Candidates’ Proposals on Federal Debt Fall Short

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A new report, released shortly before Monday’s Iowa caucuses, says that while all of the 2016 presidential candidates in both parties acknowledge that the rapidly growing national debt is a problem, most of their proposals to deal with it fall far short.

First Budget, a joint initiative of The Concord Coalition and the Campaign to Fix the Debt, released the report, entitled “The National Debt & the 2016 Election: Early Returns from Iowa and New Hampshire.” It says none of the candidates have yet presented credible, comprehensive plans to address the debt.

“Voters should closely scrutinize what the presidential candidates say about our worsening budget outlook because unsustainable debt cannot be cured with unsustainable campaign promises,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “The budget proposals put out so far have many gaps to be filled and the candidates should turn their attention to that in the coming weeks.”

The report says that several Republican candidates have offered detailed plans to address Social Security and federal health care spending. Yet many GOP candidates want large tax cuts that far outweigh the specific spending cuts they have proposed, which would worsen the fiscal situation.

On the Democratic side, some candidates have concrete proposals to pay for their proposed expansions of major federal programs. But they have not put forward additional plans to address the growing debt and put the government on a sustainable path.

Citing the First Budget report, the Des Moines Register on Monday lamented the candidates’ “empty rhetoric” on fiscal reform and their “deficit of ideas on debt.”

External links:
The National Debt & 2016 Election: Early Returns from Iowa and New Hampshire
Candidates Offer Deficit of Ideas on Debt (Des Moines Register)
CEOs: National Debt Needs To Be Controlled (Des Moines Register)
First Budget Sees Few True Plans For Addressing National Debt (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier)
Bixby Discusses First Budget on WMT Radio Show (Clip Begins at 43 Minute Mark)
Bixby on WHO Morning Radio Show to Discuss Report (Clip Begins at 1 hour 8 Minute Mark)
Concord Executive Director Joins Local Iowa News Broadcast (WHO-TV)
The Ask (First Budget Video)

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