Tax and spending proposals under a microscope, seeing nothing but red
February 24th, 2012
04:35 PM ET
3 years ago

Tax and spending proposals under a microscope, seeing nothing but red

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich's tax and budget plans would add $7 trillion to the U.S. debt over the rest of this decade, should he become president and get everything he wants from Congress. Rick Santorum would not fare much better.

Ron Paul's plans, on the other hand, would slowly reduce deficits, based on his idea of ending a host of government agencies, including doing away with the Federal Reserve.

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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: CNN's Candy Crowley and Bob Costantini fill-up the tank with the hottest political topics going into the weekend. Gingrich ups his rhetoric. Plus, the Republican budget plans under a microscope, seeing nothing but red.

Mitt Romney's tax-cut and spending proposals, before being updated this week, would keep the deficit on the course it is now.

Those bottom lines come from a study by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan think tank. Its prominent membership includes former Reps. Vic Fazio and Bill Frenzel, the latter having served as a congressman from Minnesota.

Fazio, who represented a district in California for 20 years, was at times a member of the House Budget and Appropriations Committees.

The study examined candidates' proposals and forecast moderate growth for the rest of the decade. Fazio told CNN Radio the idea of tax cuts paying for themselves is illusory. Couple that with spending cuts the candidates love to push, and he sees a need to reveal the truth about "some of the policies [GOP contenders] prescribe, almost always in glowing terms, because there are implications for the deficits that seem to be ignored in these campaign debates."

No chance of a balanced budget, as far as the eye can see. In fact, considering the explosive growth of entitlement spending as baby boomers age, the goal of the study was to see if any candidate could come close "to a level where debts are reduced and deficits are sustainable." That means deficits not growing at a faster rate than the economy, a prospect that seems far-fetched, almost quaint.

Romney put forth a new idea this week of reducing all income tax rates by 20%. He quickly added that to avoid adding to the deficits, he would phase out some exemptions, deductions and credits for wealthier Americans.

Fazio calls it "more harmful to deficit reduction, but perhaps more helpful for him politically."

President Barack Obama's own budget, unveiled earlier this month, showed limited deficit reduction, based largely on expiring tax cuts for the wealthy, and corporate tax reforms that would close loopholes, deductions and breaks. It does not tackle entitlement reform in any sweeping way. Fazio considers each proposal "an opening bid" in negotiations for serious deficit reductions down the road.

On Capitol Hill, Fazio predicted nothing but squirming in the future.

No matter which party wins the White House this fall, "[t]here will be many debt-limit extensions required of many Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle," Fazio predicted.


Filed under: 2012 • Debt
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans have added $12 trillion to our debt, and Newt, Rick and Mittens want to add more so the wealthy can get bigger tax breaks.

    February 24, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Two days in a row with the same story CNN???? And you haven't even updated it with the disaster Obama will bring us. COME ON! At least PRETEND you're a news site!!

    February 24, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Blindersoff

    GOP . . . nothing going on with that party of "No" more of the same and casting false blame. Why would any one vote for these republican clowns. What happened to the "Grand Ole Party"? (As I lower my head and move it from left to right) I am embarrass for you guys.

    February 24, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. John

    Ron Paul's plans, on the other hand, would slowly reduce deficits, based on his idea of ending a host of government agencies, including doing away with the Federal Reserve.

    The only one who will reduce the deficit and he gets a whole paragraph in your article. So, in your opinion, we can choose between Mitt, Newt, Rick, and Obummer. Outstanding choices all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am not feeling too well.

    February 24, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. diridi

    Iraq War, Trickle Down theory....only way to get out is Raise tax and cut defense spending...true.
    Nationalize Oil companies....period.

    February 24, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    GOP economy plan is brow money give to rich

    Then they will defend Bush tax cut didn’t add to deficit

    February 24, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    All of the Republican proposals are revenue bandits, promoting higher deficits punching our national debt even higher, even faster. Once they implement their cuts, then they will claim there is too much spending on this and that. When the real problem is cutting revenue BEFORE they cut spending.

    February 24, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Nothing new here

    Newt and Santorum are BIG government spenders.
    They are NOT fiscal conservatives, not by a longshot. And Santorum will use the taxpayers $$$$ to establish a new Vatican City in the U.S.
    NOT going to happen.

    February 24, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. @OmegaRaiel

    LOL. Nationalize the oil companies. Money could be saved, but that'd be socialist.

    February 24, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Biggge

    Maybe it is CNN fault for reporting these facts

    February 24, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. tor5

    Didn’t we try this before? Looks like the most important policy positions of Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich are big tax cuts for the rich and staring a war with Iran. As I recall, this policy combo tends to end in catastrophe for the US economy. Have we learned nothing?

    February 24, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    If debt and the economy are on the minds of voters when they walk up to the ballot box in November, Obama loses.
    He knows that. We all know that. Expect to see him continue to try and steer the election away from the debt and the economy.

    February 24, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    When the Republicans get 25 million people back to WORK and paying taxes, instead of GETTING money from the government, as is the Obama plan, the country will NOT have these trillion dollar deficits. Giving people over 2 YEARS of unemployment only encouraged too many to stay unemployed and collecting. I witnessed it first hand.

    Four more years of Obama and the country will NOT be able to come back. He's just about sucked all of the life out of it now. We'll be seeing the street riots we now see in Greece. But that is usually how leftists do things, first they destroy what was there.

    February 24, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. ge

    newt,s contract on the middle class with reagan trickle down -most of america,s problems started with reagan

    February 24, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    It's some slight improvement that the media is taking the time to actually question the ridiculous claims candidates make about cutting the deficit and cutting taxes at the same time. This is an old scam the GOBP deathcult has been running on gullible voters for years. Sadly for them, there are far fewer gullible voters this time around. What remains sad, though, is that CNN minimizes the fact that President Obama's plans actually DO reduce the deficit.

    February 24, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. Ron

    Look guys, here's how the scam works. Politicians need money to run for office. The best source of money is you and me, a.k.a. the taxpayer. All you need to pull off the scam is a SCOTUS that rules that companies can spend as much money as they would like on political adds/campaigns. Then, the politicians give our money to their favorite business in subsidies and tax breaks/loopholes. In exchange companies (who are people too according to Willard and the SCOTUS) spend millions of our dollars (subsidies) on political adds/campaigns. The mafia couldn't come up with a better scam for laundering money! Our congress, president, and SCOTUS are ripping us off every day. for example, do you really think big oil needs our measley $4B in subsidies??? When they make $137B in profits??? Get serious my friends. They are all crooks!!!

    February 24, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Larry L

    @John

    Ron Paul's plans, on the other hand, would slowly reduce deficits, based on his idea of ending a host of government agencies, including doing away with the Federal Reserve.

    The only one who will reduce the deficit and he gets a whole paragraph in your article. So, in your opinion, we can choose between Mitt, Newt, Rick, and Obummer. Outstanding choices all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am not feeling too well.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Ron Paul offers overly simplistic solutions to very complex problems. In an era of co-dependent economies and emerging manufacturing giants like India and China, isolationism is absolutely not the solution. We must remain at the table with a powerful federal capability to trade, acquire energy, protect our environment, and conduct military operations at every level directly related to national defense. His tired old Libertarian sound bites might have worked in the 1950s – but anarchy and a fragmented federal government would be disasterous in today's environment. President Obama is artfully leading us toward these goals in spite of Republican efforts to obstruct. Their entire platform is designed for right-wing radicals and corporate fat-cats.

    February 24, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. Jilli

    Problem with Ron Paul's plan is that, if implemented, the US would look more like Somalia than the United States.

    Please lord, let this primary season end...I've heard enough from all these clowns to last me a lifetime.

    February 24, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  19. poopmeister

    Truth and nothing but the truth always has some anti-Obama thing to say but this time it's all about the numbers and all he can reference to is that CNN ran the same article twice? Get a clue truth, your party will destroy our way of life! Do you need a handy graph to understand the numbers? Obama's policies, if enacted, will cut the deficit by about a trillion in a half and all of the republican candidates numbers, if elected, will average about a 5 trillion dollar deficit (varies depending on candidate).

    February 24, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. koolman

    Awwwww truth doesn't like facts! Something he never sees on his beloved fox republican tv awwww

    February 24, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Henry Miller

    "Ron Paul's plans, on the other hand, would slowly reduce deficits...

    As I've been saying for a long time, there's just one sensible choice for President: Ron Paul. He's not perfect, but he's the best option we've got at the moment.

    February 25, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  22. J.V.Hodgson

    "Tax cuts paying for themselves is illusory" is to me a key finding of this bi partisan committee. You are consistently unfair in the coverage of Ron Paul and that has been especially true in debates.
    It has been clear for a long time and not sufficiently pursued with these candidates how viable thier policy ideas are and who are basically just allowed without question or real debate to bang away at thier ideology with the ever present end line of thats why Obama got eveything wrong and my ideas work better without even a whimp of explanation how or why.
    It is also Key to note that all the 4 except Paul have a negative debt result based on thier policies.
    Thanks CNN for giving that debt evaluation data, its something I have blogged for consistently over many prior weeks.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 25, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  23. joe smith

    where does john corzine fit into this picture..the left wing news media sure has given this guy a pass..why..$1.3 billion not enough to get excited about..maybe goldman has their fingers in the pie again, just the names were changed??

    February 25, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  24. The Greedy Old PIgs declared class war on US!

    "And you haven't even updated it with the disaster Obama will bring us."

    Can you even read? President Obama's plan is the only one besides Paul's plan that reduces the deficit. The Three Stooges, on the other hand, are serving up the usual GOBP propaganda manure about tax cuts that are proven failures and will make the deficit worse.

    February 25, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  25. The Greedy Old PIgs declared class war on US!

    "The only one who will reduce the deficit and he gets a whole paragraph in your article. So, in your opinion, we can choose between Mitt, Newt, Rick, and Obummer."

    Can you even read? Paul's plan is not the only one that reduces the deficit; President Obama's plan does that as well. The Three Stooges, on the other hand, are serving up the usual GOBP propaganda manure about tax cuts that are proven failures and will make the deficit worse.

    February 25, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |