What Does Mitt Romney Hate Retired Americans and the Disabled
Mitt Romney’s proposals to cap total federal spending, boost defense spending, cut taxes, and balance the budget would require extraordinarily large cuts in other programs, both entitlements and discretionary programs, according to our revised analysis based on new information and updated projections.
For the most part, Governor Romney has not outlined cuts in specific programs. But if policymakers exempted Social Security from the cuts, as Romney has suggested, and cut Medicare, Medicaid, and all other entitlement and discretionary programs by the same percentage — to meet Romney’s spending cap, defense spending target, and balanced budget requirement — then non-defense programs other than Social Security would have to be cut 29 percent in 2016 and 59 percent in 2022 (see Figure 1). Without the balanced budget requirement, the cuts would be smaller but still massive, reaching 40 percent in 2022.
The cuts that would be required under the Romney budget proposals in programs such as veterans’ disability compensation, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for poor elderly and disabled individuals, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and child nutrition programs would move millions of households below the poverty line or drive them deeper into poverty. The cuts in Medicare and Medicaid would make health insurance unaffordable (or unavailable) to tens of millions of people. The cuts in non-defense discretionary programs — a spending category that covers a wide variety of public services such as elementary and secondary education, law enforcement, veterans’ health care, environmental protection, and biomedical research — would come on top of the deep cuts in this part of the budget that are already in law due to the discretionary funding caps established in last year’s Budget Control Act (BCA).
Box 1: The Romney Tax Cuts and Our Estimates
Governor Romney has said he would offset an unspecified portion of his proposed tax cuts by reducing tax exemptions, deductions, and other preferences known as “tax expenditures.” Because of Romney’s spending cap (which covers interest payments along with other spending) and his balanced budget requirement, the depth of his required budget cuts depends on the degree to which the cost of his tax cuts would be offset through reductions in tax expenditures. In this analysis, we assume that Governor Romney would offset half of his proposed tax cuts, though we also provide estimates under alternate assumptions. This is a generous assumption: estimates from the Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center indicate that the Romney tax cuts would cost about $4.9 trillion over ten years. Securing tax-expenditure savings equal to half that amount — about $2.4 trillion — would be extremely difficult, especially since Governor Romney has said he would not increase the low tax rate on capital gains and dividend income and would not cut heavily into tax expenditures for the middle class. Analysts at the Congressional Research Service recently concluded that securing savings of more than $100 or $150 billion a year from tax expenditures is likely to be difficult to achieve.
As explained below, our estimates of the depth of spending cuts that the Romney proposals would require are broadly consistent with what Governor Romney himself has said about the magnitude of his spending reductions. These updated estimates are based on new information and proposals from the governor, updated budget and economic projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), modifications in our own assumptions about “current policy” to match those that CBO and other budget analysts use, and other relevant factors.
Governor Romney’s cuts would be substantially deeper than those required under the austere House-passed budget plan authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Over the 2014-2022 period, Romney would require cuts in programs other than Social Security and defense of $7 trillion to $10 trillion, compared with a little over $5 trillion under the Ryan budget. By 2022, Romney’s cuts would shrink non-defense discretionary spending — which, over the past 50 years, has averaged 3.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and has not fallen below 3.2 percent — to between 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent of GDP.
The Romney Budget Proposals
During his campaign, Governor Romney has made four proposals that would significantly affect the overall level of federal spending, taxes, and the deficit:
Cap total spending: "Reduce federal spending to 20 percent of GDP by the end of my first term" and "cap it at that level."
Increase defense spending: "Set a core defense spending floor of 4 percent of GDP." "Core defense spending," as Governor Romney defines it, encompasses 93 percent of the national defense budget function.
Cut taxes: Continue current tax policy by permanently extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and other tax cuts that are scheduled to expire, further reduce income tax rates by another 20 percent (the top tax rate thus would be 28 percent), eliminate the estate tax, eliminate the taxation of investment tax for people other than those with high incomes, reduce the corporate income tax, and repeal the taxes enacted in the 2010 health reform legislation.
Balance the budget: "I am planning on getting a balanced budget."
This paper examines the combined effect of these four proposals, since they interact, to determine the amount of spending that would be available for programs other than core defense.
because it has been generally such a well run program Medicare costs have risen much slower and lower than private insurance costs. Mitt Romney's plans would accelerate medicare costs to exceed those of private insurance - imagine seniors having to pay 29% to 59% more out of their pocket.
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