A Washington Post review of the major spending proposals of the leading Democratic presidential candidates found 10-year costs ranging from about $4 trillion to more than $50 trillion. The annual federal budget now is about $4.5 trillion.
Even the most sparse of the 2020 plans dwarfs what successful Democrats pushed before. As she seized the Democratic nomination in 2016, Hillary Clinton proposed a 10-year agenda estimated at $1.45 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
The rapidly rising price tags and expansive reach of the current plans has led to charges of socialism from Republicans. But in recent weeks, more-moderate Democrats have been the most vocal critics of their liberal colleagues’ spending plans.
“On issue after issue, we’ve got to break out of the Washington mind-set that measures the bigness of an idea by how many trillions of dollars it adds to the budget or the boldness of an idea by how many fellow Americans it can antagonize,” South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said during the Democratic presidential debate this month in Los Angeles.