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Deficit reduction chicanery

Posted by Richard on November 11, 2010

The "bipartisan" deficit-reduction commission has released its preliminary plan, and as many suspected, it spares government profligacy and sticks it to the taxpayers. Rush Limbaugh noted that the 50-page report uses the word "tax" 62 times. Americans for Tax Reform said, "The plan ignores every suggestion submitted by ATR President Grover Norquist to the Commission that would have balanced the budget without raising taxes. In fact, the Commission Co-Chairs refuse to acknowledge the role overspending has played in the economic climate, setting spending at the exorbitant FY2010 levels."

Not so, said commission member and Sen. Judd Gregg (RINO-NH): 

Sen. Gregg said that overall, federal spending takes a bigger hit in the plan than taxpayers do. The plan's goal is to reduce federal spending and federal revenues to 21% of gross domestic product. Federal revenues currently are projected to be about 19% of GDP in 2015, and outlays about 23%.

It would seek to achieve the pullbacks through a mix of spending cuts and increasing tax revenues—about 75% in spending reductions and about 25% from the tax side.

So it's 75% spending cuts and 25% tax increases? Three times as much in spending cuts as in tax increases? Really? Mind you, I'm not a math whiz like my friend David, who can do calculations in his head that would take me an hour with a calculator and a textbook. But something seems way off with Sen. Gregg's math.

He says the plan will cut spending from 23% of GDP to 21% of GDP. OK, according to the Commerce Dept., GDP is about $14.7 trillion now, so let's just use that number and get out the calculator.

23% − 21% = 2%
2% × $14730.2 billion = $294.604 billion

So the plan cuts spending by about $295 billion (plus 2% of whatever GDP increase there is). Now lets crunch the revenue increase, where they want to go from 19% to 21% (BTW, in the 70+ years of OMB data, revenues have never been as high as 21% of GDP).

21% − 19% of GDP = 2%
2% × $14730.2 billion = $294.604 billion

Hmm, that number looks familiar… Why, it's the same number by which their plan cuts spending! So, taxes go up about $295 billion, and revenues go up about $295 billion (adjusted upward, in both cases, for GDP growth) — yet, somehow, according to Sen. Gregg, the plan is 75% spending cuts and 25% tax increases! How is that possible? Have they magically discovered vast new sources of revenue that don't involve taxing people?

Of course not. This is the statist scam of counting it as a "spending cut" when they reduce your mortgage interest deduction, charitable deductions, and other so-called "loopholes." Just like the 9th Circuit Court in Wynn v. Garriott, the statists on the commission believe that all your income belongs to the government. So a tax deduction or credit is an "expenditure," and reducing or eliminating a tax deduction or credit — that is, letting you keep less of your money — is a "spending cut."

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