According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Bernie Sanders' plan for the United States could end up costing as much as $18 trillion over a 10-year span.
A whopping $15 trillion over 10 years would be spent on implementing a single-payer healthcare system in the United States.
Sanders campaign says that another $1.2 trillion would be spent bolstering social security, while $1 trillion would go to rebuilding America's crumbling infrastructure.
"Smaller" expenses include $750 billion for tuition-free public colleges, $319 billion for extended paid family and medical leave, $29 billion for supporting private pension funds, and $5.5 billion for a new youth jobs initiative.
All told, Bernie Sanders' plan calls for an increase in federal spending to a total of $68 trillion over the next decade. According to The Journal, that's an increase of nearly 33%.
Sanders disputed the report shortly after it was released, maintaining that some of the figures were greatly exaggerated. According to University of Massachusetts Professor of Economics Gerald Friedman - whose research was used in The Journal's report - Bernie Sanders' plan for healthcare would actually cost much less than the current Affordable Care Act system. He estimates the current healthcare model would cost as much as $42 trillion over the next decade.
Regardless of the final numbers, it's certain that Bernie Sanders' plan includes a larger government. According to The Journal, the plan represents the largest peacetime government expansion in U.S. history.
In order to fund his plan, Sanders has called for tax increases, including a new payroll tax on employers and employees. However, the employer would no longer have to cover employees' insurance.
The junior U.S. Senator from Vermont defines himself as a "democratic socialist" and has been climbing in the polls for months. According to a new poll by CNN/ORC, Sanders currently has 24% of the Democratic vote, compared to 42% for Hillary Clinton. In August, Sanders had just 17% of the vote.
How do you feel about Bernie Sanders' plan for America? Let us know in the comments...
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- The Wall Street Journal: Price Tag of Bernie Sanders's Proposals: $18 Trillion