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Bernie Sanders to cut defense spending by $1.215 trillion to help fund Green New Deal if elected

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with attendees at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa (photo by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
February 25, 2020

Vermont Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released a new plan this week showing how he will pay for some of the multi-trillion dollar policies he has proposed as part of his campaign platform. Among those spending changes, Sanders is eyeing a $1.215 trillion cut to defense spending to pay for part of one of his proposals.

In a series of figures posted on his campaign website, Sanders listed the costs for several of his campaign proposals as well as his idea for how to fund each of them.

Sanders estimated his “Green New Deal,” which includes an end to fossil fuel use and calls for all buildings in the U.S. to be renovated to improve energy efficiency, would cost $16.3 trillion. Conservative critics of the plan have, by contrast, raised claims the proposal could cost much more; up to $93 trillion by one estimate reported by Fox News

Sanders’ campaign said the $16.3 trillion plan to would require $1.215 trillion in reductions to defense spending as well as several other changes in taxation and government revenue collection between 2023 and 2035. The defense budget for 2020 was $740 billion so it Sander’s campaign is likely suggesting cuts over several years.

The campaign said the defense spending reduction could be achieved “by scaling back military operations on protecting the global oil supply.”

The rest of the Sander’s campaigns estimated $16.3 trillion price tag would be covered through an estimated $3.085 trillion in funds won through litigation against the fossil fuel industry for pollution. The campaign website also suggested the “Green New Deal” could be covered in part by $2 trillion in revenue “by making large corporations pay their fair share of taxes.”

The campaign believes claims Sanders administration could create an estimated 20 million new jobs, to achieve an additional $2.3 trillion in tax revenue collections. The campaign also said it can generate another $6.4 trillion in revenue through energy production revenues.

The Sanders campaign claims that, after 2035, most energy will be virtually free save for some maintenance costs. The campaign also claims the U.S. economy could save $2.9 trillion over ten years, through the energy transition Sanders is proposing.

Sanders also calls for “Medicare for All,” which his campaign estimates will cost $47 trillion over ten years. The campaign claims the healthcare plan would actually save $5 trillion over the current ten year cost of U.S. healthcare, estimated by the campaign at $52 trillion. Sanders also wants to eliminate $81 billion in existing medical debt.

Sander’s plan also includes paying for college for all Americans and cancelling student debt, which he projected to cost $2.2 trillion. His plan claims it will raise $2.4 trillion in revenues over a decade through “modest tax” on Wall Street speculation.

Other plans include an increase of $1,300 in social security benefits per year for disabled and low-income citizens, a $2.5 trillion “Housing for All” plan and a $1.5 trillion “Universal Childcare/Pre-K” plan. Sanders’ campaign assessed its the social security costs could be covered by a tax on Americans making $250,000 or more per year.

Sanders additionally claims his universal housing and childcare proposals could be paid for together through $4.35 trillion in revenues, achieved through a wealth tax levied against those with an estimated at $32 million or more in existing assets.