Mitt Romney, despite professing the belief that his economic plan “can’t be scored,” still insists he will be able to balance the federal budget while cutting taxes 20 percent across the board. The Associated Press today noted that Romney’s tax plan, combined with his insistence on increasing the Pentagon budget, means that he would have to cut more than 20 percent out of discretionary spending programs in order to achieve his goals:
At issue are these programs, just to name a few: health research; NASA; transportation; homeland security; education; food inspection; housing and heating subsidies for the poor; food aid for pregnant women; the FBI; grants to local governments; national parks; and veterans’ health care.
Romney promises to immediately cut them by 5 percent. But they would have to be cut more than 20 percent to meet his overall budget goals, assuming veterans’ health care is exempted. It’s almost unthinkable that lawmakers would go along with cuts of such magnitude for air traffic control and food inspection or to agencies like NASA, the FBI, Border Patrol and the Centers for Disease Control.
“It’s just not sustainable,” said GOP lobbyist Jim Dyer. “What do you want to do with the national parks? Which ones do you want to close?”
So Romney’s plan would lavish tax breaks on the richest Americans and increase already sky-high defense spending, while gutting some of the core functions of government: public safety, education, and infrastructure. As the Economic Policy Institute noted, the current level of domestic discretionary spending — which is comprised of the programs listed above, among many others — “is 4 percent of GDP, about equal to the historical average since the early 1960s.” Last week, Romeney orchestrated an event with some “real Americans,” who told him it might be necessary to raise their taxes, rather than cut priorities like education.