NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 26, 2008

In 2009, when the next president takes office, the government is expected to spend $400 billion more than it takes in, adding to a national debt that tops $9 trillion. Yet Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both offer a long list of new spending proposals that suggests a lack of seriousness in confronting the nation's fiscal condition, says USA Today.

The National Taxpayers Union, a conservative group that favors lower taxes and smaller government, gives a very rough estimate on proposals they have laid out so far: $287 billion for Obama and $218 billion for Clinton.  But what is more unclear is how they would pay for them:

  • A rollback of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could generate perhaps $75 billion next year.
  • The Iraq war savings are much harder to figure; the war has been costing about $100 billion per year.
  • But a Democratic president, once in office, might decide that national security demands a gradual withdrawal, or redeployment to Afghanistan.
  • Health care for Iraq war veterans will run into the billions for decades; it's unlikely that winding down the war will produce a large, quick peace dividend capable of supporting a host of new programs.

To make matters worse, any tax increases and military reductions might be needed just to cover the government's existing shortfalls caused principally by rising health care costs and the pending baby boomer retirement, says USA Today.

Source: Editorial, "Democrats promise a lot, but who will pay the bill?" USA Today, February 25, 2008.


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