Home > Personal Finance > 5 Ways Your Money Could Be Affected By a Bernie Sanders Presidency

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It may seem like it’s been going on forever, but the 2016 presidential election is finally getting started, for real. Several months of primary elections begin Feb. 1 with the Iowa caucus, and soon enough, we’ll know who will be on the general election ballot come November.

One of those people could be Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.). Whether or not you’re feeling the Bern, it’s important to know how a Sanders presidency could affect you and your money. Like all presidential candidates, Sanders has identified many things he’d like to change about life in the U.S. There’s no way to know how many of his proposals would become reality if he’s elected — making such changes is a lot more complicated than proposing them — but several have the potential to significantly impact Americans’ personal finances. (We’ll be covering other candidates’ impact on your money in the next few weeks.)

Here are some of the main issues Sanders would like to address and how it could impact your finances.

1. Single-Payer Healthcare

There’s a lot of debate over how a single-payer healthcare system would affect the average American’s budget, because overhauling the system would be complicated and therefore costly. Without getting into the details (partially because Sanders hasn’t shared all of those yet), here’s what he’s proposing: Sanders is calling it his “Medicare for All” plan, and it aims to simplify the process of getting and paying for healthcare while detaching insurance from employment.

“As a patient, all you need to do is go to the doctor and show your insurance card,” reads Sanders’ website. “Bernie’s plan means no more co-pays, no more deductibles and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges.”

Sanders plans to pay for the program, which his campaign estimates to cost $1.83 trillion annually, through a tax increase on those making more than $250,000 a year, premiums paid by employers and some households (dependent on income), other tax adjustments and program savings.

2. A $15 Minimum Wage

Currently, the national minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Sanders wants to raise it to $15 per hour over the next several years. For people working minimum wage jobs, that could make a significant difference in their earnings and overall financial health. At the moment, only Emeryville, Calif., comes close with its $14.44 minimum wage, though San Francisco and Seattle have plans in place to implement $15 minimum wages in the next several years.

3. Paid Family Leave & Sick Days

Maternity leave, paternity leave and medical leave are hot topics in politics right now. Many parents don’t have the option of taking paid time off to care for new or sick children, and for those that do, it’s often an unaffordable one. Sanders proposes 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave for all U.S. workers, as well as 7 days of guaranteed paid sick days.

4. Free College

Sanders has outlined six steps he would take to making college debt-free. One of those ideas is to eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities throughout the country. For the 2015 to 2016 school year, the average in-state tuition at a public institution cost $9,410, according to the College Board, which is a 13% increase from the previous academic year. Even with the other costs of education beyond tuition, eliminating that expense could make a college degree much more affordable.

The entire plan is estimated to cost $75 billion annually, according to Sanders’ campaign website. He plans to pay for the plan by imposing what is essentially a sales tax on stocks and other investment products.

5. Student Loan Refinancing

Part of the problem with high tuition costs is the student loan debt it generates. There’s more than $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in this country, and it continues to grow as new borrowers take on loans and current balances accrue interest.

Those interest rates are a huge point of contention in the student loan world. Student loan rates are high by most consumer loan standards, and for the most part, borrowers are stuck with them. Sanders not only wants to cut interest rates in the first place, he also proposes making refinancing available so borrowers with high rates from many years ago can take advantage of today’s lower rates. (You can see how your student loan debt may be affecting your credit scores by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)

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  • SumDum Hick

    Bernie seems to be a likable enough guy. He really has been able to tap into young folks frustrations concerning Student Loan Debt. But, if grandpa Bernie gets elected and has a Democratic majority in Congress that will fall in line with this mess (Like Congress did with the (UN)Affordable Care Act), The United States of America will end up like Greece. The debt will be so overwhelming that we will not be able to sustain debt payments- let alone funding for everything else the government has their hands into.

    • stephanie Jenkins

      I am glad that you will never get old.

  • Matt

    Awesome, can’t wait!!

  • heavyw8t

    Ah, so Ms DiGangi now deletes comments that don’t agree with her liberal bent, as she did with mine? Not very responsible for a journalist to take such a biased stand. My reply was not vulgar, did not contain curse words, and did not threaten anybody. It simply expressed derision at the liberal perspective and asked who was going to pay for all those tuition bills? You know the profs aren’t going to work for free, so the money will come from somewhere else, like maybe taxes? Even MORE taxes? Another vote gathering scheme just like Obama telling us 7 years ago how he was going to end the war. More liberal democrat lies. Is our national debt not high enough now that Sanders wants to pay college tuition with even more tax money? It’s bad enough that deadbeat students had loans excused. I paid for my college education. It is not a birthright. If you want that product, and at the core it IS a product, you pay for it like you do your clothing. This country will be a 100% welfare state in 2 more generations. Thankfully I will be dead by then.

  • Carol

    Imagine that – no mention of Bernie’s top tax rate of 52% or the additional 2.2% payroll tax to pay for that FREE healthcare. What a terriblely biased article. Typical!

  • gigmac

    Bernie Sanders, if you’re a Democrat or Independent, is really giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money. His ideas go right to the biggest problems our country is stuck with right now, and Clinton has not said how she will fix these things that Sanders has pointed to, easily, and offers equally easy solutions. I’ve had to refocus my attention to Sanders, as I am a little worried about how Clinton has changed her mind on many things, and for other personal reasons. But YOU GO BERNIE, GO BERNIE!!!

  • Beststash

    We make the rules (or are supposed to) so why not do something for the American public. The businesses and war machine have gotten theirs since the 80’s and working people of America are left with their debt. How long does it take for voters to realize that “trickle down economics” does not work? Just another example of Corporate America owning our government.

  • Shark

    BIASED, UNTRUE ARTICLE!!!!

  • FindGeo

    I hardly know where to begin. I’m a Vt’er so Bernie’s been my representative for all the years he’s been in office. I’ve been to countless town hall meetings Bernie has hosted over the years and challenged him on many of his beliefs. First off I’d say to all “there’s no free lunch”. There’s a simple question we need to ask ourselves. Do you believe in personal responsible? Should other taxpayers have to pay for poor decisions and choices I’ve made. When it came to Wall Street, Bernie’s followers are outraged the “rich” got bailed out. I am as well. Those making poor financial “investments” should
    have gone bankrupt. So too, those who choose to get a “college degree” and are not able to find a job, need to ask themselves, was that a “smart” choice of studies in the first place? Did you do a cost-benefit analysis prior to enrolling? How is Bernie’s “free college” going to work? Is the government going to test you to determine what programs you may be “suitable” for? So is the government going to decide who becomes “plumbers”, auto technicians, carpenters, doctors, etc? Sounds like communism to me. The government knows best and makes your decisions for you. The reason college costs are so high now is DUE to government policy, that college loans are NOT discharged in bankruptcy. Think about it. Who would YOU loan money to? If someone asked you to borrow money so they could go to Las Vegas to gamble, would you loan them money? Would you loan them money to build a house? One loan has a physical underlying asset of value, the other only has a dream. So too, a college education does not have an underlying tangible asset that can be foreclosed on in the event of non-repayment. You want to lower college cost’s, make any college loan dischargable in bankruptcy and costs will come down over night. Why, nobody would loan money to students of questionable ability for programs not in high demand for future jobs. Loans will be extremely hard to come by as well, since the lender has to believe in your ability to learn and also have a high degree of expectation a job in your chosen field of studies will be there in four years, AND that the wages will be sufficient to repay the terms of the loan. Same thing applies to healthcare. Should we all be expected to pay for individuals that make poor lifestyle choices? Smokers, poor diet, lack of exercise? Should we all be expected to pay for “Octo-mom’s” choice of her pregnancy having eight babies conceived via in vitro fertilization? So if the government is to take healthcare over completely, are we going to be mandated to show up for exercise classes three times a week. Are our food choices going to be limited to only healthy foods? See where this all goes, once anyone has the burden of paying for things other people receive, they also get a “say” in what choices you have. I will say Bernie has been consistent over the years, problem is he’s advocated for failed socialist policies that would NEVER work with the diverse population of the United States.

  • ironjohn

    I’m not sure if these biased statusQuo media Article writers realize they help the Sanders argument and hurt the Hillary position with absolute poetry. My vote will see the day, if enough dems and indies realize this awful bias favoring “more status quo, please.”

  • Kevin Tullos

    I think Bernie sanders will be a Main Street job killer and “upward mobility” strangler. I just cannot see small businesses surviving when they are having to pay an entry level person $30k a year. I also think that the big businesses will take less risks on hiring a worker that will “grow into a position”. When businesses cannot take risks and take a chance on people who have potential, the worker will ultimately pay the price. For me, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without businesses being able to give me a chance to succeed. Bernie is bad for everyone, except, ironically the wealthiest people and most risk averse.

  • FindGeo

    I hardly know where to begin. I’m a VT’er so Bernie’s been my representative for all the years he’s been in office. I’ve been to countless town hall meetings Bernie has hosted over the years and challenged him on many of his beliefs. First off I’d say to all “there’s no free lunch”. There’s a simple question we need to ask ourselves. Do you believe in personal responsible? Should other taxpayers have to pay for poor decisions and choices I’ve made. When it came to Wall Street, Bernie’s followers are outraged the “rich” got bailed out. I am as well. Those making poor financial “investments” should
    have gone bankrupt. So too, those who choose to get a “college degree” and are not able to find a job, need to ask themselves, was that a “smart” choice of studies in the first place? Did you do a cost-benefit analysis prior to enrolling? How is Bernie’s “free college” going to work? Is the government going to test you to determine what programs you may be “suitable” for? So is the government going to decide who becomes plumbers, auto technicians, carpenters, doctors, etc? Sounds like communism to me. The government knows best and makes your decisions for you. The reason college costs are so high now is DUE to government policy, that college loans are NOT discharged in bankruptcy. Think about it. Who would YOU loan money to? If someone asked you to borrow money so they could go to Las Vegas to gamble, would you loan them money? Would you loan them money to build a house? One loan has a physical underlying asset of value, the other only has a dream. So too, a college education does not have an underlying tangible asset that can be foreclosed on in the event of non-repayment. You want to lower college cost’s, make any college loan dischargable in bankruptcy and costs will come down over night. Why, nobody would loan money to students of questionable ability for programs not in high demand for future jobs. Loans will be extremely hard to come by as well, since the lender has to believe in your ability to learn and also have a high degree of expectation a job in your chosen field of studies will be there in four years, AND that the wages will be sufficient to repay the terms of the loan. Same thing applies to healthcare. Should we all be expected to pay for individuals that make poor lifestyle choices? Smokers, poor diet, lack of exercise? Should we all be expected to pay for “Octo-mom’s” choice of her pregnancy having eight babies conceived via in vitro fertilization? So if the government is to take healthcare over completely, are we going to be mandated to show up for exercise classes three times a week. Are our food choices going to be limited to only healthy foods? See where this all goes, once anyone has the burden of paying for things other people receive, they also get a “say” in what choices you have. I will say Bernie has been consistent over the years, problem is he’s advocated for failed socialist policies that would NEVER work with the diverse population of the United States.

  • midnite

    State colleges should not have tuition bills. Period. The other bills for books and such will be enough to handle, and the student can work to pay those bills. The rich and corporate earners should be funding our extra costs. The middle class can no longer afford to do it. People earning $25,000 a year are in poverty already. They should not have to pay any taxes. It should be at a higher level. You cannot afford to live in New Jersey on $25,000 a year unless your living in a low-income building only charging you 30% of your income for rent. Then maybe, you can afford your groceries. Nobody is living high on the hog on $25,000 a year. I think the Democratic candidates are all leaning on getting taxes from the rich to pay for everything, which I agree would help. There are too many loopholes in the tax code to let them get away with it any longer. There’s the problem. Get rid of the loopholes !!
    Since when is any of it fair ? Always going after the little guy and the middle class. Medical care ? OMG…..it is truly out of hand. Deductibles alone, kill me and the co-pays are even worse. Get rid of them as soon as possible. The insurance companies have too much power to turn you down if they feel like it. People need quality care. All of us do. The young can get away with it for awhile, but not for too long. They will age sooner than they think. Or their children will need it. These days, most 50 yr. old men are ready to retire. Their aches & pains are starting to take over. There is a shortage of young, healthy people. 30 yr. old people are already complaining. Is it laziness ? What are we going to do ? My fears are taking over and I don’t know which candidate I can trust to protect me in my future. I just hope it becomes more clear soon. Then there’s always the fact that the empty promises will take over too. It will turn into an eenie-meenie-minie-mo situation at the end. Truth or Dare ? I feel no safety in my savings to last me. My home is no longer my bread and butter. I can’t even afford to fix it. Prices for everything are off the wall. Somebody has got to make money somewhere. I agree. But it’s getting very tough to afford to pay for anything these days. (except gas) That has come down. But only to hurt someone who has their savings in the market. So how do we win ? It’s all a catch-22. Feed one & starve another. Where is the happy medium ? Wish I knew. Can’t put it all on credit cards. Or should we ? lol
    I shouldn’t complain. I’m surviving for the most part. But I still feel for those who can’t make it or are hurting and live on the edge of their paychecks. ( if they get one? )
    But it all took hard work for a long time. Nothing came free. Save, save, spend and save. The only way to do it.
    Bernie’s way seems like “the easy way” out. Be careful young ones. Read between the lines. Somebody is going to pay for it somehow. Politicians will promise you everything and give you some, not all. You can pretty much count on that much. Throw it all in a barrel and see who collects what and how much. That’s what it’s going to come down to.

  • FindGeo

    I hardly know where to begin. I’m a VT’er so Bernie’s been my representative for all the years he’s been in office. I’ve been to countless town hall meetings Bernie has hosted over the years and challenged him on many of his beliefs. First off I’d say to all “there’s no free lunch”. There’s a simple question we need to ask ourselves. Do you believe in personal responsible? Should other taxpayers have to pay for poor decisions and choices I’ve made. When it came to Wall Street, Bernie’s followers are outraged the “rich” got bailed out. I am as well. Those making poor financial “investments” should
    have gone bankrupt. So too, those who choose to get a “college degree” and are not able to find a job, need to ask themselves, was that a “smart” choice of studies in the first place? Did you do a cost-benefit analysis prior to enrolling? How is Bernie’s “free college” going to work? Is the government going to test you to determine what programs you may be “suitable” for? So is the government going to decide who becomes “plumbers”, auto technicians, carpenters, doctors, etc? Sounds like communism to me. The government knows best and makes your decisions for you. The reason college costs are so high now is DUE to government policy, that college loans are NOT discharged in bankruptcy. Think about it. Who would YOU loan money to? If someone asked you to borrow money so they could go to Las Vegas to gamble, would you loan them money? Would you loan them money to build a house? One loan has a physical underlying asset of value, the other only has a dream. So too, a college education does not have an underlying tangible asset that can be foreclosed on in the event of non-repayment. You want to lower college cost’s, make any college loan dischargable in bankruptcy and costs will come down over night. Why, nobody would loan money to students of questionable ability for programs not in high demand for future jobs. Loans will be extremely hard to come by as well, since the lender has to believe in your ability to learn and also have a high degree of expectation a job in your chosen field of studies will be there in four years, AND that the wages will be sufficient to repay the terms of the loan. Same thing applies to healthcare. Should we all be expected to pay for individuals that make poor lifestyle choices? Smokers, poor diet, lack of exercise? Should we all be expected to pay for “Octo-mom’s” choice of her pregnancy having eight babies conceived via in vitro fertilization? So if the government is to take healthcare over completely, are we going to be mandated to show up for exercise classes three times a week. Are our food choices going to be limited to only healthy foods? See where this all goes, once anyone has the burden of paying for things other people receive, they also get a “say” in what choices you have. I will say Bernie has been consistent over the years, problem is he’s advocated for failed socialist policies that would NEVER work with the diverse population of the United States.

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