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Study: Santorum, Gingrich plans would greatly expand US debt



Published: Fri, February 24, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

photo

Republican presidential candidates former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, left, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stand together for the national anthem before the start of a Republican presidential debate Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Massive tax cuts proposed by GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would cause the national debt to explode, while Mitt Romney’s budget plan could generate red ink in line with current projections, according to a new study released Thursday.

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington-based budget- watchdog group, estimates that the wrenching budget cuts proposed by Ron Paul would lessen the flow of red ink compared with current policies but still leave the government running a sizable deficit.

The candidates’ budget plans provide a sharp contrast with President Barack Obama, who released his latest fiscal blueprint just last week. Like Obama, the GOP candidates have the luxury of suspending political reality and assuming lawmakers would enact their ideas into law quickly.

That translates into a tax code in which taxes on investments and capital gains are reduced sharply or eliminated. Each candidate would eliminate inheritance taxes on large estates. And tax rates on individuals would be cut as well — all in the face of deficits that economists say eventually would cripple the economy.

The results, according to the study, would be higher deficits, except in the case of Paul, whose spending cuts dwarf anything being considered by his three rivals.

According to the study, Gingrich’s plan would add $7 trillion to the nation’s debt over the coming nine years — almost doubling the deficits that would be recorded if the government basically ran on autopilot. Santorum’s plan would add $4.5 trillion over the period, or about $500 billion to the deficit every year on average.

By contrast, Romney’s proposal would add $250 billion to the deficit over nine years, though that estimate was generated before he unveiled a new tax-reform plan this week that could add considerably to the deficit.


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