One Professor Has An Interesting Idea For Raising Wages

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/ Bloomberg/ Getty Images.
If you've been following the 2016 presidential race, you know that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has some lofty ideas about economic reform in the United States.

But what do his proposals actually mean, and how would they affect the country? Gerald Friedman, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has translated Sanders' ideas into projections we can understand — and they're surprisingly rosy.

According to Friedman's predictions, Sanders' economic program would cause median household incomes to rise by more than $22,000, CNN reports. By Friedman's estimates, Sanders' plan would create almost 26 million U.S. jobs, and the country's unemployment rate would be lowered to 3.8%.

While many — both Democrats and Republicans — have criticized Sanders' proposal to raise the federal minimum wage, Friedman believes Sanders' economic proposal, which involves $14.5 trillion in spending, would actually stimulate the economy, increasing both productivity and GDP.

Aside from raising the minimum wage, Sanders wants to make public-college tuition free, raise taxes on the wealthy, and increase Social Security benefits. Sanders has also proposed $1 trillion in spending on infrastructure reform, CNN notes.

Friedman compared Sanders' economic plans to the 1930s' New Deal, writing in the report that Sanders would "promote a more just prosperity, broadly-based with a narrowing of economy inequality." Friedman also noted in his report that he believes Sanders' plan would stimulate the economy more than the economic plans of Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and others, who have proposed tax cuts.

It would still be extremely difficult for a President Sanders to turn his vision into a political reality, but these numbers show that critics need to take his ideas seriously.
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