Today, during an interview with Neil Cavuto, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) economic adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer claimed that McCain will balance the budget “by the end of the first term,” and that she’s “not even sure real cuts would ever be required.” Watch it:
A Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis calculated that McCain’s plan, complete with its doubling of Bush’s tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, will create a budget deficit of $505 billion in 2009. McCain has claimed that he will balance the budget by eliminating earmarks and cutting $160 billion in discretionary spending.
However, “eliminating every congressional earmark in the federal budget would save an estimated $18 billion a year,” or about 4% of the federal deficit, and McCain can’t explain where the rest of his cuts would come from. George Stephanopolous pointed out that in order to cut the $160 billion he cites, McCain “would have to cut 30% from every single program, including education and veterans benefits.”
As the Wonk Room has noted, McCain could cut ten cabinet agencies and still not balance the budget, and his own estimates require a 30% cut in every federal program. Thus, its hard to imagine how he could balance the budget with no “real cuts” at all.