2. How do you get to those goals?
To reduce deficits, both candidates are going to have to make some cuts or raise somebodyâ€™s taxes. So, where would they cut or who would pay more in taxes?
Romneyâ€™s position is clear: No new taxes. Heâ€™s a signee of a pledge to never raise taxes and raised his hand at a Republican primary debate when asked if he would reject a debt reduction proposal with $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in higher revenue.
But he has not come anywhere near outlining where he would find $4 trillion in spending cuts.The largest annual cuts he has promised revolve around cutting back on the federal workforce ($47 billion in lower federal worker pay, for example) among a host of smaller measures, such as privatizing Amtrak ($1.6 billion), cutting arts subsidies ($600 million), and reducing foreign aid ($100 million).
He says he will repeal the presidentâ€™s health-care reform law, which the CBO estimates will actually add $84 billion to the deficit during the next decade. His largest cuts come from a host of reductions from gauzy concepts such as reducing fraud, waste, and abuse ($60 billion) and allowing states to innovate with federal block-granted funds (over $100 billion).
Obamaâ€™s plan, roundly rejected by the GOP, calls for roughly 30 percent of long-term deficit reduction to come from higher taxes and the balance from lower government spending. He aims to achieve $1.5 trillion in higher revenues, largely from more taxes on the wealthy. (See next item.)
The presidentâ€™s budget claims a ratio of $2.50 of cuts for every $1 in new revenues by counting the already-passed $1 trillion in deficit reduction from the Budget Control Act of 2011 â€“ the deal that allowed the US to raise its debt ceiling in exchange for comparable spending cuts â€“ as part of his reductions. In other words, he doesn't get to his own deficit-reduction targets, even assuming that the BCA is respected by future lawmakers.