Saturday, February 16, 2008

Clinton vs. Obama vs. McCain: Federal Spending

Here is a comparison of what the leading candidates say about federal spending and the budget deficit on their "issues" pages of their campaign web sites. These are just excerpts but I have provided the links if you want to read all of what they say. I assume that these issue statements were carefully decided upon and carefully crafted to appeal and communicate to a national audience (as opposed to a speech directed to a particular special interest audience). I have added some comments in red.

This topic did not rise to the level of being included in her official issue statements.


  • Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington Obama believes that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue. Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers.
  • Obama introduced and passed bipartisan legislation that would require more disclosure and transparency for special-interest earmarks. ... [both Obama and McCain emphasize this.]
  • Obama will stop funding wasteful, obsolete federal government programs that make no financial sense. Obama has called for an end to subsidies for oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits, as well as the elimination of subsidies to the private student loan industry which has repeatedly used unethical business practices. Obama will also tackle wasteful spending in the Medicare program.
  • Make the Tax System More Fair and Efficient Building on his bipartisan work in the Senate, Obama will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.
  • Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry.


  • Enforcing Fiscal Discipline ... ensure that money spent by Congress, ... , is used wisely and prudently on legitimate national priorities, not squandered on wasteful pet projects and special interest earmarks. ... The practice of excessive borrowing and deficit spending in Washington must stop.
  • Ending Pork Barrel Spending
  • Increasing Transparency ... Americans deserve to know how their elected representatives are spending their money. Members of Congress who request earmarks in legislation should be identified and their request should be fully described. ...
  • Making Tough Choices ... Without comprehensive bipartisan reform to America's entitlement programs, the nation will be unable to meet the challenges of providing vital medical and social security assistance to future generations.
  • Path to Lower Taxes ... But, tax cuts work best when accompanied by lower spending. Higher taxes and greater spending discourage entrepreneurship, foster wasteful tax-planning and slow long-term growth. Intelligently-formulated tax cuts and sensible tax reform will deliver much higher growth when they are accompanied by lower spending.
  • Opening Markets & Opportunity

Other recent comparison posts of mine: abortion, stem cell research, immigration, energy/environment

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