Politics

Sanders’s Spending Plan Would Set ‘Peacetime Record’

Sen. Bernie Sanders Holds Town Hall At Motorcycle Museum In Iowa
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The pile of spending programs proposed by 2020 presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) would set a "peacetime record" for government spending, a CNN analysis released Tuesday shows.

Sanders's proposed spending thus far would cost roughly $60 trillion, the analysis found. That would represent an "expansion of government's cost and size unprecedented since World War II," according to an estimate provided to CNN by former secretary of the treasury Larry Summers.

"This is far more radical than all previous presidencies, on either the right or the left," Summers told CNN. "The Sanders spending increase is roughly 2.5 times the size of the New Deal and the estimated fiscal impact of George McGovern's campaign proposals. This is six times as large of a growth of government than any of the Ronald Reagan dismemberments. We are in a kind of new era of radical proposal."

Summers estimated that Sanders would raise federal spending by 20 percent of GDP over 10 years, an increase only paralleled by a 33 percentage point increase over the course of World War II. To do so, Sanders would more than double federal spending, which is currently projected to total roughly $52 trillion over the next 10 years.

By comparison, Summers estimated that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) would raise spending by 12 percent of GDP, Pete Buttigieg by 2 percent of GDP, and Joe Biden by 1 percent of GDP.

The driving force behind this spending spree is Sanders's Medicare for All proposal, widely agreed to cost roughly $30 trillion dollars over the next decade. Other big-ticket items include Sanders's $16 trillion Green New Deal—20 times more expensive than the original New Deal—and a federal "jobs guarantee," which would give every American who wanted one a federal job, to the tune of $7.5 trillion over 10 years.

This spending bonanza, CNN estimated, could not hope to be paid for without substantially increasing taxes on the middle class. Sanders, who has promised repeatedly to do just that, has still only proposed $23 trillion in tax increases. At the same time, the added taxation and government control would likely adversely impact America's economic health.

"The economy's long-term growth would likely be somewhat diminished by these policies," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, told CNN. "Most significantly, they would raise businesses' cost of capital, reduce investment, and thus weigh on productivity and overall economic growth."

Tuesday's estimate nearly double's the Washington Free Beacon‘s own accounting of Sanders's spending total, released last July. The disparity is attributable largely to programs that Sanders has proposed or put a price tag on in the intervening months, in effect meaning that he has promised an additional $24 trillion in spending over the past seven months.