by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” but he is not a socialist in the Jeremy Corbyn “nationalize industry” sense. He’s more of a tax-and-spend politician — on steroids.
You recall the old saying, “Don’t tax you; don’t tax me; tax the fellow behind the tree”? Well, Bernie wants to tax you, me, the fellow, and the tree too. He famously delivered an eight-hour Senate speech calling for higher taxes. So far, he has proposed, among other tax hikes, increasing the long-term capital-gains tax rate from 23.8 percent to a whopping 39.6 percent. At the same time, he wants to impose a transaction tax on every stock trade, which would wreak havoc with the average American’s pension fund and 401(k). He would end tax breaks for the coal, gas, and oil industries, and end the rule that allows U.S. corporations to defer taxes on earnings of overseas subsidiaries. He would also increase the estate tax and lower the threshold at which it applies. In addition, he would levy a 12.4 percent payroll tax on all earnings above $250,000, without a corresponding increase in benefits.
If that’s not enough, he has also pushed for a carbon tax. Moreover, although he hasn’t formally proposed it yet, he has said that he would not be opposed to a 90 percent top income-tax rate. And, while most other Democratic and Republican candidates — and even President Obama — would cut the corporate tax rate, currently the highest among major industrialized countries, to make us more competitive, Sanders hopes to raise corporate taxes.
Altogether, he would increase taxes by $3 to $6.5 trillion over ten years.