Report: Sanders's proposals would add trillions to the debt

Report: Sanders's proposals would add trillions to the debt
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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE's proposals would add $2 trillion to $15 trillion to the national debt, an analysis published Thursday found.

The range is due to differing estimates about the cost of Sanders’s healthcare plan, and the figures include net interest, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) said in its report.

While Sanders “deserves a great deal of credit for proposing specific and serious offsets for his spending proposals,” his offsets “would fall significantly short of the costs,” CRFB said.


Sanders’s major spending proposals include single-payer healthcare, free college tuition at public colleges and paid family and medical leave. He would offset his initiatives through a number of tax changes.

His proposals “would raise both spending and revenue to far beyond any previous levels in the United States over the last half century,” CRFB said.

The group found that Sanders major spending initiatives would cost from $17 trillion to $28 trillion, depending on health assumptions and without including net interest. However, his tax plan would only raise about $15.7 trillion.

When including net interest, Sanders would cause debt to rise from 86 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2026 under current law to between 93 and 139 percent of GDP by 2026, CRFB said.

This contrasts with the Sanders campaign’s estimates, CRFB said. The campaign estimates that the Vermont senator’s proposals would on net reduce deficits by $2.8 trillion over the next decade and would lead to a debt-to-GDP ratio of 75 percent by 2026.

CRFB said the differences between its estimates and the campaign’s estimates are in part due to the fact that it believes the taxes proposed to pay for Sanders’s college and healthcare plans will raise significantly less revenue than the campaign estimates.

Sanders’s proposals “certainly fall short of putting the debt on a sustainable path,” CRFB said.

“This is particularly troubling given that the magnitude of Senator Sanders’s tax increases leave few options available to further tackle the debt,” the group added.

The CFRB estimates largely are based on estimates from independent sources such as the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

This is the third analysis CRFB has done of presidential candidates’ policies in full. The group estimates that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz would add $12.5 trillion to the national debt by 2026, and fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump would add $12 trillion to $15 trillion to the debt in that time period.