Romney's "One-Year Runway" to Increase Spending Makes No Sense

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 3 2012 4:21 PM

Romney's "One-Year Runway" to Increase Spending Makes No Sense

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BASALT, CO - AUGUST 02: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during a campaign event with Republican Governors at Basalt Public High School on August 2, 2012 in Basalt, Colorado. One day after returning from a six-day overseas trip to England, Israel and Poland, Mitt Romney is campaigning in Colorado before heading to Nevada. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mitt Romney tells a Las Vegas crowd that all of the spending cuts agreed upon for the debt deal -- the sequester -- should be delayed to give "a year's runway to tax reformers."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

What does that actually mean? Perhaps it's best understood in the form of a listicle.

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$1.2 trillion: The amount of spending cuts (over ten years) that will start to be phased in at the start of 2013, per the debt deal.

$16.4 trillion: The current debt limit, which the U.S. will hit in November at earliest, in January at latest.

239-176: The House vote on the last resolution of disapproval on raising that debt limit. As a condition of the debt deal, Congress got three chances to "disapprove" of the increases and block them -- assuming they got 2/3 majorities to do it. A simple majority of House members voted against raising the limit.

So: Romney's saying he wants Congress to save off the cuts, which would add to the debt, around the same time Congress will have to vote on another debt limit increase. If he has a Republican majority in one or either House, he has a majority composed of people who have said they won't raise the debt limit again unless a strict Balanced Budget Amendment is passed. That's the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan, which Romney also supports.

I guess what I'm saying is that the "year's runway" concept makes no sense unless you expect Congress and Romney to start breaking promises and raise the debt limit.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.