‘Ready for a Radical Idea?’ Bernie Sanders’ $15 Trillion Tax Plan Targets Everybody

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) holds a press conference with union workers to discuss the affect of free trade agreements on American workers on March 3, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

When Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) says “everybody,” he really means it.

His proposed $15.3 trillion tax increase would reach individuals on every economic level, including the middle- and lower-classes. In sum, “everyone” would wind up paying more.

A report from the Tax Policy Center, which is a joint venture of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and Urban Institute, reveals that Sanders’ plan would raise taxes by an average of 34 percent. The top 0.1 percent of the population would feel the brunt of the burn seeing their taxes increase by more than $3 million, which would cut their incomes after taxes are paid by almost half.

The self-described Democratic socialist’s plan would also raise taxes on middle-income households by at least $4,700 and they would lose an additional 8.5 percent of their incomes after taxes. Here’s the Tax Policy Institute’s breakdown:

The proposal would raise taxes at every income level, but high-income taxpayers would face the biggest increases, both in dollar amount and as a percentage of income. Overall, the plan would raise tax burdens by an average of nearly $9,000, thereby lowering average after-tax income by 12.4 percent. However, the highest-income taxpayers (the top 0.1 percent, or those with income over $3.7 million in 2015 dollars) would experience an average increase in tax burdens of more than $3 million in 2017, nearly 45 percent of their $6.9 million average after-tax income. Households in the middle quintile of the income distribution would see an average tax increase of almost $4,700, or 8.5 percent of their average after-tax income. Those in the bottom quintile would experience smaller tax increases, averaging $165, or 1.3 percent of their average after-tax income.

This seems to be the only viable solution for the Vermont senator’s plan for “free stuff,” which is expensive and also includes heavy taxing on Wall Street transactions to fund his promises of free community college and many other perks that, of course, are not really free.

Conversely, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s proposed tax plan would increase revenues by $1.1 trillion over the next decade, according to a separate study breaking down the former secretary of state’s intended model.

However, “nearly all of the tax increases would fall on the top 1 percent; the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers would see little or no change in their taxes,” the Tax Policy Center notes. Clinton’s proposed heavy tax on businesses and the wealthy classes is an attempt to pander to the middle class. Her plan appears to echo her husband, former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama back in 2008 when he promised not to raise fees on individuals earning less than $250,000. Clinton’s candidacy has often been referred to as Obama’s third term.

Also on Friday, Sanders blasted Clinton, reportedly arguing that her policies generated the poverty in Michigan and contributed to an ailing middle class there. According to The Hill, Sanders spoke at a rally in Traverse City and argued that Clinton’s support of legislation like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helped create the socioeconomic disaster there.

“[NAFTA] is one of the reasons that the middle class in this country is disappearing,” Sanders reportedly said. “If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders.”

Despite the appeal of each candidate’s proposed plans to perspective audiences, the Tax Policy Center did not indicate whether the potential and highly likely creation of new government-funded programs would be covered under either contender’s tax increases. After all, bigger government almost always results in a greater burden on the taxpayer.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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