Each Republican candidate says he cares about the deficit. And each candidate's plan raises the deficit. Are they all bad at math, or do they just not care enough to do it right?
The four remaining GOP candidates have a simple and straightforward plan for the direction of our federal debt. Up. Way up.
That's the conclusion from a new report comparing the tax-and-spending plans from Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum, from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Today, public debt is equal to about 70% of our economy. If Congress allowed current law to play itself out, the Bush tax cuts would expire and that number would fall to about 60%, according to various estimates. That's pretty stable. But nobody wants the "current law" scenario to play out. Not Congress, not the Senate, not the White House, and certainly not the Republican field. So we need another plan. Problem is, most of the other plans don't get us anywhere near stability. In fact, the GOP plans would raise our debt burden to anywhere between 67% and a whopping 126% of the economy by 2021, according to CRFB.
This graph compares the moderate estimates for each candidates' debt plan against the president's. This is all smart guesswork, mind you, but it offers a nonpartisan view of the sort of "deficit reduction" we're really getting under these proposals. This Y-axis starts at 60, which is the target debt/GDP ratio for CRFB.