WASHINGTON -- A new assessment of 2016 presidential candidates by First Budget, a joint initiative of the Campaign to Fix the Debt and The Concord Coalition, finds that while all candidates in both parties say the rapidly growing national debt is a problem, most of their proposals to address it fall far short.
The report, “The National Debt & the 2016 Election: Early Returns from Iowa and New Hampshire,” says every Republican and Democratic candidate has acknowledged the seriousness of the problem. Yet none have presented credible, comprehensive plans to address it.
“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.”
Maya MacGuineas, head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, said: “Candidates for the nation’s highest office have an obligation to voters to explain how they would get our country out of the massive fiscal pit it has fallen into. Today’s report paints a picture of candidates who on the one hand are willing to level with voters about the importance of responsible fiscal policies, but on the other, are not willing to put forth full budget proposals to get us there.”
Some candidates have indicated that they are serious about addressing some of the key drivers of the debt. On the Republican side, several have put forward detailed plans to address Social Security and federal health care spending, core drivers of projected spending growth. Yet many GOP candidates have proposed large tax cut plans that outweigh the specific spending cuts they have proposed and so would dramatically worsen the fiscal situation.
On the Democratic side, some candidates have presented concrete proposals to pay for their proposed expansions of major federal programs, but they have not put forward additional plans to address the debt. It is not enough to simply pay for new spending commitments when the budget is already on an unsustainable path because of the accumulating debt.
The First Budget initiative was launched over a year ago to raise public awareness of the dangers posed by the national debt and to make solving it a top priority for the next president.
First Budget’s assessments in the new report are based on research into candidate positions and statements, as well as hundreds of interactions with presidential candidates on the campaign trail. Eight candidates addressed fiscal issues on First Budget’s TV interview series Fiscal Fridays in New Hampshire and Your First Budget in Iowa.
First Budget, the Campaign to Fix the Debt and The Concord Coalition are bipartisan and do not support or oppose any candidates. The report’s findings are intended to inform voters about candidates’ positions on fiscal issues.
Media Contact: Steve Winn, (703) 254-7828, [email protected]
The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility. Since 1992, Concord has worked to educate the public about the causes and consequences of the federal deficit and debt, and to develop realistic solutions for sustainable budgets. For more fiscal news and analysis, visit concordcoalition.org and follow us on Twitter: @ConcordC