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Romney Budget Cuts 'Substantially' Deeper than Ryan's

Guest Columnist | , George E. Curry | 8/23/2012, 4:27 p.m.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been carefully trying to put some distance between him and running mate Paul Ryan's radical budget proposal but he has a major problem - his plan would make even deeper cuts than the Ryan plan.

A careful analysis of Romney's plan by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) observed: "Governor Mitt Romney's proposals to cap total federal spending, boost defense spending, cut taxes, and balance the budget would require extraordinarily large cuts in other programs, both entitlements and discretionary programs.

"For the most part, Governor Romney has not outlined cuts in specific programs. But if policymakers exempted Social Security from the cuts, as Romney has suggested, and cut Medicare, Medicaid, and all other entitlement and discretionary programs by the same percentage - to meet Romney's spending cap, defense spending target, and balanced budget requirement - then non-defense programs other than Social Security would have to be cut 29 percent in 2016 and 59 percent in 2022."

That would shred the social net that Romney claims to support.

As I wrote in this space last week, another Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report stated, "Combined, the Bush and Ryan tax cuts would provide an annual windfall of nearly $400,000 apiece, on average, to people with incomes over $1 million. By combining large budget cuts (and tax increases) that disproportionately harm lower-income Americans with big tax cuts that disproportionately help those at the top of the income scale, the Ryan budget would significantly worsen inequality and increase poverty and hardship (and reduce opportunity as well, through deep cuts in programs such as Pell Grants to help low-income students afford college)."

And Romney's budget proposal is worse than that.

In an interview with CNN on Feb. 1, Romney said: "I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich; they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."

Rather than fixing the safety net for the poor, Romney's budget proposal would rip it into pieces.

A May 21 updated analysis by CBPP revealed, "The cuts that would be required under the Romney budget proposals in programs such as veterans' disability compensation, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for poor elderly and disabled individuals, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and child nutrition programs would move millions of households below the poverty line or drive them deeper into poverty.

"The cuts in Medicare and Medicaid would make health insurance unaffordable (or unavailable) to tens of millions of people. The cuts in non-defense discretionary programs - a spending category that covers a wide variety of public services such as elementary and secondary education, law enforcement, veterans' health care, environmental protection, and biomedical research - would come on top of the deep cuts in this part of the budget that are already in law due to the discretionary funding caps established in last year's Budget Control Act (BCA)."