Obama's Fiscal Agenda Now Tops $300 Billion, Almost 36 Percent Higher than Clinton's, Updated Study Calculates

(Alexandria, VA) -- As Presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton race toward a key electoral showdown tomorrow, updated findings from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's (NTUF's) candidate cost analysis project show that their federal budget proposals are racing ahead as well. According to neutral data, Obama's platform would boost yearly federal spending by $307.2 billion compared to Clinton's $226.1 billion -- both measurably higher totals since NTUF began examining the candidates' plans earlier this year.

"Since we released our first report on January 29, candidates Obama and Clinton have upped the ante on their campaign proposals by $20.3 billion and $7.9 billion, respectively," said NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady. "That's the equivalent of nearly $1 billion of political promises for every day they've been on the campaign trail between then and now."

In late January NTUF provided cost estimates -- based on hard data -- for more than 450 of the major candidates' proposals that would affect the federal budget (at that time eight candidates were studied). NTUF assumed the most conservative cost estimates of federal outlays 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. Among the latest findings:

  • Since January 29, Barack Obama has outlined 34 additional policies that could have an impact on the federal budget (some are new proposals while others are expansions of existing proposals). These items add $20.2 billion in annualized spending to Obama's $287.0 billion total that NTUF originally calculated.
  • Among Obama's larger new initiatives are a "National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank" ($6 billion), a New Orleans Hurricane Protection System ($1.6 billion), and a new "Universal Mortgage Credit" (the refundable portion of which could raise outlays by $4.4 billion).
  • Hillary Clinton has offered or clarified 24 proposals that would increase her original $218.2 billion agenda total to $226.1 billion. Clinton's new items include financial literacy for adults ($250 million) and weatherization/energy efficiency assistance ($5 billion).
  • Both candidates proposed dozens of "cost unknown" proposals that could boost totals higher.

NTUF's January 29 report elicited a great deal of attention from the media, the public, and the candidates themselves. At that time NTUF estimated that the Presidential hopefuls' budget platforms ranged from $150.1 billion in savings (Ron Paul) to $287.0 billion in new spending (Obama). The top-tier GOP candidates remaining in the race (John McCain and Mike Huckabee) called for spending hikes of $6.9 billion and $54.2 billion, respectively. NTUF will update their reports next.

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 www.ntu.org.