Senator Ted Cruz made a surprise move with an early pick of former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as his running mate. She is well-known for her passionate speeches, but how does she compliment Cruz’s policy agenda? Since August of 2015, with the first round of candidate debates, NTUF has tracked the cost of the policy proposals made by the Republican presidential contenders included in the top-tier or main stage events.
By NTUF's current tally, Cruz has advocated nearly $170 billion in net spending increases. The largest part of his platform is to boost defense spending from 2.9 percent to 4 percent of GDP – its price tag would be $263 billion per year. Excluding this item, his proposals would reduce outlays by $93.5 billion per year. In addition, he has backed 13 reforms whose net costs could not be determined due to lack of specificity.
Defense: While Fiorina has not specified a top-line budget level as Cruz has, she set targets to increase the number of Army brigades, Marine battalions, and Navy ships. These would have a combined cost of $43 billion per year.
Tax Reform: Of the remaining candidates, Cruz has the most extensive plan, vowing to eliminate the IRS and replace it with a smaller, less intrusive tax-collecting agency. He would simplify the Code from seven brackets down to one flat tax with an exclusion for low-income earners. In the November 10th debate, Fiorina advocated for something like what is known as the Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax plan, to scale back the Code to three pages (it currently contains over 2.4 million words).
Size of Government: While Fiorina called to “cut this government down to size” without getting specific, Cruz has named a number of departments, agencies, and programs that he would seek to downsize or eliminate. And they both support repealing “Obamacare.”
The 17 policies Fiorina has outlined would reduce federal spending by $42.3 billion per year:
- 2 spending decreases, including repeal of the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) to save $94 billion annually, and criminal justice sentencing reform (savings of $75 million per year)
- 5 total proposals to increase outlays by a total of $51.8 billion:
- re-establishment of high risk pool grants to replace the ACA ($7.96 billion per year)
- expansion of the military ($43.1 billion)
- establishing missile defense stations in Poland ($780 million).
- 10 proposals whose cost could not be determined:
- reform of regulations and taxes
- zero-based budgeting (which would increase reporting requirements across the federal government)
- a vow to “cut this government down to size”
- aid for the Kurds and for Jordan
- defense department reform for possible savings
- increased funding military technology and upgrading the nuclear triad
- caring for veterans.