U.S. Budget Watch is a historical project of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which provided analysis around the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. This site is not regularly updated.


GOP Presidential Candidate Plan Comparison Tool

U.S. Budget Watch has published a qualitative Presidential Candidate Plan Comparison Tool for the last four Republican presidential candidates and their various proposals with fiscal impacts, including long-term proposals for revenues, regulations, Social Security, health care, other spending, and budget processes.

The Cost of "Current Policy"

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The CBO recently projected a ten-year deficit of $7.1 trillion using a "current law" baseline. But these numbers may prove to be optimistic. CRFB argues that  four major assumptions in the baseline are unlikely to materialize, leading to a ten-year deficit of $12.6 trillion. This paper discusses US Budget Watch's own "current policy" baseline, which assumes particular policies do not conform to current law.

Analysis of the President's FY2010 Budget

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Recently, the White House released its comprehensive FY2010 budget request, including detailed proposals for each agency, along with “Analytical Perspectives,” a description of all proposed spending cuts and program eliminations, and an updated set of summary tables. Also released was the Treasury Department’s “Green Book,” which compiles all tax proposals within the budget. This paper analyses those documents.

Comparing the FY2010 Budget Resolutions

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 Last week, the Budget Committees in both the House and Senate reported out their respective versions of the Budget Resolution, to be considered on the House and Senate floors.  While each resolution would result in smaller deficit than would the President’s Budget, as estimated by the CBO, we worry that both resolutions contain a number of assumptions that may be difficult to achieve.

CBO's Analysis of the President's FY 2010 Budget Blueprint

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Last week, the CBO released its Preliminary Analysis of The President’s Budget, projecting a significantly worse fiscal situation than the Administration does. The cumulative deficit numbers from the CBO over the 2010-2019 period are over $2.2 trillion greater than those from OMB.  


More on the President's FY 2010 Budget Blueprint

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Although CRFB commends the President for having a specific fiscal goal and for honestly budgeting for expected costs, several items and trends in the budget are troubling. This paper focuses on three main issues: a more aggressive deficit goal would be appropriate; introducing new spending programs and tax cuts before finding ways to close the fiscal gap threatens the principle that Congress set forth to fully offset all new initiatives; and the budget largely fails to address the long-term.


A First Look at the President's FY 2010 Budget Blueprint

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Today, the White House released an outline of the FY2010 Budget. The President’s budget has a specific fiscal goal, accounts for policies omitted by previous budgets, and proposes to fully offset new tax cut and health care plans. This paper analyzes the fiscal goals, baseline figures, health care reform, and the budget process elements of the President’s budget outline.


Promises Promises: A Fiscal Voter Guide to the 2008 Election

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The United States faces serious fiscal challenges. Large budget deficits have returned, and shifting demographics along with growing health care costs are putting intense pressure on the long-term federal budget outlook. Over time, sustained deficits will weaken the economy and adversely affect the American standard of living.

The two major political parties' presidential candidates are campaigning on a lengthy list of policy initiatives, most of which would have significant impact on the federal budget. While not all of these proposals will become law, they do reflect the candidates' values and priorities, and the policies each candidate is likely to pursue once in office. In addition to these new initiatives, a number of outstanding tax and budget issues exist that will need to be addressed, such as which of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts should be made permanent, how to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax, what to do about growing entitlement spending, how to control health care cost growth, and how to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The next president will face difficult fiscal challenges. It is therefore critical that voters understand the potential budgetary impacts of the candidates' plans.

US Budget Watch's report, Promises, Promises: A Fiscal Voter Guide to the 2008 Election--with an updated (10/31) section on the candidateswill help voters find their way through the thicket of policy proposals put forward by the likely Republican candidate for president, Senator John McCain, and the likely Democratic candidate for president, Senator Barack Obama. It presents a capsule summary of the candidates' major policy proposals and includes an estimate of the likely fiscal impact of each proposal. The guide is not intended to express a view for or against either candidate or any specific policy proposal. This report will be followed by other more detailed reports on the candidates' tax and spending proposals.

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