All four Republican candidates decry the federal deficit and promise to cut spending.
But will they cut the debt?
A new, nonpartisan study found that three of the four Republican presidential hopefuls would actually add to the federal debt over the next decade.
The one true fiscal conservative in the lot: Ron Paul.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a watchdog organization that focuses on issues having a significant fiscal policy impact, found that the Texas congressman was the only candidate whose plan would eliminate the nation’s record deficits and shrink the national debt.
A recent study determined Ron Paul to be the only Republican candidate with a plan that would decrease the federal deficit. The study analyzed each candidate’s budget and tax plans through three economic lenses — an optimistic low-debt scenario, an intermediate-debt scenario, and a pessimistic high-debt scenario. At the intermediate level, the results project that Paul’s proposed tax policies and cost-cutting policies would add $5.6 trillion to the debt over the next nine years, but his spending policies would decrease the debt by $7.5 trillion. With this, interest on the debt would be lower by $300 billion, adding up to an overall decrease of $2.2 trillion
In other words, Paul would cut government spending even more than he would cut taxes, resulting in a lower deficit.
Currently, the federal debt held by the public is about 70 percent of the economy. (Historically, the debt has averaged below 40 percent). The committee’s realistic baseline projects the debt will rise to 85 percent by 2021. Paul’s plan would put the deficit 9 percent lower, while the other candidates would add to it.
In a low-debt scenario, Paul would be one of three candidates to decrease the federal debt. Compared to the baseline, Paul would decrease it by 18 percent, Rick Santorum by 11 percent and Mitt Romney by 9 percent. In a high-debt scenario, all candidates would add to the deficit, but Ron Paul by the least, at 8 percent.
The study found that, across the board, Newt Gingrich’s plan would increase the federal deficit by the greatest percentage.
Some aspects of Romney’s new tax plan, released Feb. 22, were not factored into the study, as details have yet to be announced.