Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is known for proposing dramatic expansions of the government's role in many areas, including healthcare and higher education. But all those proposals come with a price tag that will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars.
Sanders does propose tax hikes that would pay off some of the increased spending he proposes. Still, analysis from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says those tax hikes aren't enough to cover all the new spending. "It appears unlikely these offsets would be sufficient to fully pay for his new initiatives — let alone put the debt on a fiscally sustainable path," the group's analysis states.
Sanders' proposals would cost between $17 trillion and $28 trillion, depending on how much healthcare costs rise. But his tax increases would raise no more than $16 trillion. Add interest on the debt into the mix, and Sanders' proposals would raise the national debt by about $2 trillion to $15 trillion over 10 years, beyond the increases already projected under current law.
From there, it gets worse,he analysis doesn't try to project the economic effects of Sanders' proposals. The proposed tax hikes "would likely be above the revenue-maximizing levels for the highest earners and could lead to slower growth and an even higher debt-to-GDP ratio. … Furthermore, the tax increases proposed to pay for such an ambitious agenda leave far fewer options available to reverse the growth of the debt."
Either way, Sanders' proposals would increase federal taxes and spending "far beyond any previous levels in the United States over the last half century." As a portion of GDP, tax revenue has never exceeded 20 percent. Sanders would go beyond that to 25 percent.
Essentially, a Sanders presidency would mean the biggest government in most Americans' lifetimes.
Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.