Economists Question Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Proposals

Democratic critics say he underestimates costs, has 'extreme claims' about economic effects

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders / AP


Four economists are questioning the math in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I., Vt.) campaign proposals, saying he underestimates costs and overestimates revenue the proposed policies would generate, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The criticism began after Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics, praised Bernie’s economic program saying it would increase gross domestic product to 5.3 percent annually.

Three of the critics were directors for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, and one was a director for Bill Clinton. They said in a letter to Friedman that there was no evidence to support his claim.

“As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes,” the four democratic economists wrote. They were particularly critical of Sanders’ single-payer, government-run health care proposal, saying that it has ‘unrealistic reductions’ in proposed spending.

A health economist said that Sanders’ health plan would require $24 trillion in new federal spending over 10 years, far more than the campaign’s $13.8 trillion estimate.

“He said Mr. Sanders is vastly overstating the savings that national health care will generate, projecting unrealistic reductions in spending on prescription drugs and administration,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “He said Mr. Sanders also is underestimating the increased demand for care that will come from newly insured patients and from those who are now discouraged by co-payments and deductibles, which Mr. Sanders plans to eliminate.”

“The economist critics argue that the overly rosy projections risk undercutting the Democrats’ reputation as ‘the party of responsible arithmetic,’ and said such statements undercut the party’s ability to critique Republicans,” the article states.

Ali Meyer

Ali Meyer   Email Ali | Full Bio | RSS
Ali Meyer is a staff writer with the Washington Free Beacon covering economic issues that expose government waste, fraud, and abuse. Prior to the Free Beacon, she was a multimedia reporter with where her work appeared on outlets such as Drudge Report and Fox News. She also interned with the Heritage Foundation and Pacific Research Institute. Her Twitter handle is @DJAliMeyer, and her email address is

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