Press Release: How The Democratic Presidential Candidates Would Fund America’s Future


January 30, 2020

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How The Democratic Presidential Candidates Would Fund America’s Future


WASHINGTON— Just days before the crucial Iowa caucuses on Monday, February 3rd, the Progressive Policy Institute’s Center for Funding America’s Future has released a comprehensive new analysis of the top four candidates’ campaign proposals and how they would finance their agendas.


“If a Democrat beats Donald Trump in November, he or she will inherit a federal budget that under-invests in America’s future while running trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see,” said PPI’s Director of the Center for Funding America’s Future, Ben Ritz. “PPI’s analysis shows which of the leading Democratic candidates have given voters a credible agenda for enacting progressive change and which are selling fiscal fantasies.”


  • This report is (to our knowledge) the first comprehensive, apples-to-apples comparison of all the proposals leading candidates have offered during the 2020 campaign.
  • PPI’s analysis not only looks at how candidates would pay for their new spending proposals but also what proportion of these proposals are dedicated to public investments that lay the foundation for long-term economic growth.
  • As Democrats begin selecting their party’s nominee for president with the Iowa caucuses on Monday, voters deserve to know what policies each candidate prioritizes and how they would finance their agendas.


  • Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed over $51 trillion of new spending over the next 10 years, more than $25 trillion of which he has offered no plans to pay for – a gap that’s greater than the value of all goods and services produced by the U.S. economy each year.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed increasing spending by $8.3 trillion more than she’s proposed raising in revenue – a gap that will be difficult to close without breaking her commitment not to raise taxes on the middle class given the number of taxes on high-income people she has already embraced.
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg has proposed almost $200 billion more in offsets than he has in new spending, making him the only candidate PPI examined to have already offered a complete plan for funding the entirety of his agenda.
  • Vice President Joe Biden commits more than half of his new spending proposals to public investments in infrastructure, education, and scientific research – the highest proportion of any candidate PPI analyzed.

Ritz lauded two of the candidates examined in the report saying, “Biden and Buttigieg should be commended, not just for limiting deficits, but also for making investments in education, infrastructure, and scientific research a priority in their spending plans. These critical public investments are the foundation for long-term economic growth and have been neglected by policymakers in Washington for far too long.”

“PPI’s examination of the candidates’ spending plans show that Sens. Sanders and Warren are in a category of their own when it comes to expansive government. In particular, Sanders’ gigantic, $50 trillion spending surge makes Franklin Roosevelt look like Calvin Coolidge,” said PPI President Will Marshall.

All four leading Democratic candidates for president would offer a dramatic departure from the Trump administration’s agenda of cutting taxes for the rich, slashing public investment, and undermining health-care coverage for millions of Americans.

Please click here to read the full report before the upcoming Iowa caucuses.

A column summarizing the analysis can be found here on


The Progressive Policy Institute is a catalyst for policy innovation and political reform based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to create radically pragmatic ideas for moving America beyond ideological and partisan deadlock.

Founded in 1989, PPI started as the intellectual home of the New Democrats and earned a reputation as President Bill Clinton’s “idea mill.” Many of its mold-breaking ideas have been translated into public policy and law and have influenced international efforts to modernize progressive politics.

Today, PPI is developing fresh proposals for stimulating U.S. economic innovation and growth; equipping all Americans with the skills and assets that social mobility in the knowledge economy requires; modernizing an overly bureaucratic and centralized public sector; and defending liberal democracy in a dangerous world.

Contact: or 202-525-3931

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