11.30.12 6:00 PM ET
Republican Proposals to Avert the Fiscal Cliff
Before I get too far ahead of myself snapping at the GOP, let's acknowledge that there is indeed a credible plan from the right. National Review's Dan Foster has the details:
First, the bad news: There’s roughly a trillion in new revenue in Corker’s plan. About $250 billion comes from reforming the way Social Security benefits are calculated. The other $750 billion comes from a $50,000 cap on itemized deductions, which would increase the tax bills of some Americans — most of them higher earners. There’s some bad news on the spending side, too: It counts scheduled cuts from the debt-limit deal and war spending that wasn’t going to happen anyway in its $3.528 trillion in cuts.
But it also contains real meat, including $400 billion in belt-tightening in the federal work force (expanding the current hiring freeze and reining in federal-employee benefits) and, most significantly, more than $700 billion in savings obtained from full-spectrum entitlement reform: enrollment-age increases, tighter growth formulae, means-testing, and a strong, market-driven alternative to fee-for-service Medicare that alone is expected to save $290 billion over ten years.
Any of this sound familiar? As I put it in the Corner, it looks like Romney’s tax plan made flesh and dwelling among us. But, as Ross Douthat pointed out, that’s not exactly right, since Romney’s tax plan also came with across-the-board 20 percent rate cuts. So it’s probably more accurate to say Corker’s plan is Romney’s plan made flesh with more plausible math and greater respect for political constraints.