Bernie Sanders Defends Proposals: ‘The Numbers Add Up Perfectly’ But America Needs ‘Guts’

Bernie Sanders has been repeatedly accused of selling promises that will add up to naught if he is elected to the White House, but the Vermont senator refuses to back down from his policy proposals, claiming that the “numbers add up perfectly.”

When confronted with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s repeated assertion that Sanders is “promising more than he can deliver,” Senator Sanders summarily dismissed the idea to Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson.

“Needless to say, I strongly disagree with that assertion,” Sanders said curtly when pressed about the issue. His policy proposals are funded, Sanders claims, but to implement them will take “guts.”

“The numbers add up perfectly. The issue is — do we have the guts to take on the wealthy and the powerful in corporate America, who today have so much wealth and so much power?”

Sanders used his proposal to make public colleges and universities tuition-free as an example, saying that tuition-free colleges work in other countries, but that to provide education to all Americans would require imposing a tax on Wall Street.

“That’s not a radical idea, it exists in Germany [and] in Scandinavia,” Sanders explained. “But it does require us to take on Wall Street and impose a tax on speculation.”

Likewise, his proposal fund massive infrastructure improvements in America, a plan that both provides better roadways and bridges as well as creating good-paying jobs, is also funded — through the closing of offshore tax havens, Sanders says.

“If we talk about creating 13 million jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, it does require us to come up with a trillion dollars by ending this outrageous loophole such that corporations can put their money in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and other tax havens, not pay a nickel in taxes,” Sanders said.

“So it’s not that our numbers don’t add up. What does add up is our desire and the feeling that we have to take on corporate America, who in some cases pay — major corporations pay zero in federal income taxes in a year.”

A study done in 2015 does show that at least 15 major Fortune 500 companies paid zero taxes on $23 billion worth of profit in 2014. Furthermore, those companies, which include such giants as CBS, Mattel, JetBlue, and PEPCO, have paid almost no federal income tax on $107 billion over the past five years. One study shows that closing the popular accelerated depreciation loophole, of which these corporations used, would raise more than $428 billion for the government over a decade.

Bernie Sanders defends policy proposals. “The issue is — do we have the guts to take on the wealthy and the powerful in corporate America, who today have so much wealth and so much power?” [Photo by Bloomberg/Getty Images]Some large corporations did more than just avoid paying taxes on soaring profits — some companies actually received a rebate.

“At a time when we have massive wealth and income inequality, and when corporate profits are soaring, it is an outrage that many large, profitable corporations not only paid nothing in federal income taxes last year, but actually received a rebate from the IRS last year,” Sanders said.

Bernie Sanders proposes to close the loopholes that allow businesses to avoid paying taxes on massive profits, and to use the increased revenues to fund his proposals.

Economists agree that the price tag of Bernie Sanders’ proposals are hefty, coming in at an estimated $14.5 trillion over ten years. But some economists believe that the plans, which include healthcare for all in addition to free college tuition and massive infrastructure spending, are worth the added expense.

“The Sanders spending program is a significant stimulus to an economy that continues to underperform,” wrote Professor Gerald Friedman, who prepared a report for the Sanders campaign. “These programs will increase economic growth and employment, reduce poverty and inequality, and balance the federal budget.”

The report, in fact, praised Bernie Sanders’ proposals, saying the economy would boom under a Bernie Sanders’ presidency.

“Like the New Deal of the 1930s, Senator Sanders’ program is designed to do more than merely increase economic activity: the expenditure, regulatory, and tax programs will increase economic activity and employment, and promote a more just prosperity.”

[Photo by Bloomberg/Getty Images]