As Presidential Campaign Pace Quickens, Candidates Race Ahead with Bigger Federal Budget Promises, Updated Study Shows

(Alexandria, Va.) -- As Presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continued fighting for the Democratic nomination up until the final primary elections, the latest update of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's (NTUF) candidate cost analysis project shows that the race for votes is also a scramble to boost the federal budget. Sen. Clinton (D-NY) made campaign promises to Puerto Rico residents exceeding $1.1 billion annually -- the equivalent of more than $4,300 for each vote that she won in Sunday?s primary.

NTUF's third round of "costing out" the candidates' platforms since January 29 found that Clinton would increase yearly federal spending by $289.6 billion, compared to Sen. Obama's (D-IL) $343.6 billion -- both significantly higher totals from the last update on March 3. NTUF also released an update for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the presumptive Republican nominee, who would swell annual federal outlays by $68.5 billion -- almost 10 times the amount he was backing in January.

"Vying for votes by out-promising your opponent is an age-old Presidential campaign tactic, but our spending studies show just how quickly candidates out on the stump can run up the prospective tab for taxpayers -- especially as the Democratic race has gotten more competitive," NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady said. "The greatest increase in Clinton's and Obama's agendas has happened since we last updated the reports in March -- a time when the Democratic primaries were returning mixed results with no clear frontrunner."

Brady noted that Clinton's spending total (now $289.6 billion) has jumped by nearly 33 percent since January 29 ($218.2 billion), and by roughly 28 percent since March 3 ($226.1 billion). Likewise, Obama's annual spending platform ($343.6 billion) has increased by about 20 percent since January 29 ($287.0 billion), and by about 12 percent since March 3 ($307.2 billion).

Although most of the upswing for all three candidates is due to new official fiscal projections for "cap- and-trade" environmental legislation, Clinton, McCain, and Obama also offered initiatives in other policy areas. Items with considerable price tags include a $500 million "Made Green in America Fund" (Clinton), an unemployment compensation system for older workers (McCain, updated from "cost unknown" to $3.5 billion), and $625 million more to combat autism (Obama).

NTUF's latest analyses include cost calculations based on hard data for 363 proposals that would affect the federal budget -- more than half of which have unknown fiscal effects. NTUF assumed the most conservative estimates based on a variety of sources, including the candidates' own projections; summaries from the Congressional Budget Office, Congressional Research Service, and the White House Office of Management and Budget; and results from equivalent legislation from NTUF's BillTally cost-accounting system.

NTUF is the nonpartisan research arm of the National Taxpayers Union, a citizen group founded in 1969. Note: For more on the candidate cost analysis project, visit


View the candidate cost analyses in PDF:

Hillary Clinton

John McCain

Barack Obama