Bernie Sanders wrote a tweet on Oct. 15, 2018 about the impact of the Republican policies that led to $779 billion in the U.S. deficit, in which he claimed the following:
4 Republican policies led to a $779 billion deficit in 2018: – Bush Tax Cuts: $488 B – Trump Tax Cuts: $164 B – Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: $127 B – Defense increases since 9/11: $156 B Without tax cuts for the wealthy and endless wars we would’ve had a $156 billion SURPLUS.
“Bush Tax Cuts: $488 B”
Fact Check 1:
It is unclear where the senator derives this $488 billion figure. Glenn Kessler, a Washington Post correspondent, writes that the Bush tax cuts are thought to have totaled $2.8 trillion but that “the true ‘cost’ to the Treasury may never be known.”
“Trump Tax Cuts: $164 B”
Fact Check 2:
Estimates show the Trump tax cuts will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is already talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare because of it.
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: $127 B
Fact check 3:
Scholars Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes write in their piece “The Three Trillion Dollar War” that the figure lies closer to $4 trillion.
“Defense increases since 9/11: $156 B”
Fact check 4:
Adding in the cost of the Patriot Act and large new bureaucracies such as Homeland Security, this too is likely severely under-estimated.
” Without tax cuts for the wealthy and endless wars we would’ve had a $156 billion SURPLUS.”