For the news media citing a lack of detail in Mitt Romney’s proposals, Gov. Chris Christie offers these instructions: be fair to the Republican presidential nominee and get tough on President Barack Obama for not providing the specifics behind his own promises.
During an interview Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press," host David Gregory noted how Romney has failed to enumerate which tax deductions he would eliminate, and asked Christie whether Romney would provide those details during Wednesday’s debate.
The New Jersey governor argued that the media should be "just as tough on the president" for failing to explain how he would reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion.
"He says he’s going to reduce the long-term debt and deficit by $4 trillion, doesn’t say how he’s going to do it," Christie, a Republican, told Gregory. "I mean, you know, let’s be fair here."
The governor repeated that claim later in the interview, saying Obama "puts out a nice two-minute ad that says he’s going to reduce the debt by four trillion, but never tells us how."
OK, governor, let’s be fair: you’re wrong to claim Obama has not outlined his deficit reduction plan.
In an 80-page report issued in September 2011 and again in the president’s budget proposal released in February, the Obama administration has laid out detailed proposals and dollar amounts for how to achieve more than $4 trillion in savings over the next decade.
The governor’s office did not respond to two e-mails seeking comment.
Let’s explain some of those details.
Obama’s deficit reduction plan relies on a mix of tax reductions for some, tax hikes for others and spending cuts.
A large part of the savings would come from roughly $1.5 trillion worth of tax reform measures. For instance, the plan would allow federal income tax cuts to expire for upper-income taxpayers, while extending them for other Americans.
The president’s plan also would reduce certain tax deductions for upper-income taxpayers and close various tax loopholes, such as by ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
In many cases, the reform proposals are so specific that only tax policy wonks may really understand them.
Another roughly $850 billion in savings would come from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the president’s budget. In addition, the deficit reduction plan accounts for roughly $1 trillion in spending cuts built into legislation signed by the president last year.
The Obama administration also has provided specific proposals for more than $500 billion in spending cuts and reforms to mandatory programs.
Those provisions include changes to Medicare and Medicaid; a reduction in certain agricultural subsidies; and a series of reforms within the U.S. Postal Service, such as reducing mail delivery from six days to five days per week.
However, the president’s plan has received both praise and criticism.
"Such a balanced approach -- both increases in revenues and reductions in spending -- is the only approach that will put the budget on an economically and politically sustainable path," wrote James R. Horney, vice president of Federal Fiscal Policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank.
But Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan organization focused on debt reduction, said in a news release that "the use of this war gimmick is quite troubling.
"Drawing down spending on wars that were already set to wind down and that were deficit financed in the first place should not be considered savings," she said.
In an interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Christie claimed Obama "says he’s gonna reduce the long-term debt and deficit by $4 trillion, doesn’t say how he's gonna do it."
But the president has outlined in extensive detail how he would achieve more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. That plan has received mixed reviews, but it’s ridiculous for Christie to suggest Obama has not provided such specific proposals.
So, governor, here’s a fiery dose of fairness for you: Pants on Fire!
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