Ted Cruz's Presidential Agenda Costs: A Snapshot

September 16, 2015
Demian Brady
Ted Cruz

As in previous Presidential races, NTU Foundation is determining the costs of the candidates' platforms. We do so by scouring their campaign websites, debate transcripts, and key speeches looking for statements specifying what policies they would implement as President.

So far in this campaign season, we have provided a number of resources for taxpayers to see the numbers behind the talk, including an analysis of the policies discussed in the first Republican debate of the season, the numbers behind Donald Trump's immigration and border security reforms, and the potential costs of Hillary Clinton's and Bernie Sanders’ education proposals.

Now we turn our attention to Senator Ted Cruz's Presidential agenda. His campaign website features several pages regarding his record over four broad areas including support for Constitutional rights and safeguards, and how he "has fought tirelessly to defend our nation’s servicemen and women, to restore America’s leadership in the world, and to secure our border and streamline our legal immigration system." All of these statements are written in the past-tense, about what he has done.

To find some statements regarding policies he would advocate as President, we reviewed his recent book, and there are also some key issues that he frequently addresses in his speeches. We identified six proposals that could impact spending, including one large spending cut, three spending increases, and two others that could potentially lead to savings but whose net effects are currently indeterminant.

"[Repeal] Obamacare."

Cruz, Ted. A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. New York: Broadside Books, 2015.

Cost: -$95.4 billion per year (-$477 billion over five years) Savings

Notes: A June 2015 CBO analysis of repealing the law showed that direct spending would be reduced by $477 billion over five years. There are potentially additional unreported discretionary savings.


"[Rein] in abusive regulations."

Cruz, Ted. A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. New York: Broadside Books, 2015.

Cost: Indeterminate

Notes: H.R. 427 would prevent all major rules from taking effect unless subsequent legislation is enacted. Conditional, and CBO was unable to determine a cost estimate.


" … [Audit] the Federal Reserve … ."

Cruz, Ted. A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. New York: Broadside Books, 2015.

Cost: $1 million per year ($5 million over five years)

Notes: In 2014, the Congressional Budget Office  (CBO) estimated that legislation to audit the Federal Reserve would "increase discretionary spending by $5 million over the 2015-2019 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. That cost would cover the full-time and part-time [Government Accountability Office] employees plus administrative expenses necessary to prepare the audit required by the bill as well as future oversight and analysis that CBO expects would result from the enactment of the bill."


"The best tax reform? A simple flat tax, that is fair to everyone. So that everyone can fill out their taxes on a postcard. And, critically, so we can abolish the IRS."

Cruz, Ted. A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. New York: Broadside Books, 2015.

Cost: Indeterminate

Notes: The IRS’s FY 2016 funding is $12 billion, including $2.2 billion for taxpayer services, $4.9 billion for enforcement, and $3.7 billion for operations support. A simpler, flatter Tax Code would lead to administrative savings. In an interview with The Examiner in April, Cruz said he would shift the tracking and collection of federal taxes to "some much smaller division" of the Treasury Department. He also said, "We will roll it out with precise details in the coming weeks or months. There are trade-offs to be had and we're right now internally having those debates, in terms of whether you have a couple of deductions or exemptions or not, at what rate the flat rate is set, what level of standard deductions and so those trade-offs we're currently debating."

Without additional details, the level of funding necessary to administer Senator Cruz’s reformed Tax Code is indeterminate.


"It is, however, the job of the military to protect our nation, and we need to rebuild and modernize our armed forces to do so."

Cruz, Ted. A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America. New York: Broadside Books, 2015.

Cost: $74.547 billion per year ($149.094 billion over two years)

Notes: Although Senator Cruz has not specified what budgetary resources this proposal would entail, he has supported related legislation. This March, he voted in favor of Amendment 423 to the budget resolution. The Amendment would have increased defense outlays for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 over 2015 levels by a total of $149.094 billion.


" … [I]magine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders."

Transcript of Cruz’s speech announcing his presidential bid.

Cost: $3.7 billion per year ($18.4 billion over five years)

Notes: Related legislation has been introduced in the form of S. 744 (113th Congress), the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The bill would streamline and overhaul costs for the immigration system and increase border security and infrastructure. Using the CBO estimate, NTUF found that the bill would allocate additional funding for border-related administrative costs, double the number of Border Patrol agents (including their benefits, training, and forgiveness of student loans), and adjust fees and penalties that would offset some spending. The border security provisions of S. 744 would total $18.4 billion over the first five years. This figure does not include the immigration-related spending in the bill.

Demian Brady

Director of Research

Demian Brady is the Director of Research for the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. His responsibilities include producing commentaries and studies on fiscal issues, as well as managing NTUF's BillTally program (which tracks the impact of legislation on the size of the federal budget), State of the Union analysis, and more. Demian's research has been cited in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Times. In addition, he has written on a number of budget-related issues for both NTU and NTUF. Mr. Brady resided and worked in Columbus, Ohio before moving to Washington, DC in 1998. He earned an M.A. in Political Science from American University. He received a B.A. in Russian Area Studies from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. 

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