Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was just one of several Democrats during Thursday night's debate who was forced to admit that taxes would have to rise, in one way or another, to pay for some of the major proposals many progressives in the party are pushing.
Sanders – who touts plans to transition to a single-payer health care system, to erase trillions in student debt and to eliminate tuition at some public colleges and universities – said that middle-class Americans would have to pay more in order to implement some of these ideas.
He added, however, that people would be paying less in health care costs.
To pay for his student debt elimination plan, Sanders has proposed a Wall Street speculation tax – which imposes levies on financial transactions, including trades of stocks, bonds and derivatives. The bill calls for a tax of 0.5 percent for stock trades, 0.1 percent for bonds and 0.005 percent for derivatives.
Meanwhile, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang slammed e-commerce giant Amazon and other big tech companies for paying “literally zero in taxes, while they’re closing 30 percent of our stores,” as he promoted a value-added tax (VAT) to pay for his universal basic income proposal. (Amazon maintains that it pays all of its tax obligations, both at home and abroad.)
A VAT is levied on the production of goods or services produced by businesses.
Yang has proposed giving every American age 18 and over $1,000 per month, regardless of income or employment status. He has said he would fund the proposal by “consolidating some welfare programs” and imposing a value-added tax of 10 percent.
The entrepreneur has said UBI could help combat the effects of job elimination due to technological innovation.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg promoted a carbon tax and dividend – that would be rebated out to the American people – as part of his climate change initiative.
President Trump has also said he thinks loose immigration policies will lead to higher taxes. Each of the ten candidates on stage said they wanted to provide health care to undocumented immigrants. During an interview with FOX Business on Wednesday, Trump said ideas like providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants or providing health care to those same individuals – would cause taxes to rise. He said these policies are “tremendously expensive,” and noted that high taxes are already driving people out of New York and California, where the aforementioned ideas are advancing.
Trump, who just arrived at the G20 in Osaka Japan caught a brief moment of the debate prompting him to lash out on Twitter.
"All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!"
When asked whether Democrats should have to explain how they would pay for all of their proposals, California Sen. Kamala Harris questioned why the Republican Party was not asked about costs before passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.