Money has always been one of the most controversial political issues. The federal budget has become even more debate-worthy as the American economy suffers and the deficit grows. Democratic views on the federal budget include trying to return to a more disciplined budget structure, similar to the structure that existed in the 1990s. They encourage and support tight budget caps and rules that require the government to pay for new initiatives. They believe that these initiatives can eliminate publicly held debt within 12 years of implementation. They dislike the larger budget cuts often proposed by Republicans, opting for smaller cuts, which they believe to be more beneficial to the economy as a whole. Democrats also believe that Republican budget systems directly counteract those of the Democrats, and cause debt, while Democrats work to relieve debt.
Democrats on Budget Discipline
Democrats believe in restoring the budget structure that existed in the 1990s, stating, “we believe in balanced budgets and paying down our national debt, while Republicans continue to put huge burdens on future generations by borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign nations. We want to restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.” This disciplined budget, according to Democrats, must be built upon a tax structure that taxes the upper class more heavily and the lower and middle classes less. Democratic plans to cut the deficit include a strategy to “restore commonsense budget rules that this Administration has abandoned, like “Pay-As-You-Go” rules that require the government to pay for new initiatives. We will commit to living within tough budget caps-real and enforceable limits on what the government can spend. We are committed to cutting the deficit in half over the next four years.” Democrats had plans to eliminate publicly held debt by 2012 as of 2000. The 2000 Democratic Party platform stated, “because of the Clinton-Gore Administration, a debt-free America is within reach. This would free businesses to invest and innovate, it would provide an ever more sturdy foundation for future economic growth, and it would create good jobs. That’s why Al Gore is determined to completely eliminate the publicly-held national debt by the year 2012.”
Democrats Vs. Republicans on the Federal Budget
Not only is the budget an issue of high contention, but Democrats believe that the opposing viewpoint is causing active damage to the American economy. They heavily criticized the large budget cuts proposed by Republicans in 2012. In America the Beautiful, Ben Carson pointed out just how drastically the two parties’ plans differed, and how important it is for them to reach an agreement, stating, “The Republicans, driven by the new members of the Tea Party, wanted to cut $61 billion from the budget, while the Democrats were willing to cut only about 1/6 of that amount. Both Democrats and Republicans have strayed so far from the path of responsible financial policy that the concept of balancing the budget is foreign to them. I believe many of them simply cannot grasp the concept of only spending what you have. I do understand that making budgetary cuts will be painful, but it will not be nearly as painful as going bankrupt!”
Democrats see the Bush-Quayle administration as directly responsible for the economic stagnation of the late 1990s and early 2000s. They do not see the dispute over budgetary issues as one of opinion, but one of right and wrong, stating, “Under Bush-Quayle, the economy was floundering. Bill Clinton and Al Gore were elected to turn it around. They knew the private sector is the engine of economic growth, but they also knew that government can make a difference. After a generation of stagnation, America has the lowest unemployment and fastest economic growth in more than 30 years. We have the lowest inflation rate in decades. More Americans own their home than ever before.”
Democrats also hold Republicans directly responsible for the debt of this era, stating “Republicans talked about fiscal discipline while they quadrupled the debt. In 1992, Democrats promised to cut the deficit in half in four years. America has gone from the biggest deficits in history to the biggest surpluses in history. We must not go back. In 12 years of rule, Republicans quadrupled the national debt.”
Hillary Clinton on the Federal Budget
Hillary Clinton, like the Democratic Party as a whole, puts a great deal of stock in fiscal responsibility. She believes that the key to balancing the budget and eliminating debt is to create stricter budget caps and structures in place. Also like her party, she believes that the policies of the 1990s are the essence of what the country needs today, stating, “Well, fiscal responsibility is a very high priority for me. We don’t have to go back very far in our history, in fact just to the 1990s, to see what happens when we do have a fiscally responsible budget that does use rules of discipline to make sure that we’re not cutting taxes or spending more than we can afford. I will institute those very same approaches. You can’t do it in a year. It’ll take time. But the economy will grow again when we start acting fiscally responsible. And then we can save money in the government by cutting out private contractors, closing loopholes, getting the health care system to be more efficient. We’ll do all of this at the same time, but the results will take awhile for us to actually see.” She also believes in keeping tax cuts small at first, to only make cuts that the country can afford.
However, Clinton also has a lot of plans for new spending in her budget proposals. Her job proposals would cost at least $350 billion over a decade. She has plans for increased governmental support of child care which would cost $200 billion or more over ten years, as well as a plan to subsidizing home care for the elderly which would cost $10 billion over ten years. She also plans to decrease college tuition, another $350 billion. Clinton states that these changes would be fully funded by increased taxes on the rich and businesses, but many economists argue that that won’t be enough, and that the middle class would also be touched by the tax increases that such spending would demand.
- Democratic Party on Budget & Economy – On The Issues
- Hillary Clinton on Budget & Economy – On The Issues
- Clinton’s Grandiose Spending Proposals – National Review
- Republican Views on the Federal Budget
- Democratic Views On Spending
- Democratic Views on The Economy
- Democratic Views on Defense Spending
- Democratic Views On Military Spending
- Democratic Views on Foreign Aid
- Democratic Views On Taxes
- Republican Views on Social Security
- Republican Views on Military Spending
- Democratic Views on Small Business