Candidates look at future budget
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Bill Radke: Tonight’s the third and final presidential debate. We’re used to candidates promising all sorts of help for the middle class. But with record deficits, costly bailouts and a possible recession, are these candidates over-promising? John Dimsdale takes a look.
John Dimsdale: In the first debate, Senators McCain and Obama were asked how the financial bailout will affect their ambitious campaign promises. John McCain had an idea:
Senator John McCain: How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veterans’ affairs and entitlement programs.
Debate host: Spending freeze?
McCain: I think we ought to seriously consider.
Barack Obama would only agree that a “range” of things may have to be delayed:
Senator Barack Obama: The economy is slowing down so it’s hard to anticipate what the budget’s going to look like next year.
According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, each candidate’s spending promises would add $200 billion to already record deficits every year. And this week, both campaigns called for another $50 [billion] to $60 billion to jumpstart the sputtering economy.
The Committee’s president Maya MacGuineas says that extra stimulus might be necessary.
Maya MacGuineas: It’s not the time to say we need to roll up our sleeves and balance the budget right away.
Because, MacGuineas says, we face a real economic challenge. But in the long run, she says the candidates will have to find places to save money.
In Washington I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.
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