US Debt to Rise Under Leadership of Top Republican Presidential Candidates

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A non-partisan federal budget watchdog organization, U.S. Budget Watch, has issued a report this morning on the national debt should the policies espoused by four Republican presidential candidates be implemented. The report offers debt projections in 2021 under three different scenarios: a low-debt scenario that considers top-line percentage cuts proposed by the candidates and is the most generous to each; an intermediate-debt scenario that considers non-specific cuts to parts of the federal budget; and a high-debt scenario — the harshest view of the candidates’ proposals — that considers only specific reductions arising from proposed policy changes.

Only Congressman Ron Paul’s proposals show a debt decline under the intermediate-debt scenario. Under a low-debt scenario, all but Newt Gingrich offer debt reductions. Under the high-debt scenario, none of the four manages to reduce the national debt. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are the two other candidates whose policy proposals were scored.

Gingrich is the biggest spender, with a debt increase of $7 trillion under the intermediate-debt scenario. He is followed by Santorum, who’s proposals would add $4.5 trillion to the national debt. Romney’s policies would add a relatively paltry $250 billion, and Paul’s would cut $2.2 trillion.

Because most of the policy proposals do not include specific cuts to specific programs, the high-debt scenario is perhaps the most revealing. Under that scenario, Gingrich’s policies would add $9.65 trillion to the national debt, Santorum’s would add $5.3 trillion, Romney’s would add $2.15 trillion, and Paul’s would add $1.85 trillion.

The report is available here.