We’ve heard the refrain time and time and time again, our deficits have to come down, we can no longer sustain this sort of spending or this scope of government. We’ll to those who seem to think that somehow replacing the Obama administration with a Republican one will somehow, as if by magic make a real difference in deficit levels, need to come to another realization as well. Its not just Barack Obama who has a problem with the nature of the deficit, so do his opponents. Consider this from veteran political reporters Michael Cooper and David Kocieniewski who wrote, “Higher Deficits Seen in Romney’s Tax Plan, and His Rivals’, Too”; http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/us/politics/romneys-tax-bill-and-gop-deficit-problems.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
 
What these two political analysts pointed out was: “When Mitt Romney suggested this week that he pays a lower tax rate than most wealthy Americans do, he refocused attention on his tax proposals — which, like those of his major Republican rivals, would largely cut taxes for the rich while driving down tax collections and widening the nation’s deficit. Mr. Romney’s tax plan — which calls for permanently extending the Bush administration’s tax cuts, reducing the corporate income tax rate and eliminating the estate tax — would cut the taxes of people earning more than a million dollars a year by an average of $295,874, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group. Since Mr. Romney would also allow some of President Obama’s tax cuts to expire, his plan would effectively raise taxes on some people earning less than $40,000 a year. The Romney tax plan would add to the deficit by reducing federal revenues by $600 billion in 2015, a 16 percent cut, the center found.”
 
“Some of Mr. Romney’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination are proposing tax cuts that would widen the deficit even more — which was the point that Mr. Romney was trying to make on Tuesday in South Carolina when he renewed attention to his personal wealth by noting that his effective tax rate is “probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything…By reducing the amount the federal government collects in taxes each year — at a time when federal tax collections are already a smaller share of the economy than they have been in more than half a century — the Republican tax plans will make it harder to balance the budget, said Robert L. Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonprofit group that advocates fiscal responsibility…If the first thing you do is lower revenues by that much by extending all of those tax cuts, then you have a much bigger hole to dig out of to get back to a balanced budget,” he said in an interview. “The hole they’re digging, to mix metaphors, is a self-inflicted wound…The Tax Policy Center has calculated that by extending the Bush tax cuts, Mr. Romney’s tax plan would add $1.2 trillion to the deficit in just two years. The tax plans offered by Mr. Gingrich and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania would add more than that to the deficit in just one year, the center found.”
 
Does any of this seem like a blast from the past? You bet it does, its “starve the beast” in a new wrapper. The only problem is that none of those who are left who actually have a chance at winning the Republican nomination has a realistic plan to reform entitlements to the point that that spending can come into line with with the rate of revenues that government would be taking in if their plans were put into effect. Yes, they all make the right noises about entitlement spending but they also are fully aware of the fact that the vast majority of Americans want entitlements left alone, they just want to fix the funding stream. American’s want entitlement reform that ensures that those entitlements remain intact there is no support for gutting the entitlement system or its widespread privatization. Thus if your hoping beyond hope to replace Barack Obama with what’s left of the G.O.P. field for 2012 and you think that that’s going to lead to lower deficits, you’re basically fooling yourself and caught up in a lot of wishful thinking. Here is a link to supporting information from the Tax Policy Center:http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/19/us/politics/details-of-the-candidates-tax-plans.html?ref=politics
 
Steven J. Gulitti
 
2/4/12