Romney’s fiscal fantasy plan: Political arithmetic is always suspect, and one should always examine carefully the claims of those seeking votes. Smart observers have learned to distinguish between the claims of political candidates and their advisers and proposals that have been evaluated by independent scorekeepers such as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
This principle was aptly illustrated by the “budget analysis” Mitt Romney’s chief economic adviser, Glenn Hubbard, recently put forward…. [Hubbard] does not discuss the actual Obama plan or how it has been evaluated by the CBO. Nor does Hubbard invest his credibility in defending the claims that Romney has made about his own fiscal plans. He simply states that “Yes, President Obama and Mitt Romney have budgets with competing visions. But Gov. Romney’s budget makes tough choices” — without delving into the specifics or trade-offs that Romney’s “tough choices” entail….
The independent CBO confirms that the Obama budget would stabilize the debt as a share of the economy — returning us to a tenable fiscal path. It would do that while allowing increased investments in education, research and infrastructure that are critical to stronger, shared economic growth…. Rather than criticize this approach, Hubbard ignores it — and instead chooses to invent assumptions that bear no relationship to the president’s actual policies. His figures are not explained, but they apparently arbitrarily assume that the president must raise taxes to pay for spending above a level of Hubbard’s choosing.
Rather than filling imaginary gaps in the president’s budget, which has been spelled out in sufficient detail to permit evaluation by independent experts, Hubbard should perhaps address some of the many gaps in Romney’s plans…