What do Nevadans think about Sanders? 2:20
(CNN) – Bernie Sanders, the clear favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, was asked over the weekend how much his various plans would cost if they were implemented. He did not know.
This is the exchange between Sanders and Anderson Cooper on the TV show “60 Minutes”:RELATED
Cooper: Do you know how much? I mean, do you have a price for all this?
Sanders: We have it. I mean, you know, and … and … the price is, it will be substantially less than dispensing with the current system. I think it’s 30 billion dollars.
Cooper: Is that only for “Medicare for all”?
Sanders: That only for “Medicare for all,” yes.
Cooper: Does it have a cost for all these things?
Sanders: No, no. We try, no, you mentioned making public colleges and universities free and canceling all student debt, that’s right. That’s what I want to do. That would be paid by a modest tax on Wall Street speculation.
Cooper: But he says he doesn’t know the total price, but he knows how it will be paid. How do you know it will be paid if you don’t know how much it costs?
Sanders: Well, I can’t, you know, I can’t tell you every penny. But we have calculated, you talked about it, the “Medicare for all”. We have options that will pay for it.
What? So, Sanders not only a) is not sure how much all his proposals would cost, but also b) is unable to say how he would pay for these programs. That seems to me a potential weak point if Sanders ends up as a Democratic candidate facing President Donald Trump.
Is Bernie Sanders communist? 6:30
Something to which the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden reacted immediately. “For the second time in the last month, Senator Sanders has admitted that he doesn’t know the astronomical price that his new programs would impose on American families,” said Biden campaign deputy director Kate Bedingfield. “That is unsustainable.”
And in a memorandum from the Third Way Democratic centrist group sent the weekend in which they warn the party of the dangers of nominating Sanders, the authors Jonathan Cowan and Matt Bennett write:
“Experts estimate that Sanders’ main proposals would cost the staggering sum of $ 60 billion and double the size of the government (while their tax plans would fall 27 billion short). For something you are asked about the cost of your plans; Sanders refuses to answer, saying that he really has no idea and that ‘nobody has it.”
That $ 60 billion number comes from Ron Brownstein, of The Atlantic, a CNN contributor, who broke down the costs of Sanders’ proposals such as “Medicare for all,” the “New Green Deal” and free tuition at universities public and reached that impressive figure.
How big is that number? What Brownstein says puts the 60 billion dollars in spending proposals in a very clear context:
“The Vermont independent agenda is an unprecedented expansion in the cost and size of the government since World War II, according to estimates from its own website and projections from a wide variety of tax experts.
Should Hispanics vote for Sanders? Opinion of Montaner 2:34
“Sanders’ plan, although not all of its costs can be quantified precisely, would increase public spending in proportion to the size of the economy much more than President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Lyndon Johnson Great Society or the agenda proposed by any Recent Democratic presidential candidate, including the liberal George McGovern in 1972, according to a historical analysis shared with CNN by Larry Summers, the former economic advisor to the White House of Barack Obama and Secretary of the Treasury of Bill Clinton. ”
Now keep in mind that there is no estimate of a credible budget service that indicates that the government could generate the type of revenue needed to pay for that increase in spending over the next decade. Sanders’ plan to increase taxes on the rich and corporations would close part of that gap, but a study by a researcher at the Manhattan Institute (a conservative expert group) cited by Brownstein suggests that the maximum income from tax increases from Sanders is 23 trillion dollars.
Sanders does not talk much about the price of what he is proposing or the very real probability that his tax plan is not enough to cover the spending gap he would create. Which makes sense, because, politically speaking, the idea of raising taxes on what we generally consider the middle class is not very popular among, well, the middle class. (On the other hand, raising taxes on the rich or corporations leaves politically cold.)
Sanders’ request to Russia: Do not intrude 0:37
But Sanders once admitted the harsh reality of how his plans would be paid during a summer debate. This is the exchange between Sanders and Savannah Guthrie, of the NBC network (the bold ones are mine):
Guthrie: Will you raise taxes to the middle class in a Sanders government?
Sanders: People who receive medical care under “Medicare for all” will not have premiums, deductibles, co-payments or out-of-pocket costs. Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in medical care.
So, this is what we know so far about Sanders’ plans:
1) Not sure how much they will cost.
2) You are not entirely sure how you would pay them.
3) It is likely that they will be paid by increasing taxes to the middle class.
Wow, boy! Perhaps Sanders is right that the United States is ready for a fundamental change in how we value ourselves, our society and our money. But if you don’t have it, and this election ends up being like any other, in which people vote according to who will allow you to keep more money in your pocket, then Sanders (and the Democrats by extension) have a big problem.