A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Making Ends Meet


Sen. Barack Obama has said several times that he has proposed cuts that pay for “every dime” of his spending proposals, a claim we’ve called “misleading.” The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s analysis, for one, found that “without substantial cuts in government spending” Obama’s plan – and McCain’s, too – “would substantially increase the national debt over the next ten years.”

Obama repeated his claim in his half-hour commercial that aired Wednesday night on major networks and cable television, saying, “I’ve offered spending cuts above and beyond” the cost of his proposals.

We still don’t buy it. And neither does CBS News, which debunked the claim using its own calculations on what the Democratic candidate has put forth. As reporter Wyatt Andrews says: “He seems blind to the concept his numbers don’t add up.”

CBS News estimates Obama’s first-year spending could be more than $280 billion, and it finds his spending cuts leave him $90 billion short. Andrews says the Obama campaign disputes that estimate, claiming that over 10 years, everything is paid for.

But CBS News isn’t the only one doubting Obama’s accounting. Andrews points out that under health care, for example, independent studies have found Obama’s plan isn’t paid for. According to a Lewin Group study, Obama’s plan has a $1.2 trillion deficit, while McCain’s also comes up short — leaving $2 trillion not covered.

Andrews also questions Obama’s claim that his health care plan would reduce families’ premiums by up to $2,500 a year. Months ago, we also called that “wishful thinking.”

Read – or watch – CBS News’ full “reality check” for more.