Foundation

The January 17th Democratic Presidential Debate: Billions & Trillions of New Spending

by Demian Brady / /

Spending Proposals in the January 17th Democratic Debate: Number & Annualized Cost (in Billions) of Policies
CandidateTotal Cost per Year# of Increase ProposalsCost per Year of Increase Proposals# of Decrease ProposalsCost per Year of Savings Proposals# of Proposals with Indeterminate Costs
Hillary Clinton$125.609$125.600N/A5
Martin O’Malley$98.705$98.700N/A4
Bernie Sanders$1,658.304$1,658.300N/A4

 

Hillary Clinton

Net Change in Spending per Year: $125.609 billion

Economy, Transportation, & Infrastructure:

Build on Dodd-Frank: “ … [W]e have Dodd-Frank. It gives us the authority already to break up big banks that pose … a risk to the financial sector. I want to go further and add to that.”

          Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: It is unclear whether Clinton’s proposal to increase the government’s regulatory authority over the financial and commodity industries would increase costs to the government. In 2011, the Congressional Budget Office reported that Dodd-Frank would increase outlays by $21.5 billion over five years.

Equal Pay: “I would work quickly to present to the Congress my plans for ... [g]uaranteeing … equal pay for women’s work.”

            Cost per Year: $3 million ($15 million over five years)

Notes: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1619/S. 862, the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would enhance regulations pertaining to equal pay. The text of the bill authorizes $15 million for compliance training, a grant program for negotiation skills training for girls and women, and research, education, and outreach. NTUF assumes the outlays would occur over five years.

Family Leave: “I want to raise incomes, not taxes, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that the wealthy pay for... paid family leave.”

            Cost per Year: $2.242 billion ($11.21 billion)

Notes: Related legislation was introduced in the form of S. 786, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. The bill would increase payroll taxes to finance a national benefit program. In 2014, NTUF examined the Office of Management and Budget’s estimates of total social insurance program receipts for years 2015-2019 and increased those amounts by 0.2 percent to approximate the revenue increase that might result from a new payroll tax. Based on those calculations, the FAMILY Act could increase federal spending by $11.2 billion over five years. Clinton’s plan is very similar, but instead of increasing payroll taxes on the workers who would receive the benefit, she would finance it by “making the wealthiest pay their fair share” of taxes.

Infrastructure & Manufacturing: “I would work quickly to present to the Congress my plans for creating more good jobs in manufacturing, infrastructure … .”

            Cost per Year: $55 billion ($275 billion over five years)

Notes: PARTIAL ESTIMATE. It is unclear what specific policies Clinton would present to Congress regarding manufacturing, but she has proposed $275 billion over five years on infrastructure spending.

Minimum Wage: “I would work quickly to present to the Congress my plans ... raising the minimum wage … .”

           Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Related legislation was introduced during the 113th Congress in the form of S. 2223, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act. That bill would have gradually increased the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and indexed it to inflation in years thereafter. CBO determined that the bill would not significantly impact federal outlays. It is unclear if this proposal would be scored similarly. In a related 2014 report, CBO noted that a minimum wage increase to $10.10 would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers across the country.

Education, Science, & Research:

Child Care: “I want to raise incomes, not taxes, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that the wealthy pay ... for child care … .”

            Cost per Year: $5.314 billion ($26.569 billion over five years)

Notes: Clinton has proposed to double spending for Early Head Start and Early Head Start–Child Care programs. The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2029) provided $635 million for Early Head Start for FY 2016. NTUF assumes that Clinton would double this funding over five years.

Debt-Free Tuition: “I’ve laid out my ideas about what we can do to make college affordable; how we can help people pay off their student debts … . . [M]aking community college free, making it possible to attend a public college or university with debt free tuition … .”

            Cost per Year: $35 billion ($350 billion over ten years)

Notes: Clinton’s plan, dubbed “The New College Compact”, includes a number of provisions designed to lower the cost of tuition at public colleges and universities. They include federal grants to states that reduce tuition; student loan refinancing provisions (similar to legislation introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren); the President’s $6 billion per year plan to make community colleges “free”; and permanently extending the refundable American Opportunity Tax Credit. Her campaign has stated that the plan would cost “in the range of” $350 billion over ten years, and would be offset by “limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers” (though it does not mention any specifically). A five-year estimate is currently unavailable.

Government Reform:

Campaign Finance Reform: “There’s a lot we have to do on … campaign finance reform … .”

            Cost per Year: $850 million (first-year cost)

Notes: On her campaign website, Clinton proposes to “establish a small-donor matching system for presidential and congressional elections.” The existing Presidential Election Campaign Fund matches certain qualifying contributions to Presidential campaigns. It is unclear what additional reforms Clinton would implement regarding Presidential elections. In 2013, Public Campaign estimated that related legislation introduced to establish public financing of Congressional elections would cost from $700 to $850 million per year. NTUF assumes this would be the cost during an election year.

Voting Rights: “There’s a lot we have to do on … voting rights … .”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Clinton proposes reforms to “repair the Voting Rights Act,” “set national standards for early voting,” and implement “universal, automatic voter registration.” A cost estimate is indeterminate.

Health Care:

Build on Affordable Care Act: “I would also be presenting my plans to build on the Affordable Care Act and to improve it by decreasing the out-of-pocket costs by putting a cap on prescription drug costs; by looking for ways that we can put the prescription drug business and the health insurance company business on a more stable platform that doesn’t take too much money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans. ... I am absolutely committed to universal health care. … We finally have a path to universal health care. .... I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it.”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Clinton has specified a number of measures related to expanding health care. Her proposals related to prescription drugs include removing a tax write-off for expenses related to direct-to-consumer advertising, increasing regulation of advertisements, “fully funding” the Office of Generic Drugs, decreasing the exclusivity period for generic biological drugs, and “build[ing] on provisions in the Affordable Care Act that invest in private research.” While the cost of these and additional elements of her plan are indeterminate, she has also has proposed to “require pharmaceutical companies to provide higher rebates in the Medicare low-income subsidy program, ensuring that rebates are at Medicaid levels.”

The “rebates” are an increase in forced payments from pharmaceutical manufacturers to participate in the Medicare Part D program. President Obama’s FY 2016 budget included a similar proposal to “align Medicare drug payment policies with Medicaid policies” and are classified as offsetting receipts totaling $45.5 billion over five years. The Congressional Budget Office notes that the rebates might cause manufacturers to reduce investment in research and development of new drugs. CBO also expects new drugs would be released at higher prices to offset the increased “rebates”.

Clinton also proposes a $5,000 tax credit for out-of-pocket health care expenses. The tax credit would be refundable so that it could be claimed whether or not a filer has any income tax liability. This credit would be in addition to the refundable premium tax credit created in the Affordable Care Act, which, according to the Internal Revenue Service, can be claimed as advanced payments to help cover out-of-pocket costs. While her campaign has not said how much this proposal could cost, Clinton says, “This tax cut will be fully paid for by demanding rebates from drug manufacturers and asking the most fortunate to pay their fair share.” NTUF assumes the cost would be at least much as the “rebate” payments listed above.

Drug Abuse & Addiction: “So I have ... come out with a comprehensive approach [regarding drug abuse and addiction] that, number one, does tell the states that we will work with you from the federal government putting more money, about a billion dollars a year, to help states have a different approach to dealing with this epidemic.”   

Cost per Year: $1 billion ($5 billion over five years)

Notes: Clinton proposes a $10 billion plan to “combat … drug and alcohol addiction.” NTUF assumes the funding would be spread over 10 years.

Law Enforcement & Homeland Security:

Immigration Reform: “There’s a lot we have to do on immigration reform … .”

            Cost per Year: $20.2 billion ($101 billion over five years)

Notes: On her campaign website, Clinton proposes to “fight for comprehensive immigration reform legislation with a path to full and equal citizenship.” During the 113th Congress, the Senate passed S. 744, which would have overhauled the federal immigration system by providing a path to legal status for many current illegal aliens and authorizing additional funding for border security measures. A Congressional Budget Office estimate of the bill as passed by the Senate indicated it would increase mandatory spending by $89 billion over the first five years and discretionary spending by $12 billion in that same time. Senator Sanders voted in favor of the legislation.

Retrain Police Officers: “Their needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. And, that requires a very clear, agenda for retraining police officers, looking at ways to end racial profiling, finding more ways to really bring the disparities that stalk our country into high relief.”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: On her campaign website, Clinton calls to make “new investments to support state-of-the-art law enforcement training programs at every level.” However, she has not specified the amount of increased funding.

 

Martin O’Malley

Net Change in Spending per Year: $98.743 billion

Economy, Transportation, & Infrastructure:

Equal Pay: “I would lay out an agenda to make wages go up again for all Americans, rather than down. Equal pay for equal work … .”

            Cost per Year: $3 million ($15 million over five years)

Notes: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of H.R. 1619/S. 862, the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would enhance regulations pertaining to equal pay. The text of the bill authorizes $15 million for compliance training, a grant program for negotiation skills training for girls and women, and research, education and outreach. NTUF assumes the outlays would occur over five years.

Minimum Wage: “ … [R]aising the minimum wage to $15 an hour … .”

  Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Related legislation was introduced during the 113th Congress in the form of S. 2223, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act. That bill would have gradually increased the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and indexed it to inflation in years thereafter. CBO determined that the bill would not significantly impact federal outlays. It is unclear if this proposal would be scored similarly. In a related 2014 report, CBO noted that a minimum wage increase to $10.10 would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers.

National Service: “The things that we need to do in our country … like making national service a universal option in order to cut youth unemployment in half in the next three years … .”

            Cost per Year: $563 million ($4.5 billion over eight years)

Notes: REVISED SCORE. PARTIAL ESTIMATE. Governor O’Malley has published a policy paper outlining plans to expand AmeriCorps, develop new federal service corps, and expand the Peace Corps. His campaign staff have reported that the expansion of AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps would cost $4.5 billion through 2024. NTUF assumes the expansion would begin in 2017.

New Agenda for Cities: “ … [W]e need a new agenda for America’s cities. ... We need a new agenda for America’s cities that will invest in the talents and skills in our people, that will invest in CBVG transportation, infrastructure and transit options, and make our cities the leading edge in this move to a redesigned built clean green energy future that will employ our people.”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: O’Malley’s plan entails a number of proposals including increasing mass transit and housing, as well as proposals that overlap with his energy and national service programs (scored separately). A cost estimate for the non-overlapping sections is indeterminate.

Regulate Wall Street: “I have put forward a plan that would actually put cops back on the beat of Wall Street.”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: It is unclear whether O’Malley’s proposal to increase the government’s regulatory authority over the financial and commodity industries would increase costs to the government.

Education, Science, & Research:

Debt-Free College: “The things that we need to do in our country, like debt-free college in the next five years … .”

            Cost per Year: $20.725 billion ($103.624 billion over five years)

Notes: PARTIAL ESTIMATE. Governor O’Malley has published a policy paper outlining some of his proposals to make college a “debt free option.” Those include matching federal grants for states that reduce tuition costs; expanding Pell Grants and work-study funding; and providing additional funding for colleges that graduate students on-time. The campaign has not specified how much the reforms would cost, but, “suggested they could be paid for by measures such as closing corporate tax loopholes and taxing capital gains at the same rate as earned income.” President Obama’s 2016 budget included a proposal to reform taxation of capital gains that would increase revenues by $20.7 billion per year over the first five years once fully phased in. It is unclear what “loopholes” would be closed to provide additional tax receipts to finance his education plan.

Energy and the Environment:

Clean Electric Grid: “ … I put forward a plan to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050 and create 5 million jobs … .”

            Cost per Year: $57.252 billion ($286.26 billion over five years)

Notes: Governor O’Malley’s call for a 100 percent clean electric grid is part of his broader proposal to “transition to a clean energy future” within the next 35 years, as outlined on his campaign website. His plan includes provisions to subsidize energy-efficient infrastructure construction, create a Clean Energy Job Corps, issue new regulations that establish efficiency standards, and reduce carbon emissions through “cap and trade” legislation. NTUF assumes that the revenue from the carbon tax proposal (which was scored by CBO as a $257 billion five-year cost in 2009 and has been adjusted for inflation) would be used to fund O’Malley’s clean energy plan. It is likely that the total cost of his plan will be higher, though, as it includes at least 20 different proposals and could result in significant administrative costs over the long term.

Law Enforcement & Homeland Security:

Immigration Reform: “ … [P]assing comprehensive immigration reform … .”

            Cost per Year: $20.2 billion ($101 billion over five years)

Notes: During the 113th Congress, the Senate passed S. 744, which would have overhauled the federal immigration system by providing a path to legal status for many current illegal aliens and authorizing additional funding for border security measures. A Congressional Budget Office estimate of the bill as passed by the Senate indicated it would increase mandatory spending by $89 billion over the first five years and discretionary spending by $12 billion in that same time. Senator Sanders voted in favor of the legislation.

National Defense & Foreign Affairs:

Intelligence: “We are walking through this region [the Middle East] ... without the human intelligence that we need. And we need to make a renewed investment as a country in bringing up a new generation of Foreign Service officers … .”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Intelligence funding levels are classified and it is unclear what level of funding for these areas O’Malley would support.

 

Bernie Sanders

Net Change in Spending per Year: $1.658 trillion

Economy, Transportation, & Infrastructure:

Glass-Steagall Regulation: “You’ve got to bring back the 21st century Glass-Steagall legislation and you’ve got to break up these huge financial institutions.”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: It is unclear whether Sanders’ proposal to increase the government’s regulatory authority over the financial and commodity industries would increase costs to the government.

Infrastructure: “ … [W]e have got to create millions of decent- paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.”

            Cost per Year: $146 billion ($730 billion over five years)

Notes: Senator Sanders introduced related legislation in the form of S. 268, the Rebuild America Act of 2015. The text of the bill authorizes $730 billion in new funding for infrastructure improvements over the next five years, and establishes a National Infrastructure Development Bank to oversee those projects.

Minimum Wage: “ … [W]e should raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour … .”

 Cost per Year: Indeterminate

Notes: Related legislation was introduced during the 113th Congress in the form of S. 2223, the Minimum Wage Fairness Act. That bill would have gradually increased the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and indexed it to inflation in years thereafter. CBO determined that the bill would not significantly impact federal outlays. It is unclear if this proposal would be scored similarly. In a related 2014 report, CBO noted that a minimum wage increase to $10.10 would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers.                                            

Education, Science, & Research:

Tuition-Free Education: “I want every kid in this country who has the ability to be able to go to a public college, or university, tuition free.  … I want to substantially lower student debt interest rates in this country as well.”

            Cost per Year: $75 billion ($375 billion over five years)

Notes: Sanders complete education plan, as detailed on campaign website, would cost $75 billion per year.

Energy and the Environment:

Transform Energy System: “We must ... transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. I’ve got the most comprehensive legislation in the Senate to do that. And as President, I will fight to make that happen.”

Cost per Year: $57.252 billion ($286.26 billion over five years)

Notes: Related legislation was introduced during the 111th Congress in the form of H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. That legislation included a “cap and trade” system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, along with numerous other initiatives to expand renewable energy research and financial incentives for energy providers who develop efficient energy sources. A Congressional Budget Office estimate is available. (NTUF adjusted the estimate for inflation.)

Health Care:

Single-Payer Health Care: “ … [W]e should have health care for every man, woman, and child as a right … . … My proposal, provide health care to all people, get private insurance out of health insurance … .”

            Cost per Year: $1.38 trillion ($6.9 trillion over five years)

Notes: REVISED ESTIMATE. This a revised estimate based on the latest version of Sanders’ Medicare for All plan.

Law Enforcement & Homeland Security:

Community Policing: “We’ve got to move toward community policing. … [W]e have got to make our police departments look like the communities they serve in their diversity.”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

            Notes: It is unclear what Sanders would propose to achieve these goals.

Investigate All Police Shootings Where Victim Is in Police Custody: “There is a responsibility for the U.S. Justice Department to get involved. Whenever anybody in this country is killed while in police custody, it should automatically trigger a U.S. attorney general's investigation.”

            Cost per Year: Indeterminate

            Notes: A cost estimate is indeterminate.

 

Research and Analysis by:

Demian S. Brady, Director of Research

 

NTUF is the research affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit taxpayer advocacy group founded in 1969.

National Taxpayers Union Foundation
25 Massachusetts Ave NW Suite 140 Washington, DC 20001
703.683.5700
ntuf@ntu.org


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