McCain’s Budget Would Create Largest Deficit In 25 Years, Largest Debt Since WWII

Sen. John McCain promises that, as president, he would “cut taxes and balance the budget.” But his current economic plan would create deficits as deep as 5.7% of GDP by the end of a two term presidency — the highest federal budget deficit in 25 years — and would accumulate the biggest debt since the second World War, according to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. McCain’s current fiscal plan would recklessly exacerbate the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration further by gutting revenues far below the average level of the past 25 years.

For the past 25 years, deficits have never been more severe than 5% of GDP, with surpluses as high as 2.4% of GDP in the year 2000. Under McCain, yearly deficits would increase sharply, beginning with $505 billion in FY2009 (3.4% of GDP) and skyrocket to $1.2 trillion (5.7% of GDP) by FY2017. In 2018 these deficits would reach 6% of GDP, tied with the largest deficits since WW2 in 1983. Current Bush policies would keep the deficit in 2017 to $660 billion (3.1% of GDP).

According to the study, McCain’s economic plan, (which includes a corporate tax cut, a full repeal of the AMT, and an extension of the Bush tax cuts) would leave a debt of $12.7 trillion (the highest since 1951 when America was still holding debt from WW2) by the last budget of a two term presidency starting in 2009 (FY2017). This debt is $3.5 trillion more severe than the one resulting from an extension of current Bush policy, which would leave a debt of $9.2 trillion (43% of projected GDP).

McCain would slash government revenues, which have averaged 18.3% of GDP for the past 25 years, to their lowest levels since before 1962. Revenues would average only 16.3 percent of GDP for the duration of his two terms. Under current Bush policy, revenues would remain above 18 percent of GDP.


This analysis currently incorporates the most generous possible savings McCain has offered thus far: an $18 billion cut of wasteful earmarks and a $15 billion “freeze” in wasteful spending, with the savings grown at the rate of GDP growth over his presidency. These “savings,” which come no where near paying for his reckless tax cuts, already include “heavy cuts in after-school pro­grams, student aid, public broadcasting, and job training.” To fill the gaping remaining hole, McCain supporters have suggested policies that would lead to “massive cuts” in Social Security.

Read the full report.