Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has transformed this presidential race, rapidly gaining on his rival Hillary Clinton while topping his Republican detractors across the board. As he gains in momentum, he has been laying out his specific tax plan and policy platforms, painting a very different picture of America than the other candidates do. That vision just received a huge boost in credibility as a major economist has just finished his assessment of what the numbers of a Sanders administration would look like.
Long detracted by his enemies for having overly idealistic plans that would cost too much and raise taxes on the middle class, the analysis of Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor, has some incredible news for Sanders:
If Sanders became president — and was able to push his plan through Congress — median household income would be $82,200 by 2026, far higher than the $59,300 projected by the Congressional Budget Office.
In addition, poverty would plummet to a record low 6%, as opposed to the CBO’s forecast of 13.9%. The U.S. economy would grow by 5.3% per year, instead of 2.1%, and the nation’s $1.3 trillion deficit would turn into a large surplus by Sanders’ second term.
Sanders’ plan to pour $14.5 trillion into the economy — including spending on infrastructure and youth employment, increasing Social Security benefits, making college free and expanding health care and family leave — would juice GDP and productivity. Also, he would raise the minimum wage, as well as shift income from the rich to the middle and working class through tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations.
“Like the New Deal of the 1930s, Senator Sanders’ program is designed to do more than merely increase economic activity. It will “promote a more just prosperity, broadly-based with a narrowing of economy inequality.”
Sanders’ plan would actually inject money into the economy to oil the gears – unlike the Republican plans for massive tax cuts, the money “saved” from which just goes into the coffers of the 1% or into an offshore tax haven. While it may sound radical, radical measures are needed to make the acknowledges that the poorest half of the US owns 2.5% of the country’s wealth while the top 1% owns 35% of it, and recognizes that this imbalance is holding back our potential as a society. By simply making corporations and the mega-wealthy pay their fair share in taxes, we could transform our economy and restore the middle class to its former glory.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.