America might be ready for democratic socialism. It’s not ready for the bill.
From that baseline, Sanders has proposed a Social Security expansion, including higher cost-of-living adjustments and higher minimum benefit levels, that the liberal Tax Policy Center estimates will cost $188 billion over the next decade.
The Tax Policy Center also scores the Sanders “free college” proposal at $807 billion over the next decade. (Note that free college benefits students from wealthy families and those whose tuition is currently affordable.)
Next, the center estimates that Sanders’s proposal of up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for new parents and for people with serious health conditions would cost another $270 billion.
Those costs, however, pale beside the cost of replacing private insurance, including copayments, with a Medicare-for-all plan. The liberal Urban Institute estimates that Sanders’s single-payer health plan would add $32 trillion in federal costs over the decade. Note that that’s the exact same figure produced by those George Mason libertarians. (Yes, there are important caveats to that number; I discuss them below.)
Ocasio-Cortez and Senate Democrats also want to guarantee a job for anyone who wants one, at $15 per hour plus benefits. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, commissioned a report by outside scholars Darrick Hamilton, William Darity, and Mark Paul that estimates the cost of a more modest proposal along these lines (with a lower wage, for example). It suggested the cost would be $56,000 apiece for 9.7 million enrollees, for a total of $6.8 trillion over the next decade.
Yet this enrollment estimate for the jobs program is drastically low. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities assumes nearly all participants would come from the ranks of the jobless who are seeking work. Realistically, the 60 million Americans currently earning less than $15 per hour (plus many retirees and longtime labor force dropouts) would also stampede into this program.
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