A Guide to the Presidential Candidates’ Proposals to Cut Spending

Over at Downsizing the Federal Government, Chris Edwards and I have regularly complained that most policymakers have been insufficiently specific when it comes to identifying spending cuts. With the Republican primaries about to get underway, it’s a good time to see what the current crop of presidential aspirants has to offer.

There are multiple ways to skin this cat, but I decided to put together a comparison table based solely on the content found on each candidate’s campaign website. I did not consider past statements or votes, the televised debates, or outside sources (unless linked to by a campaign’s website). The idea is that statements on each candidate’s website should offer the clearest indication of their intentions should they become president.

Ron Paul is the only candidate who actually produced a proposed federal budget. Therefore, I started with his template and added additional agencies/programs cited on the websites of the other candidates. Again, the idea is to show specifically what the candidates are proposing to cut. Thus, proposed spending reforms such as a Balanced Budget Amendment or a spending cap are not included.

There is a degree of subjectivity in putting this together, but I tried to be fair and consistent. It is for informational purposes only (i.e., it should not be construed as an endorsement of any candidate(s)). Finally, it is possible that proposals were missed, but that could be a reflection of a website’s accessibility to pertinent information.


Washington’s Road Sign Mandate Hits Localities

Writes Michael Rozeff: In nearby Orchard Park, NY, the Highway Superintendent informs the Town Board of the national road sign mandate — “This is another state mandate, unfunded.” The U.S. passes mandates for the states, and the states pass mandates for the local governments. Local factors of cost and benefit should determine the numbers of signs, their…


One of Reagan’s Greatest Acts on Behalf of American Freedom

It seems that every year, conservatives and Republicans go further in their admiration of President Reagan. Surely he is held up as some kind of paragon of proper governance, and many nostalgically look to his reign as some kind of high point in the executive branch’s devotion to American liberty.

There is one area where I do think Reagan was more clearly on the side of freedom than many of his contemporaries and, in particular, the presidents who have followed him. There is one issue—an important issue—where much of the nation and the Republican Party has strayed from a devotion to liberty where we can trace the decline as happening since the era of Reagan. That issue is immigration, on which Reagan would not only be seen as a liberal today, but more radical than virtually any Democrat running for major office. It was 25 years ago that Reagan signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act—also known, including by Reagan himself, as “immigration amnesty.”

Back then “amnesty” was not a dirty word. The Gipper was proud to call for legalizing the illegal aliens who, due to unjust immigration laws, were technically in violation of the law but were no kind of actual criminal other than this. Yet today even taking a moderate position pushes one outside of the Republican mainstream. People who do not advocate “amnesty” are smeared for doing so. This is a tragedy for freedom and also bad politics for the Republican Party, argues Alex Nowrasteh.