Sen. Bernie Sanders' populist message has put him in the position to potentially win Democratic nomination contests in both Iowa and New Hampshire, shaking the sense of inevitability that has surrounded Hillary Clinton. As the socialist senator from Vermont gains traction in polls, Clinton has more aggressively attacked his policy proposals, forcing Sanders to release details on how he would pay for his ambitious economic and social agenda.
Taken together, Sanders is proposing $19.6 trillion in new taxes over a decade, according to an analysis by the Washington Examiner, of which $14 trillion would come from his healthcare plan alone. To put that in perspective, the Congressional Budget Office projects that federal revenues over the next 10 years will be a total of $41.6 trillion, meaning that Sanders would raise taxes by 47 percent over current levels.
Business healthcare premium tax — $6.3 trillion
As part of his single-payer healthcare plan, Sanders would institute a 6.2 percent tax on employers to finance healthcare premiums for his new federally-run system, which he said would raise $630 billion per year. Though the tax would technically be imposed on employers, economic studies have shown that such taxes are ultimately passed onto workers. Sanders has argued that workers would be better off in the end anyway because of the money they'd save on insurance.
Ending tax free status of employer health insurance — $3.1 trillion
Sanders says he would raise $310 billion per year by ending the tax breaks for employer sponsored health insurance, which his campaign said would become "obsolete" if his single-payer plan were implemented.
Wall Street speculation tax — $3 trillion
Sanders has proposed imposing a tax on Wall Street speculators, claiming it would raise about $300 billion a year and would more than pay for his plan to offer free tuition at public colleges and universities.
Individual healthcare premium tax — $2.1 trillion
In addition to the business premium tax, Sanders would propose a 2.2 percent tax on individual income to raise another $210 billion per year to finance his healthcare plan.
Social Security tax hike — $1.2 trillion
To pay for his plan to expand Social Security, Sanders has proposed removing the cap on payroll taxes on income exceeding $250,000 per year. In 2016, the Social Security payroll tax only applies to earnings below $118,500.
Raising marginal income tax rates — $1.1 trillion
Another way that Sanders would pay for his healthcare plan would be to hike income tax rates on those earning above $250,000 — creating a top marginal tax rate of 52 percent on income above $10 million.
Corporate offshore income tax — $ 1 trillion
Sanders proposed taxing corporate offshore income and closing "other loopholes" to pay for his plan to expand infrastructure spending and claimed it would generate $100 billion per year.
Capital gains tax hike — $920 billion
Sanders has proposed $92 billion a year in capital gains tax increase to help offset the cost of his healthcare plan.
Payroll tax hike — $319 billion
Sanders would increase the payroll tax burden by 0.4 percent (split by workers and employers) to finance mandatory family leave.
Death tax hike — $243 billion
Sanders would raise the death tax in several ways. He would "close loopholes" on taxes on estates and inherited artwork, and he would institute a progressive tax on inheritances over $3.5 million. This money would be used to cover the pensions of 1.5 million workers as well as to help pay for his healthcare plan.
Scrapping tax deductions — $150 billion
As part of his healthcare plan, Sanders proposes to raise $15 billion per year by limiting tax deductions used by household earning more than $250,000.
Energy tax — $135 billion
To finance plans to boost alternative energy subsidies, Sanders would raise taxes on oil companies.
Carried interest tax — $15.6 billion
Sanders would tax the carried interest earned by financial firms such as hedge funds to finance his youth jobs program.
* The list of taxes being proposed by Sanders is based on two primary sources. One is a Jan. 13 email sent out by the Sanders campaign with the subject line, "FACT CHECK; Bernie Sanders' to Pay for Economic Agenda to Rebuild the Middle Class." The other is the single-payer healthcare plan released by the Sanders campaign on Jan. 17. Both documents mention a plan to increase taxes on inheritances over $3.5 million, so I just referred to the one in the campaign email so as to avoid double counting.
In all cases, I adjusted the estimated tax revenue provided by the Sanders campaign to a 10-year basis, in accordance with the standard CBO budget window.
It's also worth keeping in mind that these estimates are on a static basis. Meaning they don't take into account any offsetting reduction in revenue that's likely to occur due to depressed economic activity resulting from such major tax increases. For instance, taxing "speculation" on Wall Street will reduce trading activity, and thus it's unlikely to raise the $300 billion per year claimed by the Sanders campaign.