New study: Bernie Sanders’ budget would raise taxes $13.6 trillion over a decade

Democrats took control of government spending in 2007
Democrats took control of government spending in 2007

It’s very strange to me that young people seem to like Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric so much. Have they really considered what his budget would require?

Here’s an article from the Washington Free Beacon that talks about a non-partisan study from the Tax Foundation think tank.


(I., Vt.) proposed tax plan would raise taxes by $13.6 trillion over the next decade and reduce the economy’s size by 9.5 percent, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

While on the campaign trail, the senator has proposed $18 trillion in spending over the next decade. His plan includes $15 trillion for a government-run single-payer health care plan and trillions more for Social Security, roads and bridges, higher education, paid family and medical leave, and private pension funds, to name just a few.

Sanders’ proposed tax plan will increase marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, a move that will significantly reduce GDP, lower wages, and eliminate jobs.

According to the Tax Foundation, Sanders aims most of his tax provisions at high-income households, creating four new income tax brackets with rates of 37 percent, 43 percent, 48 percent, and 52 percent. Additionally, Sanders would tax capital gains and dividends for households with income over $250,000 and create a 2.2 percent income-based health care premium.

However, as Sanders has admitted, his plan also includes tax increases on the middle class. “We will raise taxes. Yes, we will,” Sanders said at the CNN town hall last weekend.

“A majority of the revenue raised by Sanders plan would come from a new 6.2 percent employer-side payroll tax, a new 2.2 percent broad-based income tax and the elimination of tax expenditures relating to healthcare,” the analysis explains.

According to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, even without Sanders’ tax plan the nation’s economy is projected to expand at a rate much lower than in recent decades. Sanders’ plan would lower the growth rate further, as its proposed marginal tax rate increases on labor and capital would reduce GDP by 9.5 percent in the long term.

“At the center of my campaign is how we’re going to raise wages,” Sanders said at the first Democratic debate. “Yes, of course, raise the minimum wage, but we have to do so much more, including finding ways so that companies share profits with the workers who helped to make them. And then we have to figure out how we’re going to make the tax system a fairer one.”

“And in my view what we need to do is create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; pay equity for women workers; and our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and university in this country tuition-free,” he said.

After accounting for reductions in economic growth, Sanders’ plan would lead to 12.84 percent lower after-tax incomes for all taxpayers, 6 million fewer full-time jobs, and an 18.6 percent smaller capital stock.

Let’s take a look at a few of these from the perspective of a non-clown.

Minimum wage

You know, you don’t have to be an economics genius to understand that this man is a fool – the equivalent of a clown trying to take control of a nuclear power plant. Just look at his position on minimum wage. Every economist understands that raising the minimum wage causes businesses to lay off workers. Why? Because they have to pay for the higher minimum wage somehow. Either they lay off workers and scale back their business, or they charge consumers more. When you charge consumers more, they buy less of what you’re selling. So, usually it means laying off workers.

This Daily Signal article explains what happened when liberal cities raised their minimum wage rates.

Payroll tax

Raising the rate o the employer payroll tax means that employers will basically have to pay more for the same labor. They X labor out of their employees now, and paying Y wages. After Sanders, they will be getting X labor still, but paying a higher Y in wages. What will they do? They will simply let go of their least productive employees and scale back their business, maybe expanding abroad and sending jobs to a country where they are taxed less.

This article from the Fraser Institute explains what happens when companies have to pay more to employ workers.


Bernie Sanders thinks that consumers should pay more for consumer goods. That’s what happens when you slap tariffs on goods manufactured in other countries. Consumers and businesses end up paying more for the same product, leaving less money for other things that you need for your family.

Here’s a post that explains why free trade is best for consumers.

Single payer health care

Single payer health care is supported by economic illiterates in the Democrat and Republican parties – both Sanders and Trump support it. What single payer does is allow government workers to take a cut of every transaction between you and your doctor, effectively imposing a tax on medical treatment without adding any value. It would be as if every transaction between you and were to be funneled through the government to see if you were allowed to buy what you wanted, and for how much. Obviously, we would have to hire government workers to make decisions about your Amazon purchases, to make you wait in line behind others who wanted the same items, and to process payments to Amazon.

Just read this Boston Globe article about the costs of Vermont’s (failed) proposal to have single-payer health care.

Public Works

Henry Hazlitt’s book “Economics in One Lesson” explains the problem with taxing the private sector to build public works.

Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, chapter 4, entitled “Public Works Mean Taxes”.


Therefore, for every public job created by the bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else. We can see the men employed on the bridge. We can watch them at work. The employment argument of the government spenders becomes vivid, and probably for most people convincing. But there are other things that we do not see, because, alas, they have never been permitted to come into existence. They are the jobs destroyed by the $10 million taken from the taxpayers. All that has happened, at best, is that there has been a diversion of jobs because of the project. More bridge builders; fewer automobile workers, television technicians, clothing workers, farmers.

And consider Chapter 5 as well, entitled “Taxes Discourage Production”.

In our modern world there is never the same percentage of income tax levied on everybody. The great burden of income taxes is imposed on a minor percentage of the nation’s income; and these income taxes have to be supplemented by taxes of other kinds. These taxes inevitably affect the actions and incentives of those from whom they are taken. When a corporation loses a hundred cents of every dollar it loses, and is permitted to keep only fifty-two cents of every dollar it gains, and when it cannot adequately offset its years of losses against its years of gains, its policies are affected. It does not expand its operations, or it expands only those attended with a minimum of risk. People who recognize this situation are deterred from starting new enterprises. Thus old employers do not give more employment, or not as much more as they might have; and others decide not to become employers at all. Improved machinery and better-equipped factories come into existence much more slowly than they otherwise would. The result in the long run is that consumers are prevented from getting better and cheaper products to the extent that they otherwise would, and that real wages are held down, compared with what they might have been.

There is a similar effect when personal incomes are taxed 50, 60 or 70 percent. People begin to ask themselves why they should work six, eight or nine months of the entire year for the government, and only six, four or three months for themselves and their families. If they lose the whole dollar when they lose, but can keep only a fraction of it when they win, they decide that it is foolish to take risks with their capital. In addition, the capital available for risk-taking itself shrinks enormously. It is being taxed away before it can be accumulated. In brief, capital to provide new private jobs is first prevented from coming into existence, and the part that does come into existence is then discouraged from starting new enterprises. The government spenders create the very problem of unemployment that they profess to solve.

Why anyone would consider a man who has never held a private sector job for any length of time is beyond me. That article explains that Sanders has only ever collected unemployment or worked in government jobs. My cashier at Chick-Fil-A understands more about economics than this fool.

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