Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said his climate change plan will result in "a lot of taxpayers out there who will be paying more in taxes" during CNN's climate town hall on Wednesday night.
Richard Katz, a restaurant industry worker, asked Sanders to be specific about where the money will be coming from to pay for his climate plan, prompting Sanders to mention how he is asked this question all the time.
"People say, ‘Bernie, you're spending a lot of money. Is it realistic?' And my response to them is ‘Is it realistic to not listen to the scientists and to create a situation where the planet that our children and grandchildren and future generations will be living in will be increasingly uninhabitable and unhealthy? Is that realistic?'"
He went on to say Democrats have a "moral responsibility" to act boldly and acknowledged combatting climate change will be "expensive."
"We are paying for this over a 15-year period by the way," Sanders said. "We believe that the federal government is the best way to move aggressively to produce sustainable energy like wind and solar… thirdly, we are not going to have to spend money on the military defending oil interests around the world. We can cut military spending there as well."
"Fourthly, our program will create up to 20 million good-paying jobs over the period of the 15 years and when we do that you're going to have a lot of taxpayers out there who will be paying more in taxes. You will have people not getting food stamps and so forth," Sanders continued.
Sanders debuted his version of the Green New Deal in late-August, which would require $16.3 trillion "in public spending to transition the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and completely decarbonize by 2050," the Washington Free Beacon reported.
With his proposal, Sanders solidifies his lead as the biggest-spending candidate for president in the 2020 field. A July Free Beacon analysis found that Sanders had announced $36 trillion in spending proposals since the start of the campaign. His $16 trillion not only brings this total over the $50 trillion mark, but sails past the climate proposals of other candidates—topping Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (N.Y.) ambitious $10 trillion plan.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal cost about $780 billion, adjusted for inflation, according to an estimate from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. That means Sanders's proposal would be more than 20 times more expensive than its predecessor.