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Michael Bennet: Money spent on tax cuts and wars 'might as well have [been] lit on fire'

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet has tallied up the costs of tax cuts and interventions in the Middle East since 2001 and he isn't mincing words.

“That's $12 or $13 trillion that we might as well have lit on fire," the Colorado Senator said to Rick Newman during a recent interview for Yahoo Finance’s Meet the Candidate series. "We could've fixed every road and bridge in America. We could've fixed every single airport infrastructure project in America. We could've fixed every water project in America. We could've made Social Security solvent forever. We could've paid down our deficit."

President Donald Trump has championed the cuts and repeatedly bragged, in the face of many fact checkers, that his tax cuts were the biggest in history. But Bennet notes that "we've spent, since 2001, $5 trillion on tax cuts. Almost all the benefit has gone to the wealthiest people in America."

So far at least, former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts appear to have the biggest price tag. An analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimated those cuts "would add $5.6 trillion to deficits from 2001 to 2018."

The costs (or benefits) from the Trump tax cuts of 2017 are still being debated, but Trump and his aides believe that economic growth will eventually offset that $1.5 trillion tax package.

Bennet is trying to break through in a crowded Democratic field with his message about America being at a breaking point. His new book, “The Land of Flickering Lights,” lays out his belief that "We're doing the opposite of what we need to be doing."

Colorado Sen. and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet is interviewed by Yahoo Finance Senior Columnist Rick Newman at Yahoo offices in New York City on Friday, June 7, 2019. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

Whether he succeeds remains to be seen. During the interview, he jokingly noted that "I saw that the Mueller Report is out competing ‘The Land of Flickering Lights’" in the bestseller rankings.

He added, in a message to American voters, "buy my book but definitely buy the Mueller Report."

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