Deal — are economically impossible to pay for.
Problems With the Sanders Plan
Much of Sanders’ plan relies on major assumptions that are, at best, difficult to determine.
For example, his plan would force owners of stocks to pay $25 to the federal government each time $5,000 worth of stock is traded. Not only is that excessively more than typical online brokerage fees, every time a 401(k) mutual fund moves money from one stock to another there is a fee.
Essentially, that is a tax on savings that owners of 401(k)s will end up paying substantial amounts of money on.
Then, there are the ramifications to the stock market itself. Sanders’ plan did not cover how the government would obtain the funds from stock trades, which could be cumbersome and costly both for the government, Wall Street, and savers. Furthermore, stocks could easily be liquidated or transferred to other assets before Sanders can take office or legislation is passed — wiping out a large portion of his proposed revenues.
There is also a new “income inequality tax” on big businesses who pay CEO’s 50 times or more in salary than their average workers. Sanders estimates the tax would provide $81 billion to be put towards past-due medical debt. What he doesn’t say is that the new cost to businesses will be passed on to the consumer and that prices for virtually everything will go up dramatically.
Then, there’s the idea of massive lawsuits. Sanders claims he can bring in $3.085 trillion to the Treasury Department by making the fossil fuel industry pay for pollution. Additionally, he would impose massive regulations, add new fees and taxes, and eliminate federal fossil fuel subsidies.
However, it’s impossible to know how successful he would be in a lawsuit or if Republicans and Democrats in Congress would be willing to go along with his plans.
Finally, Sanders proposed cutting $1.215 trillion from defense spending to protect the global oil supply from terrorism. In a world with Iran, North Korea, Russia and China, this could significantly dampen our ability to deter nations from threatening the United States.
Biden Hits Sanders Hard
On Tuesday morning, former Vice-President Joe Biden’s campaign hit Sanders hard for providing an “incomplete list” of how he would pay for his big government programs that would “more than double the size” of the government.
Biden’s campaign communications director, Kate Bedingfield, said Sanders’ proposals are nothing more than “back-of-the-napkin math” that don’t come close to paying the full costs and relies on “fuzzy accounting for what it does cover.”
Bedingfield also said that his proposals are political doubletalk and that Sanders is not being honest about tax hikes on the middle class.
The issue is likely to come up throughout the day on Tuesday as Democratic candidates prepare for the South Carolina debate on Tuesday night.
Biden holds a 5-point lead over Sanders in the RealClearPolitics average of polls in South Carolina.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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