Sanders's economic math doesn't add up, say former White House economists

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A group of former economic advisers to Presidents Obama and Clinton are taking Bernie SandersBernie SandersWasserman Schultz wins primary against Sanders-backed challenger Sanders-backed House hopeful supports Kaepernick protest Clinton taps Warren ally to sit on transition team MORE to task, arguing his economic math doesn’t add up.

Four former heads of the Council of Economic Advisers posted an open letter online Wednesday, arguing that the Democratic presidential candidate is relying on claims for his economic plans that cannot be backed up with evidence.

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And as long as the campaign makes such claims, they argue, it undermines Democrats hoping to make a more realistic economic case.

“These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates," they wrote.

The economists signing on the letter are Alan Krueger from Princeton University, Austan Goolsbee of the University of Chicago Booth School, and Christina Romer from the University of California at Berkeley.

Also signing onto the letter was Laura Tyson, also of the University of California at Berkeley. She chaired the economic council under President Clinton, from 1993 to 1995.

Krueger and Romer both have advised the campaign of Sanders rival Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump softens rhetoric in pitch to black voters Trump: Democrats are 'the party of slavery' Wasserman Schultz wins primary against Sanders-backed challenger MORE, and Tyson was an adviser during Clinton’s 2008 run, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Specifically, the economists called out Sanders's reliance on economic analysis from Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Friedman’s analysis has determined that Sanders’s economic proposals, including single-payer healthcare and new taxes on the wealthy, would lead to an explosion in average income and millions of new jobs.

On top of that, Friedman’s analysis determined that much of the cost of Sander’s universal healthcare plan would be covered by improved business productivity once employers no longer have to worry about providing insurance, as well as a booming economy.

Among the claims put forward by Friedman is that the economy would grow by 5.3 percent a year under Sanders’s policies.

The former White House economists say those claims are not based in reality, and “exceed even the most grandiose predictions” from Republicans touting their tax cut plans.

“As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes,” they wrote. “Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic.”

The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.