By Ben Geier
September 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders is making major hay in the race to be the Democratic nominee for President, gaining ground on favorite Hillary Clinton and, at the very least, shifting the debate within the party towards the political left.

He got some unwanted press this morning, though, in the form of an in-depth article in the Wall Street Journal estimating just how much some of his proposed social programs may cost. The article’s math says that Sanders’ new programs would cost $18 trillion in taxpayer money over ten years, which would increase federal spending by around a third. That includes an estimated $15 trillion in healthcare costs, $1.2 trillion in social security, and $319 billion in paid leave funds.

Sanders self-identifies as a Democratic-Socialist, and heavy spending on social programs fits right in with that worldview. Democratic Socialism isn’t “socialism” as defined by Marxists — think workers cooperatives and state-owned industry — but is more of a welfare state, Scandinavian brand of left-wing politics.

Still, some are calling the Journal’s estimate into question. Meanwhile, Sanders himself said earlier Tuesday that he’s preparing a detailed response to refute the article.

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