The Republican National Committee has developed a cute but effective graphic showing the expansion of federal spending that will result in the adoption of Barack Obama’s agenda. Called the Spendometer, it highlights what the Republicans hope will provide an effective argument for John McCain and his call for more discipline in federal spending. It also shows that the GOP has started focusing on Obama as a likely competitor in the general election:
If Obama Could Enact All Of His Campaign Proposals, Taxpayers Would Be Faced With Financing Over $850 Billion In New Spending Over One White House Term:
Obama’s Health Care Plan Will Cost Up To $65 Billion A Year; Equal To $260 Billion Over Four Years. “[Obama] campaign officials estimated that the net cost of the plan to the federal government would be $50 billion to $65 billion a year, when fully phased in, and said the revenues from rolling back the tax cuts were enough to cover it.” (Robin Toner and Patrick Healy, “Obama Calls For Wider And Less Costly Health Care Coverage,” The New York Times, 5/30/07)
Obama’s Energy Plan Will Cost $150 Billion Over 10 Years, Equal To $15 Billion Annually And $60 Billion Over Four Years. “Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid.” (Obama For America, “The Blueprint For Change,” www.barackobama.com, Accessed 1/14/08, p. 25)
The site details quotes from news coverage of Obama’s speeches and from agenda points on his website. It calculates the total four-year cost of Obama’s pledges for federal programs over the course of his campaign. The RNC estimates that the added spending would come to $850 billion in that period of time.
At CPAC, I noted that the National Taxpayers Union had done a similar analysis, only couched in per-year spending rather than a four-year cumulative total. They show that Obama would spend even more than the RNC credits, with $287 billion more per year, or almost a 10% increase in current federal spending. He far outstripped Hillary’s $218 billion — and John McCain’s agenda will only cost taxpayers $7 billion more than current spending.
McCain can own fiscal discipline in the general election, and it’s one reason Obama can’t afford to debate specific policy, almost literally.