Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

So Cain has said he would balance the budget in his first year as President.  He has also promised not to cut Medicare or Social Security in the first year.  He also suggested that he would prefer to keep more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than President Obama would prefer.  So let us make the generous assumption that Cain’s 9-9-9 plan will be revenue neutral.  Let us also work from the 2013 spending baseline of the Ryan Budget (which already included 94 billion in spending cuts.)  So here is what it would look like in billions:

Security Spending                                                  686

War On Terror                                                            93  

Non-Security                                                           435

Medicaid                                                                    275

Medicare                                                                   601

Social Security                                                      799

Other Mandatory                                                 372

Interest on the Debt                                           319 

Total Spending                                                   3.558 trillion dollars  

Deficit for 2013 under the Ryan budget      698  billion

So Cain has promised not to touch the 1.4 trillion dollars in Social Security and Medicare spending.  His foreign policy views make it unlikely that there will be substantial decreases  in the 93 billion dollar War On Terror funding number (there might be increases, but hey, let’s be generous.)  Cain presumably does not want to default so we have to pay the 319 billion in interest payments.  The CBO estimates military pensions and veterans benefits at 120 billion for 2013.  Who thinks it is just to cut that?  That means 1.932 trillion of the 3.558 trillion dollar budget is off the table in the first year.  That leaves  1.626 trillion dollars worth of spending from which Cain would have to cut 698 billion. That would have to come out of security spending (which includes the Pentagon and border security), non-security spending (the Justice Department and Transportation Department among others.)  All in one year.  This is making all kinds of generous assumptions about Cain’s budget.  I’ve double counted the 43 billion dollar Earned Income Tax Credit as both revenue under 9-9-9 and as a spending program that could be cut even though the money that would have gone into the tax credit are being taxed by the government in order to keep the tax program revenue neutral.  I’m assuming that the 90 billion dollars budgeted for federal civilian employee pensions are on the table for elimination.

More on: Politics

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles