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Why Bernie Sanders’ radical economic ideas could be disastrous for America

September 16, 2015

By James Pethokoukis

Bernie Sanders might not be quite the lefty radical that new U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is, but the socialist senator from Vermont still really wants to embiggen American government. Maybe make the good 'ol US of A more like France, or Scandinavia. Indeed, when ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Sanders about Republicans attacking him for wanting the U.S. to look more Nordic, Sanders replied: "That's right. What's wrong with that?"

Well, a lot.

Among the items on the Democratic presidential candidate's pricey wish list: Medicare for everybody, expanded Social Security, improved national infrastructure, free public college, and paid leave fund for workers. Add them all up, as The Wall Street Journal has, and it comes out to at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade. That's nearly $2 trillion more a year, when current annual federal spending is $3.8 trillion. And that massive total doesn't include Sanders' universal preschool plan, which is still in the works. That could easily be another $100 billion over a decade.

Do the math another way: Annual federal spending has averaged between 20 and 21 percent of GDP for the past four decades. The Sanders spending-palooza would tack on another 10 percentage points, pushing total federal spending to at least 30 percent of GDP. Like, immediately. To place that number in context, the worried wonks over at the Congressional Budget Office are alarmed that federal spending is on trend to hit 25 percent of GDP by 2040.

Read the full article at The Week: Why Bernie Sanders' radical economic ideas could be disastrous for America

Issue Categories : Bernie Sanders, Budget, Health Care