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Feel the Debt Bern

Bernie Sanders to one-up Elizabeth Warren with $1.6 trillion college debt elimination plan

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will propose Monday eliminating all $1.6 trillion of U.S. student debt and making all public universities, community colleges, and trade schools tuition-free. His plan is broader and more expensive than those offered by fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Julián Castro. Warren's plan, for example, would cost an estimated $640 billion and eliminate up to $50,000 in debt of people earning less than $100,000, effectively wiping out the student loans of 75 percent of borrowers. Sanders proposes to cancel all student debt, including for private colleges and graduate schools..

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Sanders says he will pay for it with a tax on stock transactions and bonds. "This is truly a revolutionary proposal," he told The Washington Post. "In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the 'crime' of getting a college education." Sanders said his tax on investments would raise $2 trillion over 10 years, though some tax experts call that an optimistic figure.

Critics say the Sanders proposal would primarily help educated Americans, who typically earn more, and more affluent families. Sanders and his supporters say creating programs that help all Americans, regardless of income, makes the programs more politically durable.

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