According to an “intermediate debt scenario,” the budget proposals of Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney would all lead to much higher debt a decade from now than the proposals in the 2013 Obama budget. Ron Paul would do better, roughly matching Mr. Obama. But if you look at the details, it turns out that Mr. Paul is assuming trillions of dollars in unspecified and implausible spending cuts. So, in the end, he’s really a spendthrift, too.
Is there any way to make the G.O.P. proposals seem fiscally responsible? Well, no — not unless you believe in magic. Sure enough, voodoo economics is making a big comeback, with Mr. Romney, in particular, asserting that his tax cuts wouldn’t actually explode the deficit because they would promote faster economic growth and this would raise revenue. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
That's Paul Krugman after he examined the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget's study of candidates' policy proposals. Once again, Republicans are saying one thing while doing the opposite. Perhaps the worst is Romney whose proposals, according to the Tax Policy Center, "would actually raise taxes on the poorest 20 percent of Americans, while imposing drastic cuts in programs like Medicaid that provide a safety net for the less fortunate."
But the richest 1 percent would receive large tax cuts — and the richest 0.1 percent would do even better, with the average member of this elite group paying $1.1 million a year less in taxes than he or she would if the high-end Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
Greece? Yes. Elect one of these guys and you turn America into Greece.
It's not as though Krugman is the lone voice in the wilderness, or some mad man out to "get" Republicans. There's an awful lot of agreement about Republican economic policies and Greece is mentioned more than once.
Politicians of all stripes and in almost all countries claim to be “fiscally responsible.” You always need to strip away the rhetoric and look at exactly what they are proposing.
The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget does this for the Republican presidential contenders. I recommend making the comparison using what the committee calls its “high debt” method. This is the toughest and most realistic of its projections – again, a good and fair rule of thumb to use for assessing politicians everywhere.
Under this situation, Newt Gingrich’s proposals would increase net federal government debt held by the private sector to close to 130 percent of gross domestic product by 2021, from around 75 percent of G.D.P. this year.
This would put us close to Greek levels (before that country’s recently proposed debt restructuring). ...Simon Johnson, Economix
And that's not all. With wry humor, Johnson writes: "Mitt Romney’s and Ron Paul’s fiscal plans would elevate our debt levels merely to Italian levels (around 95 to 100 percent of G.D.P.), while Rick Santorum would prefer to end up more like Japan (above Italy but below Greece)."
The Washington Post allows that Romney's plans are a shade more responsible than Santorum's, but that's not saying much...
... Last week Mr. Romney upped the tax-cutting ante, promising, in addition to the previous grab bag of tax goodies, a 20 percent across-the-board cut in marginal rates and repeal of the alternative minimum tax. The Tax Policy Center estimated that the 20 percent rate cut would cost about $150 billion in 2015 alone. The Romney campaign said that the rate change wouldn’t add to the deficit because it would generate unspecified economic growth and be accompanied by spending cuts and elimination or cutbacks of deductions. Okay, which ones? On that question, the campaign was decidedly unspecific — understandably so, because its math doesn’t add up. Until he is more specific about what sacred cows he would tackle — employer-sponsored health care? — Mr. Romney’s plan cannot be taken as a fiscally responsible proposal. ...WaPo
Rick Santorum? Who would pay the price for his tax cuts? Business writer Floyd Norris looks at the specifics of Santorum's proposals:
He would reduce almost everyone’s taxes. He would slash tax rates for all, his campaign Web site promises, while preserving “deductions for charitable giving, home mortgage interest, health care, retirement savings and children.”
He would cut capital gains and dividend tax rates to 12 percent, from 15 percent, and triple the personal deduction for each child. He would repeal the alternative minimum tax. He would cut the corporate tax rate in half, increase the research and development tax credit and set the rate at zero for manufacturers. He would eliminate the estate tax, or the “death tax” in his lexicon. He would eliminate “marriage tax penalties throughout the federal tax code.”
The Tax Policy Center in Washington estimated that in one year, 2015, that set of proposals would reduce federal tax revenue by 40 percent, or $1.3 trillion, from what it would be under current law, which assumes the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. But the center estimated that not everyone would pay lower taxes under that proposal. It estimated that 0.3 percent of taxpayers — most of them earning less than $30,000 — would face tax increases.
And who would be the losers?
Mostly single mothers, it appears. ...Floyd Norris, NYT
Santorum seems to have a peculiar relationship with women...
While Republican presidential candidates are campaigning against President Barack Obama's deficit-laden budgets, a new report concludes that three of the four contenders' fiscal proposals would likely increase the federal debt. ...WSJ