The Journal wants to shock and awe voters with big numbers, but Sanders’s proposals would save America big bucks.
The Nation, Sept. 15, 2015
by Joshua Holland
his week, The Wall Street Journal dropped a terrifyingly large number on Senator Bernie Sanders’s upstart campaign, warning that his proposals would carry a “price tag” of $18 trillion over a 10-year period. It’s a number designed to shock and awe and discourage voters from giving the social democrat’s ideas a close look.
But according to the very data cited by The Journal’s Laura Meckler, Sanders’s highly progressive proposals wouldn’t cost the United States a single penny, on net, over that 10-year window. In fact, they’d cost less, overall, than what we’d spend without them.
It’s not hard to understand why. The lion’s share of the “cost”—$15 trillion—would pay for opening up Medicare to Americans of all ages. (Meckler notes that Sanders hasn’t released a detailed proposal, so she relies on an analysis of HR 676, Representative John Conyers’s Medicare-for-all bill.)
Rather than cost us more as a society, this proposal would only shift spending from businesses and households to the federal government by replacing our current patchwork system of public and private insurance with a single, more efficient system of financing.