Yesterday, Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) released a plan for “12 Simple Ways to Cut Spending,” a companion piece to his bonanza of tax cuts for the rich and corporations that was released earlier this month. “I don’t think there’s anyone out there that, with a straight face, could argue that there aren’t places to reduce federal spending,” Rubio said.
As ThinkProgress Ben Armbruster pointed out, “the plan contains many ideas that would do very little in terms of paying down the debt and reducing the deficit,” along with a few budget gimmicks such as allowing taxpayers to specifically allocate some of their taxes to paying down the debt. Rubio also calls for ending the stimulus to reduce the deficit, which means that he would rescind the stimulus’ tax benefits for the lower- and middle-class.
But the plan also includes one other provision proving, once again, that Rubio is fundamentally disinterested in actually reducing the deficit. He proposes instituting a supermajority requirement for Congress to approve tax increases:
– IDEA #7: Require Any New Federal Taxes Only Be Approved By A Two-Thirds Vote Of The House And Senate...This will ensure that the balanced budget amendment achieves its’ goal via spending cuts, not tax increases.
Of course, responsibly addressing the budget deficit means looking at both the spending side and the revenue side. As Michael Linden pointed out, “balancing the budget without raising any additional revenue 10 years from now would require cutting every program in the entire budget by more than 25 percent, including all defense spending, Social Security and Medicare benefits, air-traffic-control funding, veterans’ benefits, aid to schools, job training programs, agriculture subsidies, highway maintenance, and everything else.”
And for an example of what imposing a supermajority requirement does to the ability to budget, Rubio need look no further than California, where Proposition 13’s supermajority requirement has significantly contributed to the fiscal train wreck. As Harold Meyerson pointed out, despite California’s budget woes, the Republican minority “has refused in good times as well as bad to raise business or other taxes (increasing the tobacco tax, for instance, has failed each of the past 14 times it has come up for a vote).” The Golden State’s wealthiest 1 percent “pays just 7.4 percent of their income to the state, while the poorest Californians pay 10.2 percent.”
As former Reagan economic official Bruce Bartlett wrote, “every serious budget analyst — I mean every — knows that revenues must be part of the solution to our deficit problem…[T]he idea that we can or even should embark on serious deficit reduction with no tax increase whatsoever is grossly immature and unworthy of consideration.” And that basically sums up Rubio’s entire economic platform.