How Bernie Sanders Will Pay For Everything

A common criticism labeled against presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (outside of being a communist) is that he wants to give away all this free stuff without paying for it. This comment isn’t as slanderous as it might appear, however, as Sanders has been somewhat less-vocal on how he plans to financially support all his amazing positions without running the Federal Government into the ground (something Bill Maher tried to push him on on last week’s episode of Real Time).

However, what is false about these claims is that Sanders does in fact have very logical methods for backing these programs without raising taxes too much on middle class Americans. Let’s look at each category:

Single-Payer Healthcare

Perhaps the single most memorable aspect of Sanders’s platform is the fact that he wants to expand Medicare to every American in this country. Sanders justifies this by pointing out how we pay much more for a lower-quality system than other countries with a single payer plan.

Sanders plans to pay for this through the American Health Security Act. Under this bill, various new taxes would be imposed, including: a 6.7 percent employer payroll tax, a 5.4 percent tax on high-income individuals, a .02 percent tax on securities transactions, and a progressive tax on individuals making between $200,000 to $600,000 a year.

Tuition-Free College

Sanders’s strong appeal among millennials relies on his fiery stance on many issues dear to us, including the terrible college debt situation we have now. Sanders wishes for everyone to have equal access to a high quality education in this country, not just for debt reasons but because it actively discourages high school students from wanting to attend universities.

The average year-long tuition for an in-state student is over $9000 (keep that specific category in mind since out-of-state fees are even more ridiculous), meaning people going for a bachelor’s degree will end up with over $36,000 in debt by the time they graduate (and that’s discounting the interest that builds up over the years).

Sanders plans to pay for this through the College for All Act. Aptly named, but what are the specifics? Well, for one, there’s going to be several taxes on Wall Street speculation- .5 percent on investment houses, hedge funds, and stock trades, .01 percent on bonds, and .005 percent fee on derivatives.

These numbers may sound small, but they will procure billions of dollars in funds for Bernie’s tuition free college.

Clean Energy

Sanders has been a committed environmentalist during his entire career, so it’s no surprise that he wants to tackle climate change head on through supporting green energy initiatives.

But, conservatives may ask, how do you plan to do this since Solyndra failed? Well, through several pieces of legislation: the Climate Protection ActSuper Pollutants Act, and the Sustainable Energy Act. All have been held back so far because of Republican House members, but they each strive to tackle a very important aspect of shifting the economy towards a pro-environment standard.

The Climate Protection Act would do two things- impose a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emitters, as well as pump millions of funds into clean energy technologies. The Super Pollutants Act would financially go after corporations that deliberately pollute the environment and get away with it. And finally the Sustainable Energy Act continues many of the policies set forth in the Climate Protection Act, including providing funds for a billion dollars to transition workers into their new jobs and tripling the budget of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a government agency that develops advanced energy technologies.

The carbon tax imposed by these pieces of legislation would be more than enough to provide the funds for these initiatives, with the specifics being a $20 carbon tax per ton of carbon emissions that will rise by 5.6 percent over the course of 10 years.

So as you can see, all the whining on the Right is just that- whining that Sanders actually has legitimate plans for the betterment of the United States, while the lot of them are stuck on deciding whether or not we need to build a freaking wall around the country.



Big liberal and gamer.


75 thoughts on “How Bernie Sanders Will Pay For Everything

  1. Brianna Catherine Seward

    I really, really want to know how the hell anything we need to get done will get done with the current congress we have if Bernie Sanders is president. Would there be an extensive list of the people we need to make sure we vote out come time? One with their track records, and whether or not they vote for what the people want, or what they themselves want?

    1. Lynda Christman

      Just vote out all Republicans. The main reason is that the party is falling apart and is dysfunctional. By doing this we will give all the people who replace the ones voted out, a very strong message. Work for us, not corporations. After that be prepared to call, mail your Stae Reps or protest as you are needed to by Bernie. His organization will let everyone know what is going on and give complete instructions what is needed.

      1. Bob Carpenter

        Right, because every democrat is clearly only for the people, not owned by corporations and big money Wall Street like the republicans huh. Sounds pretty sycophant and a bit psychotic…

        1. Michael Rappaport

          Actually, it’s a sane reaction to a psychotic system. Once was the time when a good Republican was better than a mediocre Democrat, but now even potentially “good” Republicans are forced to maintain party discipline and vote with the rest of the party. Theoretically, a mediocre Democrat would be better on nominations and other important issues. Standing strong against Wall Street and the 1 percent may have to wait for a better day.

        1. Katie Sabin

          both parties have taken advantage of the tax payers only to fill their pockets. follow the money or watch the movie the big short it explains everything.

          1. James

            Lol, Fannie Mae and federal Reserve inflated the market, banks and investors exploited it. Big short gives half the story.

      2. James

        Hillary’s biggest financial backers are some of the largest corporations in America. You must really try and do your homework before you start slandering Republicans. Democrats have more support among billionaires than Republicans. Just look at the states that support Republicans

          1. M Thomas Brantley

            No fallacy but your own here, Red, a fallacist’s fallacy. The premise of the rebuttal is correct, because the original argument asserted voting democrat would effectively ascertain the will of the individual as opposed to corporate interest.

            Hillary, the Democratic front runner, is deep in corporate pockets and therefore serves as evidence contrary to the original claim.

    2. Eddy Roberts

      @Brianna, You have to carry your vote down ticket as well. You don’t just vote for Bernie, you vote for the progressive candidate for Senate, House, Governor, and state representatives as well. And you have to remember to come out in 2 years again. That was one the big problems for Obama, the progressives didn’t go out to vote in 2010 (and the conservative base did.)

    3. politickjustin

      You can only vote in your district, and it’s your responsibility to be familiar with the congressperson and Senators that represent you. If they’re Republicans or Blue Dog conservative Dems, vote ’em out. Hillary OR Bernie won’t be able to accomplish crap with these Tea Party intestinal blockages.

    4. Red Stewart Post author

      What we’re hoping is Bernie’s presidential campaign reignites the passion within the Democratic Party so that they actually go out and convince people to vote for them like the GOP does.

  2. Oberon

    Brianna, good thoughts. If Bernie “drives” the vote, than we may be able to see lower voting contests go to less conservaives/Republicans. So it is predicated on other positions changing to Dem, along with Bernie.

  3. novenator

    Good article, but it missed a couple points.

    1. Social Security expansion. 45% of all income is exempt from Social Security taxation, so by removing the cap of $118,500, the payroll tax for Americans could be reduced to 6.8% from 12.4% with the same revenue (before expansion).

    2. 12 Week Paid Maternal leave. Bernie is proposing a 0.2% payroll tax to pay for this so there is no burden on employers. As noted, even after expanding Social Security, the payroll tax could be reduced on that, easily offsetting this minimal 0.2% raise.

    Also remember to point out that MFA may involve an additional payroll tax, but even after that it will save Americans literally thousands of dollars every year by eliminating expensive health insurance, deductibles, copays, and other health care costs (costs that are still rising by about 7-8% per year).

  4. Roger

    It’s comforting to know that the Congress will never go for any of this stuff; I especially can’t afford an increased tax rate of 6.7%.

    1. Bethany

      That 6.7% is on the employers not the employees. That 6.7% on the employer is also instead of what they would have been paying into insurance.

      1. Pat

        It is the same thing, Overhead and taxes related to hiring someone are as much a cost to the company as the actual paycheck.

      2. James

        We’re really seeking to put the job creators in a pinch aren’t we? Increase minimum wage and increase to do business. Almost makes it not worth the incredible effort it takes to run a successful company.

  5. Ron

    First of all taxes will go up that’s a given. Out of pocket money will go down because you not be paying for Med insurances. Don’t build one aircraft carrier and you just paid for college or everyone. The Oil companies pay taxes and we could pay school lunch for all the kids in public schools! You see there is a way for this to happen.

    1. Red Stewart Post author

      Bernie more than likely does plan to cut the military. The problem is, when you make any sort of statement that can be twisted as an attack on the military, the press (mainly Fox News) will act on it. Bernie is just playing it smart at this point by focusing on the broader socioeconomic issues.

    2. Drew

      At the cost of 26 billion per aircraft carrier and college tuition being 9,000 a year the savings wouldn’t even pay for 1 year for “free” college. It’s not like aircraft carriers are being built every year anyways. There’s a way for it too happen but Bernie is promising the world without a clear plan to deliver.

      1. Binky

        Drew, Bernie stated in order to provide for free tuition for college he was going to tax Wall Street for their speculation. It would amount to pennies for them, but Wll Street would never miss it. It would end up giving the US an extra $80 BILLION a year.

          1. Emm Vee

            The money would come from high frequency trading and it would be a .50% tax rate per trade. The hedge fund guys make billions per year. A half of a percent tax won’t hurt them.

          1. Red Stewart Post author

            Hence why we can’t just support Bernie, we need to support every single Democratic candidate running for office.

  6. toddw81

    What is laughable is people actually think they will not end up personally paying for all of these extra taxes Sanders would levy against us.

    Remember shit roles down hill, all this “free” stuff will cost the average person more than they get for “free” because the bureaucrats will need to get their cut first and the rich will not pay for it.

    1. Binky

      Not true toddw81. If Bernie Sanders eliminates ACA and replaces with Medicare for All which is MUCH less expensive and would allow the US to negotiate prescription drug costs, etc. it would be a lot less expensive. In regards to tuition, California used to have free tuition until Reagan became governor and got rid of that. FDR implemented GI bill for Veterans and their families and people got educated and got good jobs which helped build a middle class. An educated country is a GOOD thing. The rich will end up paying their fair share of taxes. I don’t know exactly what that would be but it would be higher than it is now. Even if the middle class had to pay 10% more in taxes (not saying that middle class would), the middle class would still be much better off as they wouldn’t have to worry about Health Care costs, costs to send their kids to college, etc. Those two things ALONE more than make up for the extra 10%. Not saying Bernie will hike taxes on middle class. I don’t know. But he will on the wealthy which needs to happen. He will also take the additional tax revenue from rich and corporations to invest in our infrastructure which will create at least 10 million jobs. But the first thing Bernie must do if he wins the WH, he must get MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. If he doesn’t do that, nothing else matters because our congress is bought. Once money is taken out of the equation things will be put on a more level playing field as congress will no longer be beholden to special interests. In my opinion, we have tried both Democrat and GOP and they BOTH are corrupt. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It’s time we try someone who is NOT bought, but who says he is a Democratic Socialist. I’d rather have a NOT Bought Democratic Socialist than a Bought and paid for Democrat, Republican any day of the week!

  7. Dave

    So, a huge pile of regressive taxes which will further erode the middle class, and reduce their 401k’s? No thanks:
    6.7 percent employer payroll tax – a regressive flat tax mostly on the middle class
    5.4 percent tax on high-income individuals – and small family owned businesses no doubt
    .02 percent tax on securities transactions – a reduction for everyone’s 401k
    a progressive tax on individuals making between $200,000 to $600,000 a year (upper middle class)
    .5 percent on investment houses, hedge funds, and stock trades, .01 percent on bonds, and .005 percent fee on derivatives – more reductions in everyone’s 40k values
    $20 carbon tax per ton of carbon emissions that will rise by 5.6 percent over the course of 10 years – another flat tax that will raise food prices and hurt the middle class the most

    1. Jen

      Small business owners, no doubt? That’s not even hinted at in the article, yet you throw that in to create fear.
      200-600k is upper middle class? Since when? It puts you in the top 5% (230k).

        1. Dave

          A family owned farm is just one example of small business, and typically requires more than a million dollars in capital and assets to operate. Many are classified as single owner businesses, and the owner pays the taxes on the business as part of his or her personal filings. This was particularly important to consider with the high limits on the estate tax, and is hardly a “euphamism”. https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/109th-congress-2005-2006/reports/07-06-estatetax.pdf

      1. Dave

        I didn’t throw that in to create doubt, I added that because it was omitted from the article and is important to know. True that 600k hardly qualifies as middle class, but a business owner may be reporting a large portion of that as business income ( while obviously having offsetting expenses ) and yet may well be middle class in terms of net income.

    2. Emm Vee

      Currently employers pay $12,000 for each worker with a family of four making the median salary of $50,000/year. Under Bernie’s plan, the employer would pay for that same worker $3,000 per year. Which is a 75% savings. The employer and employee benefits. We’ve tried the republican free market and it’s actually not so free.

  8. John Smith

    Bernie Sanders intentions are admirable, but the chances of this passing a GOP House are non-existent. Thanks to fraudulent gerrymandering, the House will be in GOP hands until at least 2022. We need a President who can reach across the aisle and build bipartisan solutions to our problems, and that’s not something Sanders can do.

    1. Emm Vee

      Bernie worked with republicans when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont and got a lot done. He also worked with John McCain a republican to get a veteran bill passed. Don’t underestimate him. With Hillary you’re going to get more bailouts, more wars, and republicans HATE HILLARY. They even impeached her husband, bill when he was president.

  9. ratpatrol

    How will we pay for the Pentagon in all its guises and inefficiencies again? Time to get really serious, Sen. Sanders!

  10. chrlsful

    it’s a system, therefore wrking on one part effects all others. Campaign finance reform can help alota this. term limits – another shake up of benefit. There’s a ruling class (1. politicians) that’s in line with the moneyed (2. ) class. Never was 2 to 1 (we’re the one) like this except in some corrupt by-gone days. Needs to be change around that, not consolidation ( as w/Citizen’s United). Alot of ‘little things’ and a Prez w/these kindsa leanings can make it happen.

  11. Becky

    Bernie himself said that college today is equal to a high school education 50 years ago. Is that what you consider “quality education”? And the article assumes that at $9000 per year, a student will accumulate $36,000 of debt. Obviously, this suits Bernie’s philosophy that nobody is capable of being personally responsible. Wouldn’t most people intelligent enough to gain college admission be paying some of that cost along the way? Many students are taking 5 years to complete a 4-year degree. Isn’t that because they are using part of their time to work? If you think you need to borrow 100% of the money it costs to go to college, maybe you’re not smart enough to get a degree. It’s another example of Bernie’s philosophy that most of us require other people’s money to be successful.

    1. Red Stewart Post author

      College doesn’t have to be entirely free, but how you can defend the idea of someone who wants to become a doctor, who wants to save lives, having to go into $50,000+ debt via medical school costs is ridiculous.

      Tuition is also just one part of the college costs. You’re forgetting textbooks, online programs (especially for math courses these days), parking passes, dorms, catering, etc…

    2. Jesse (@JesseSmoove)

      When did you last attend college? You’re out of touch.

      Many students do work during school and graduate in 5 years, yes. Many others simply attend school full time, and it still takes 5 years. The “4-year degree” is basically a myth today; nearly everyone that I met at school ended up attending for 5 years, and the select few that took 4 years to earn their undergraduate degrees only did so in fields that required an advanced degree (grad school….even more expensive).

      I worked part-time while attending school full-time. It helped pay for some of my expenses, but not even remotely close to all of them. A part-time job with today’s minimum wage isn’t even enough to pay for rent near a college campus, not to mention textbooks, food, and basic entertainment (believe it or not, college students should be allowed to have some fun on the weekends!).

      Personal example:
      I earned a scholarship for $3k per year, plus a couple additional single-year scholarships that averaged out to just over $1k per year. I worked my ass off each summer for 50-65 hours a week at about $10-11/hr (commission-based, so slightly more or less and no overtime), so I was able to pay another $4-6k each year on my own, out-of-pocket. My dad was able to chip in a couple thousand each year, which was great; we are very middle class, so he wasn’t able to contribute a whole lot, but it was still more than many of my friends’ parents, so I’m grateful. All of these contributions are around $13k per year. Tuition may only be $9-10k, but there are many other expenses. Housing, depending on your campus, can be anywhere from $3k to 8k…and I’m sure there are places where it costs more than that. For me, it was about $4,500 once I moved off-campus. Books cost around $1k per year. Food isn’t cheap. People need clothes. People need to be entertained on occasion. Total attendance costs around $18k per year, so I ended up taking federal loans of about $5k per year.

      After all of this, I graduated in 5 years with $26.5k in student loans. That’s not bad. Most people that I know who didn’t have rich parents paying for everything ended up with a lot more debt than me. I’m not complaining about where I am – I got a phenomenal job with a firm that is consistently ranked as a top-5 place to start a career, and my degree made that possible. I am able to pay my loans off with no issue. But I am not the typical example. I was able to get good scholarships because I was a great student in high school. I had parents that were able to help pay for some of my education, while many others have parents that can’t afford any. I got a great job in a high-paying field that will make loan payments easy, while many other graduates will make half as much money as I do despite being just as “good” of college students. Should all of that be a prerequisite just for someone to have a chance to live reasonably well after graduating and securing a job? My loan payment is just over $200/month – many others will struggle with $500 payments on much lower incomes.

      The system is broken.

    3. Emm Vee

      So you’d rather have student debt? Nobody is forcing anyone to get free education, you can go and pay for college if you don’t want help with tuition. Others aren’t that fortunate to be able to go and pay their own tuition.

  12. Rick Toscano

    Not to mention the fact that he’d probably legalize marijuana which would raise even more money and is now helping Colorado with a giant surplus. We really need a solid range of numbers though, ones that can be used in talking points to shut the naysayers up. I’m constantly told “Shut up until he comes of with figures.” We all know it’s possible but idiots on the right are still more impressed with Trump’s “I’ll be terrific” than an actual plan by Bernie. If they can get some general but realistic estimates together than we can shut people up in our facebook and coffee shop debates.

    1. Emm Vee

      If you make less than $250k per year, the only tax hike will be the 2.2% for Medicare for all which would be an enormous savings as recipients will have no copayments, no deductibles and no monthly premiums.

  13. George

    All I read was taxes and more taxes to pay for his insane ideas….but hey its just the wealthy and buissness paying more….oh wait, if the place you work for pays more taxes guess who’s not getting a raise this year….

    1. Emm Vee

      What do you think your employer pays now for your health insurance? For example, for a worker with a family of four who makes $50,000 a year, the employer pays on average $12,000+ per year for that workers family coverage. Under Bernie’s Medicare for all the employer would pay $3,000 for that same worker resulting in a savings of $9,000 per year, per employee.

  14. Domenic Negri

    Nothing will work, until the U.S.A. ends perpetual war. GET US OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST. Bring the troops home and guard the Boarders.

  15. Jared

    Yeah let’s just increase taxes on the people that already have an effective tax rate of 46.7% and yet allow other Americans to pay no tax and not work at all. That will really help the country. What happens when you run out of rich people that are willing to give their hard earned money up so that someone with 7 kids and no job can get free healthcare? What happens when more and more people hide their earnings in offshore accounts and the government quickly becomes insolvent because there is no way the IRS can track down every tax evader? What happens when the entire country’s poor when the entire system that (so far is) keeping them alive fails. Really people use your brains.

    1. Red Stewart Post author

      Keep eating that fearmongering crap from Fox News. Fear the poor man! The proletariat will rally up and storm the White House!

      1. Emm Vee

        Thank you red! I can’t believe how ignorant some people are. Doesn’t anyone do research anymore? Or do they just listen to corporate media?

        1. Red Stewart Post author

          There are lots of smart people my friend. Don’t let the idiots make you think they don’t exist.

    2. greg

      Socialism its what is taught in college and the lost and millineum generations are to clueless to understand this.

    1. Emm Vee

      It’s sad, that you bought into Reagan trickle down economics. After Reagan trickle down economics, the country started going to the crapper.

  16. Chris

    Every tax he’s talking about will be passed on to the consumer. Whether it’s higher fees or increases in rates. He’s naive to think that businesses will just eat an increase and settle for smaller profits.

  17. Chris Joosse

    One thing the article doesn’t effectively challenge (and it SHOULD) is the notion that Sanders’ policies will cost taxpayers more. When you look at current spending on (for example) health care, our system costs the economy A LOT MORE than what Sanders proposes. In a real way, we can’t afford not to adopt a policy like this. Every other developed country in the world does it that way, they pay less, and get better outcomes. We can afford it, we can’t afford not to do it.

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