The national debt would balloon under tax policies championed by three of the four major Republican candidates, said an independent analysis proposals offered by the campaigns.
The lone exception is Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who would slice about $2 trillion from future borrowing over the next decade. His policies would cut tax revenue by more than $5 trillion over the next decade, said a report by U.S. Budget Watch, a project of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. But the loss would be offset by more than $7 trillion in cuts, including in defense and health programs.
According to the report, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich would do the most damage to the nation's finances, offering tax and spending policies likely to require trillions of dollars in fresh borrowing. It said that by 2021, the debt would rise by about $4.5 trillion under Santorum's policies.
According to the study, Gingrich's plan, which includes including spending on space exploration, would add $7 trillion to the nation's debt over the coming nine years -- almost doubling the deficits that would be recorded if the government basically ran on autopilot.
The red ink would flow more slowly under Mitt Romney, it said. Until this week, Romney had paired $1.35 trillion in tax cuts with $1.2 trillion in spending reductions, leaving the debt rising on a trajectory that closely tracks current policies. But that changed Wednesday, when Romney proposed to cut federal income tax rates by 20 percent more for all earners, which would slash U.S. revenue by more than $2 trillion over 10 years. And until more details are offered, analysts said his entire framework would add about $2.6 trillion to the debt by 2021.
Under plans, deficits produced by end of fiscal 2016:
Gingrich: Almost $1.5 trillion
Santorum: About $1.2 trillion
Romney: $700-800 billion
Paul: Almost $500 billion
Obama: $649 billion