Seeking applause from a right-wing audience in Michigan, Mitt Romney vowed on Saturday: “I will cut spending, I will cap spending and I will finally balance the budget,” saying that he will end federal funding for all the usual Republican budgetary scapegoats — the Public Broadcasting System, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has said much the same thing many times in recent months, hoping to woo the Tea Party extremists who keep rejecting his candidacy.
But Romney must think these “conservatives” very stupid if he’s promising to balance the federal budget by eliminating nominal amounts spent on the nation’s cultural programs. And he must think they’re even dumber if they believe he can do that while delivering the massive tax cuts and defense increases he has also promised. As a former corporate investor and state governor he certainly knows that his numbers simply don’t work.
Or at least not in the foreseeable future, as the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget explained in a study of Romney’s latest tax plan. Rather than bringing the budget into balance, as he has repeatedly promised, that plan would substantially increase the national debt over the coming decade by reducing taxes on people like Romney himself – the wealthiest one percent. “Estimated roughly, ignoring interactions and microdynamic effects, we find that without offsets Governor Romney’s plan on the whole would increase the debt by about $2.6 trillion,” according to the nonpartisan committee. The roughness of that estimate was unavoidable because Romney’s plan leaves out most of the vital details – such as which tax loopholes he would close and which vital programs and entitlements he would cut. It is full of tax cuts pleasing to gullible Republican audiences, but not much else. … Read More