Would Any of the 2016 Presidential Hopefuls Actually Cut Government?

There is no more important question for candidates to answer than this: What are you willing to cut?


Keiko Hiromi/Polaris/Newscom

Almost nobody likes to talk about cutting government during election season. Campaigns are a time to promise more—more spending! more tax cuts! more services!—not less. But in this early stage of the 2016 campaign, Reason seeks to keep everyone's eyes on the prize of reducing the size and scope of government.

At a time when our budgets are wildly unbalanced, when the national debt is at $18 trillion and growing, when debt service is poised to zoom past military spending during the next administration, and when baby boomer entitlements threaten to soak up half of government expenditures, there is no more important question to answer than this: What, at long last, are you willing to cut? So here's our guide to the candidates' and potential candidates' records on cutting government spending, especially during their terms in office but also in their policy positioning.