Study: Most would see net benefits from Sanders's proposals

Study: Most would see net benefits from Sanders's proposals
© Greg Nash

All but the wealthiest households would see net income gains under Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE’s proposals, according to a report released Monday.

“For most households, additional government benefits would more than offset the tax increases,” the non-partisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) said in the report.

Sanders has released a number of proposals to expand and create new social-insurance programs. These include single-payer healthcare, comprehensive coverage for long-term services and supports, expanding Social Security benefits, free college tuition at public universities and paid family leave. The candidate has proposed paying for these programs through tax changes for individuals and businesses.


TPC in March estimated that Sanders’s tax plan would raise $15.3 trillion over 10 years. Everyone would pay more taxes under his plan, and most of the new revenue would come from the wealthy.

The Sanders campaign complained that TPC’s tax analysis was “inaccurate and one-sided” because it did not look at the benefits people would receive from the candidate’s spending proposals.

TPC Director Len Burman told reporters that the center “thought the Sanders campaign had a point.”

The center’s latest analysis looks at who wins and who loses once Sanders’s new government benefits are taken into account as well.

TPC found that the average tax burden would increase by about $9,000 in 2017 but the average amount of benefits would increase by more than $13,000. As a result, households would on average receive a net income gain of almost $4,300 under Sanders’s proposals, TPC said.

Households in the bottom fifth of income would on average receive a net gain of more than $10,000, and those in the middle fifth of income would have an average gain of about $8,500. Those in the top 5 percent of income would see a net loss of about $111,000, TPC said.

“We have never seen a proposal as progressive” as Sanders’s, Burman said.

While most people would get a net benefit from Sanders’s proposals, the revenue that his tax plan would raise “would fall far short of paying for the new spending programs,” TPC said. The single-payer healthcare proposal itself would cost almost twice as much as Sanders’s tax plan would raise.

Sanders’s proposals would raise federal deficits by about $18 trillion over the next 10 years, and would increase the deficit by about $21 trillion when net interest is taken into account, TPC said.

“The ultimate distribution of benefits under the plan would depend upon whether the government financed that deficit through tax increases, spending cuts, increased borrowing, or some combination of these options,” TPC said. “A plan substantially financed by borrowing could raise interest rates and impose a substantial drag on the economy.”