House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was short on specifics during his much-touted economic address in Cleveland this week, promising to offer a more detailed plan as the election approached.
But the Ohio Republican did outline some ideas about how President Obama could restructure both his White House staff and the economy. And in a subsequent report analyzing his suggestions -- which included the firing of top economic advisers -- the progressive think tank NDN estimates that the plans could exacerbate the deficit by roughly $3.7 trillion over the next ten years.
NDN is, obviously, not an un-biased source in the debate. But they base much of their data on non-partisan indicators. Boehner's suggestions stand little chance of becoming law. They were offered, primarily, as a counterpoint to the agenda that the president is pushing. But NDN's President and Founder Simon Rosenberg makes the case that in a year when deficit reduction is a cause celebre, Democrats would be well served, simply, by highlighting the numbers.
Here is the report NDN put together, titled: "The Fiscal Impact of the Boehner Plan"
1. Fully Extend the Bush Tax Cuts.
Increase deficits and debt by $3.8 trillion over ten years.
2. Have the president veto the Employee Free Choice Act, a carbon tax or cap and trade, and "any other tax increases on families and small businesses" if passed during a lame-duck session of Congress.
Unable to assess impact of hypotheticals, but the provision impairs ability to address deficits and debt, including the potential loss of $624 billion in revenue over ten years from a carbon regime.
3. Call on Congress to repeal the provision in healthcare reform mandating that small businesses file IRS 1099 forms on purchases of over $600.
Increase the deficits and debt by $17 billion over ten years per Congressional Budget Office estimate. The provision was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to close the business tax gap.
4. Reduce non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels.
In 2008, non-defense discretionary spending was approximately $494 billion. Under the President's proposed 2011 budget, non-security discretionary spending is $530 billion. In his State of the Union Address, the President announced a three year freeze on non-security discretionary spending, and levels drop to $490 billion in 2012 and $480 billion in 2013. Boehner's remarks did not address a plan beyond that point. This proposal would therefore save $36 billion next year and nothing thereafter.
5. Resignations of the President's economic team, starting with Secretary of the Treasury Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers.
The position of NEC Director is not Senate confirmed, so it is fair to estimate that it would take the Administration two weeks to fill that position. Estimating for the taxes paid on his $172,000 annual salary, two weeks without an NEC Director would save the Federal government between $5000 and $6000.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner makes an annual salary of $191,300. Because he is Senate confirmed, it is safe to estimate that it will take two months for his confirmation. Therefore, two months without a Treasury Secretary would likely save the Federal government between $25,000 and 26,000. Therefore, these resignations amount to a fiscal impact of $30,000 - $32,000 of deficit reduction over the next two months.
Total Fiscal Impact of the Boehner Plan: Increase Deficits and Debt by roughly $3.781 trillion over ten years.