It’s the most frequent retort used by those who aren’t fans of Bernie Sanders, one that Sanders’ supporters are all too familiar with: “How will Sanders pay for all of these big ideas, without stirring up trillions of dollars in debt?” This question often arrives in tandem with the critique that his views are “unrealistic” or that he’s a “radical.”
Hillary Clinton’s supporters have been using these arguments for months, but now that the former Secretary of State is free-falling in the polls, Republicans are starting their anti-Bernie offensive with the same attack lines. But here’s where this whole argument falls flat: Bernie Sanders’ “radical” proposals are actually populist views that appeal not only to liberals, but to moderates and conservatives as well. And furthermore, his entire platform is “paid for” when you take in all of his ideas.
Oooooh… Spooky Socialism!
Before we delve into the money, let’s first examine these “radical” ideas that Bernie Sanders is proposing, and explain for the less-initiated how these ideas aren’t all that radical at all. Not only are they mostly wanted by a majority of Americans, but these ideas will actually save the government money in the long-term, something most politicians never think about, as they’re more interested in short-term growth that will benefit them at the polls.
Single-Payer Health Care: Often touted as the most “extreme” of his ideas, Bernie Sanders is proposing that we guarantee healthcare as a right of citizenship, and enact true universal health care. Economist Gerald Friedman has actually crunched the numbers, and says Sanders’ plan would save the US $5 trillion (with a “T”) over ten years. And that’s before we’ve calculated in all of the other ideas Sanders is proposing here. A majority of Americans want single-payer health care, too, so this one is a no-brainer.
Free Tuition For College: The next of Bernie Sanders’ “radical” ideas is that every American citizen who gets decent grades should have full and free access to a college education. It’s obvious how this would benefit the economy: Americans would no longer be paying extortionate fees for higher education, instead spreading that money through the economy. This means we’ll have a more skilled labor force as well. And is this idea populist? Of course it is… but you could’ve guessed that, right?
A $15 Minimum Wage: Let’s start by debunking a popular myth: No, raising the minimum wage will not cause out-of-control inflation. A Purdue University study found that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would raise costs in fast food establishments by a staggering 4.3%. That’s it. That means a McDonald’s Big Mac meal, which costs $5.69 today, would cost $5.93 after the minimum wage increase, a difference of 24 cents. Meanwhile, the economy overall would be booming, because those minimum wage workers are taking home more money. They can save more and, perhaps more importantly, spend more.
The Ideas That DON’T Pay For Themselves (But They Really Still Do)
Some will argue that not all of Bernie Sanders’ proposals would directly benefit the economy in the short-term or long-term. His two most costly proposals include universal childcare and a prekindergarten program, and rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. He’s also proposing an expansion of WIC, but it almost seems silly to mention that given how tiny the WIC budget is today.
Of course, these ideas aren’t really bad for the economy, and will reap some serious rewards as well. Universal childcare means working parents can utilize daycare facilities without spending thousands of dollars per year for the privilege (some families are paying more than $18k per year for childcare, just so they can go to work). Rebuilding America’s infrastructure means Americans can move quicker and more safely, products can be shipped more efficiently, and we’d be spending less on vehicular repairs from those pesky potholes.
How Bernie Sanders Will “Pay For It”
Some of you are satiated, but a few of you are still wondering how Bernie Sanders will pay for all of these big ideas of his. But the answers are pretty obvious if you’ve actually taken a few moments to hear his ideas. Many of his proposals are focused on bolstering Federal revenue and strengthening the economy.
Bernie Sanders’ ideas are pretty simple:
- Raise income and capital gains taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans
- Enact legislation that prevents corporations from sending jobs overseas
- Stop corporations from dodging taxes by parking their wealth in offshore bank accounts
- End corporate welfare
- Reverse trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR which have driven American wages into the dirt and have cost us millions of jobs
- Invest $5.5 billion into a youth jobs program, creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged youths
- Expand Social Security by lifting the taxable income cap to $250k
- Strengthen America’s unions (if we had stronger unions, we wouldn’t need a minimum wage at all)
- Some good ole’ fashioned, Teddy Roosevelt-style trust busting. Sanders wants to break up America’s biggest financial institutions so that we never hear the phrase “too big to fail” again
So Yes, Bernie Sanders’ Proposals Are Paid For… And No, They Aren’t “Radical”
Bernie Sanders has risen from a longshot, dark-horse candidate with no real chance of victory to being Hillary Clinton’s worst primary nightmare, and he’s accomplished this without a single super PAC backing his candidacy (in lockstep with his pledge to get big money out of politics).
Why are so many people flocking to support him? Why are his massive campaign rallies breaking records everywhere he speaks? Why are so many people “feeling the Bern?” The answer is pretty simple: People are taking the time to look at Sanders’ ideas, and once they comprehend it, it’s pretty difficult to form an argument against him. His ideas are rational, popular with voters, and more thought-out and descriptive than the proposals of his rivals on either side of the aisle. And all of that comes without the burden of the needs of special interests.
So please, before you claim Bernie Sanders’ ideas are outlandish or unrealistic, before you argue that his platform is lofty and unsupported fiscally, take some time to actually read and comprehend his platform. Because arguing against him without knowing anything about what he actually stands for certainly isn’t helping your cause.