US currently spends about $3 trillion a year — and will spend close to $42 trillion over the next decade — on healthcare. A nonprofit single-payer system based on the principles of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and co-sponsored by 45 other lawmakers, would save an estimated $592 billion. That would be more than enough to cover all 44 million people the government estimates will be uninsured and to upgrade benefits for everyone else.
The Social Security Expansion Act would subject all income over $250,000 to the payroll tax, which would impact only the top 1.5 percent of all wage earners – Social Security benefits would increase by about $65 a month for most recipients.
In its annual report card on the nation’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the United States a cumulative grade of D+. According to the ACSE report: 24.9 percent of bridges are functionally obsolete or structurally deficient, over which more than 200 million trips are taken daily; 42 percent of major urban highways are congested, costing us $101 billion annually and increasing carbon emissions; 32 percent of roads are in poor or mediocre condition, which adds up to a cost of $324 per motorist every year. For every dollar we put into our infrastructure, we get almost two dollars back in immediate economic impact.
Total tuition at public colleges and universities amounts to about $70 billion per year.The Atlantic.com published an article in Jan 2014 that claimed the federal government would only have to spend “a mere $62.6 billion dollars” to make tuition at public colleges free for undergraduates in 2012. Bernie Sanders has unveiled legislation that would make tuition free at all public four-year colleges and universities by taxing Wall Street.
The Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act would prevent corporations from sheltering profits in tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and would stop rewarding companies that ship jobs and factories overseas with tax breaks. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) has estimated in the past that similar provisions would raise more than $590 billion in revenue over a decade. According to research from the Tax Foundation, Sanders’ tax plan would, on a static basis, raise $13.6 trillion over the next decade. A substantial amount of money would be raised by a 6.2% income-based tax on corporations.
Today, when the vast majority of American women give birth, they have to go right back to work because they cannot afford to take time off. Also, many workers go to work sick because they don’t have paid sick leave. The United States is the only developed country without mandatory paid sick leave.
Americans also work more than anyone else in the industrialized world: we put in longer hours, more time over the weekends, and take less vacation. According to the OECD, in 2013 Americans worked 54 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 119 hours more than British workers, 299 hours more than French workers, and 425 hours more than German workers. Per a Heritage Foundation study, between 1973 and 2012 productivity has risen 100 percent while the average hourly wage has decreased by seven percent.
Bernie is a cosponsor of the FAMILY Act, introduced in June 2015, which guarantees at least twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave. This bill, if passed, would allow workers to take paid time off after a new birth, to care for a sick loved one, or if they themselves are ill. He is also a supporter of the Healthy Families Act, introduced in February 2015, which would guarantee seven days of paid sick leave per year to every worker — a benefit 43 million American workers don’t currently have. Bernie introduced a bill of his own in June 2015 called the Guaranteed Paid Vacation Act, which would provide 10 days of paid time off to anyone who’s worked for over a year at a business that employs at least 15 people.
In December 2014, Congress passed a law that allowed drastic cuts to multi-employer pension benefits programs (MBPs). Before this law was passed, it was illegal to make cuts to a pension plan that was already agreed to and earned by employees. Bernie believes that we need to repeal this law to reinstate pensions for senior citizens who have dedicated their entire life to working for a decent retirement. However, in December 2014, President Obama signed the Omnibus Spending Law (H.R.83), which allowed for companies to make drastic cuts to all existing pension MBPs. While in 2012, there were over 2000 pension MBPs with a net worth of over $600 billion, it is now estimated that the scope of these pension plans will be cut by 60 percent. In June 2015, Sanders sponsored the Keep Our Pension Promises Act (KOPPA) – a bill that reverses the consequences of the Omnibus Spending Law.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study showed that NAFTA cost nearly 700,000 American jobs. Bernie has introduced the Rebuild America Act to the Senate which would create over 13 million good-paying jobs by investing $1 trillion in our crumbling infrastructure. It would be paid for by closing corporate income tax loopholes and overseas tax havens.