Bernie Sanders’ vision for America would increase government spending by trillions of dollars if he were elected president and implemented all of his proposals. The independent U.S. senator from Vermont -- who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination -- has called for far-reaching government programs that total $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to the Wall Street Journal, which released a fiscal analysis of the candidate’s proposals Tuesday.
Sanders’ spending plan would require an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run, universal healthcare system. Tens of billions more would be spent on infrastructure, a Social Security expansion and free tuition at public colleges. “One of the demands of my campaign is that we think big and not small,” Sanders recently said in a speech to the Democratic National Committee.
The programs are so expensive because they would address an array of festering problems, said Warren Gunnels, Sanders’ policy director. “Sen. Sanders’ agenda does cost money,” Gunnels told the Journal. “If you look at the problems that are out there, it’s very reasonable.”
But unless Democrats can regain control of the House and increase their margin in the Senate in 2016, enacting Sanders' programs would be nearly impossible. Some of his proposals are too liberal for even some centrist Democrats, although Sanders would raise taxes in a way that Democrats have previously supported.
Sanders’ tax increases would target corporations and Americans earning an income of $250,000 or more per year. He would also urge increases in the capital gains tax, the estate tax and personal income-tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, the Journal reported.
While establishment Democrats and Republicans have dismissed Sanders’ White House bid as improbable because of his socialist platform, he has significantly narrowed the lead against front-runner Hillary Clinton. Sanders was ahead of or tied with the former secretary of state in Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the earliest primary states.