Bill Weld on Budget & Economy

Libertarian Party nominee for Vice President; former Republican Massachusetts Governor


Balance the Federal budget as states do

The amount of extra debt being run up in Washington is completely crazy. The Administration is spending a trillion dollars a year more than it takes in. And they call themselves conservatives! That's a trillion dollars of debt for our children and grandchildren to pay off. That's not fair, to put it mildly, to members of the X-generation or to millennials. None of the States do this. Most States require by their Constitution that the Governor's budget be balanced.
Source: Speech in New Hampshire by 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 15, 2019

Top priority: zero-based budgeting; cut spending; cut taxes

We need the opposite of socialism. In the federal budget, the two most important tasks are to cut spending and to cut taxes--and spending comes first. We need to "zero base" the federal budget, basing each appropriation on outcomes actually achieved, not on last year's appropriation plus 5 per cent, which is what too many folks in Washington use as a starting point. It is actually possible to cut spending year over year.
Source: Speech in New Hampshire by 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 15, 2019

Cut 20% waste in every federal agency

Q: Your plan is to reduce the federal budget 20% across all departments. Where will you cut?

WELD: I personally have never seen a layer of government that I didn't think had 10% or 20% waste in it, and the federal government is no exception to that. So our opening position will be to look for 20% that we could reduce the size of the federal government.

Source: CNN Libertarian Town Hall: joint interview of Johnson & Weld , Jun 22, 2016

I was one of the most fiscally conservative governors

Weld, for his part, took a somewhat more nuanced tone toward the Libertarians' rivals: "Someone doesn't have to be disaffected with Ms. Clinton to think that we have a good story," Weld said. "One doesn't have to be Never Trump to see that we were two of the most fiscally conservative governors in the United States."
Source: CNN 2016 interviews: Veepstakes/vice-presidential hopefuls , May 30, 2016

Abolish wasteful programs and support balanced budgets

Defining himself as a fiscal conservative, Weld castigated Kerry's entrenched liberal policies. "You've been there 12 years and you've voted three times to kill the balanced budget," the governor said to Kerry.

In contrast, Weld frequently cited his impressive record of fiscal management as Governor. "The truth is that we have abolished wasteful programs," Weld said.

Source: Harvard Crimson on Kerry/Weld debates , Jul 4, 1996

Balanced budget in downturn after boom decade of spending

During the economic boom of the mid-1980s, as the economy surged, so did tax revenues--and state spending. By the time the downturn came in 1987, deficit spending reached unprecedented levels.

The new governor's first priority was to stop the trauma, and he did so. He forced the 1991 budget he'd inherited from Dukakis into balance, in part by requiring state workers to take unpaid "furloughs," in part by cutting state aid to cities and towns--but mostly by landing an unexpected windfall: a $531 million federal reimbursement for Medicaid expenses. However it was done, it was done: the 1991 fiscal year ended in the black. For fiscal 1992, Weld actually budgeted less money than the year before.

In July 1992, Weld's first full budget cycle came to an end. Total spending had indeed decreased from 1991. Not by much--only 1.7% (about $200 million)--but it was the clearest sign imaginable that the budget meltdown had been confronted and reversed.

Source: Jeff Jacoby in City Journal , Jan 1, 1996

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Page last updated: Jun 04, 2019