Wednesday night's debate between Incumbent Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney was definitely lop sided in Romney's favor. His presentation and poise and ability to attack and appear firm and resolved looked good on camera. Obama looked like a little boy being scolded, which is how he often appears when he doesn't have his beloved teleprompter. However the numbers each chose to throw out concerning the national budget deficit were less than to be enthusiastic about.
Both men claim that their plans would cut spending and bring the federal budget into balance which is just ridiculous. Anyone who understands how the budget works will recognize that is just smoke and mirrors on both sides. For an explanation of that see my article on how the politicians work their magic to deceive us into thinking that there are real cuts when there are none at all. In fact, it doesn't even begin to address the real debt America has that is in the hundreds of trillions of dollars.
Before I go further, just let that sink in for a bit. Now if you can't visualize that amount of money, I've put together a visual aid to help you picture just how much money we are talking about. Take a look.
The independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report demonstrates that both candidates proposed plans actually increase the $1 trillion deficits that the federal government is expected to run next year.
President Obama criticized Governor Romney's tax proposal, charging that he would increase deficits through a “$5 trillion tax cut” and a $2 trillion increase in military spending. “It's math,” Obama charged, echoing the words of former President Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. “It's arithmetic.”
But the math applied by Obama was based on Romney's proposed cumulative tax cuts and military spending increases over the next 10 years. The 10-year figures are deliberately exaggerated figures since much of the money involved would be in the final few years of the 10-year period, when Romney wouldn't even be eligible to serve as president even if elected to two terms. Romney countered that “I'm not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I've said is I would not put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit.” Romney outlined five goals he'd seek if elected as president, the fourth of which is to “get us to a balanced budget.”
Despite Obama's deceptive exaggerations, Romney's proposals would not only fail to get the federal government to a balanced budget, it would increase the federal deficit immensely. Romney has failed to propose spending cuts that would match his substantial tax cut proposal (which includes cutting income tax rates 20 percent across the board) and proposed increases in military spending (some $200 billion in 2016 alone).
But not to fret, because Obama's math doesn't exactly add up either. Once again, Obama put the blame on someone else. "When I walked into the Oval Office, I had more than a trillion dollar deficit greeting me," he said. "And we know where it came from: Two wars that were paid for on a credit card. Two tax cuts that were not paid for and a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for and a massive economic crisis.”
Barack Obama has overseen deficit spending of over $1 trillion each year he has been in office and it will continue into 2013 as well. He has overseen this with a Democrat led Congress, as well as, a Republican led Congress and since Congress is the one that has authority via the Constitution to deal with spending, it is ultimately responsible for what gets spent.
The same CBO report demonstrates what I just wrote and that is the continued deficit spending will continue no matter who is elected.
While Obama said that he had put forward a very specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, his math doesn't add up either. In fact, even with the enormous taxes of Obamacare, the deficit would still increase by an additional $3.5 billion. It would not cut anything, but would increase by $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
The Obama campaign ad said Romney would increase the deficit by trillions while Obama would cut the deficit by $4 trillion. Obama's deficit reduction plan is much more specific than Romney's, but for a sitting president, that's expected.
Still, independent analysts say that Romney's plan is so vague that it's difficult to know how his plan will impact the federal budget. What are missing are the politically sensitive details on which programs he would cut and which tax breaks he would reduce. What we do know indicates his plan could drive up deficits, potentially a great deal.
The Obama plan offers enough details to estimate its impact with more accuracy. Independent analysts estimate savings of about $2.4 trillion over ten years due solely to his proposal. Obama’s plan on its own does not produce the full $4 trillion. Plus, estimates over 10 years are always uncertain and some analysts caution that achieving the $4 trillion goal by itself does less to solve the deficit problem than the president suggests.
The point is that neither man has a plan to balance the budget. Both men's plans so far demonstrate that they will continue deficit spending and yet the American people are constantly told that both Romney and Obama can fix this "fiscal cliff." The reality is that neither man has put up a detour sign to the fiscal cliff. Both are still pressing forward in that direction and putting on the brakes won't stop the country from going off the fiscal cliff, it will just cause it to do so in slow motion.
UPDATE: Ben Swann took a swing at the deficit numbers presented by both candidates and look at what he found out: