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Here’s What the Democratic Candidates’ Agendas Will Cost

Yuval Rosenberg

The Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic think tank, has released an analysis of the tax and spending proposals of four leading Democratic presidential candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“All four leading Democratic candidates for president would offer a dramatic departure from the Trump administration’s agenda of cutting taxes for the rich, slashing public investment, and undermining health-care coverage for millions of Americans,” the report by Ben Ritz and Brendan McDermott says.

While each candidate would raise both taxes and spending, Sanders and Warren propose far greater increases in both. The report, unsurprisingly, warns that they “would likely have trouble finding enough revenue sources to pay for their expensive agendas without exacerbating the enormous budget problems America already faces. Warren proposes over $8 trillion more in new spending than in new revenue over the next decade, while the Sanders shortfall is over $27 trillion – more than the total value of all goods and services produced by the U.S. economy in a year.”

Given that Warren has already proposed steep tax hikes on the wealthy, Ritz says that it will be difficult for her to fund all of her plans without breaking her commitment to avoid raising taxes on the middle class.

Biden, meanwhile, has proposed $1.8 trillion more in spending then he has in revenue increases. His plans call for the least new spending, but the highest share going to infrastructure, education and scientific research — areas that the authors say lay the foundation for long-term economic growth but where government spending has fallen by more than 40% since the 1970s.

Buttigieg is the only candidate among the four to have fully offset the cost of his agenda, with $200 billion more in revenue than new spending.

The think tank says that there isn’t enough information available to assess the fiscal effects of proposals from two other Democratic candidates, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

See the full report here.


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