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Udall’s promises cost ten times Schaffer’s

Posted by Richard on October 30, 2008

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation (research arm of the National Taxpayers Union) compared the campaign platforms of the U.S. Senate candidates in Colorado, Nebraska, and New Mexico, and assessed the fiscal impact of their promises. In the Colorado race, Mark Udall's promises are far more expensive than Bob Schaffer's:

In preparing the study, NTUF reviewed the candidates' campaign Web sites and news reports to find any proposals that would impact the federal budget. Cost estimates come from a variety of independent sources, including Congressional Budget Office reports and data from NTUF's BillTally cost-accounting system, which since 1991 has computed a net annual agenda for each Member of Congress based on their sponsorship of bills. Among the findings:

  • Udall has offered 54 proposals that would affect federal spending – 25 of which would increase annual outlays, three of which would decrease expenditures, and 26 of which have unquantifiable fiscal effects — for a net annual spending hike of $55.3 billion.
  • Schaffer has offered 41 budget-related items — nine of which would boost annual federal spending, three of which would cut it, and 29 of which have costs that could not be calculated – for a net annual spending hike of $5.8 billion.

In fact, of the six candidates in the three states analyzed, Mark Udall is by far the biggest spender. The runner-up, at $25 billion, is New Mexico Democratic candidate Tom Udall. Maybe it's something in the DNA.

The most frugal of the six is New Mexico Republican candidate Steve Pearce, with a net increase of only $345 million. 

I suspect that most of the estimates significantly understate the true cost. Many of the campaign promises have a fiscal impact judged "unquantifiable." I strongly suspect that "unquantifiable" is not "costless" — not by a long shot.

The analyses for all six (in PDF form) are linked on this summary page.

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