The just-do-nothing plan has been back in the news the last few days and it's becoming more and more compelling. Here's Ezra Klein with some udpated information from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
James Horney of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ran the numbers for my colleague E. J. Dionne, and he says the do-nothing plan would now lead to $7.1 trillion in deficit reduction—more than even the Fiscal Commission envisioned. Here's how it breaks down:
— $3.3 trillion from letting temporary income and estate tax cuts enacted in 2001, 2003, 2009, and 2010 expire on schedule at the end of 2012 (presuming Congress also lets relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax expire, as noted below);
— $0.8 trillion from allowing other temporary tax cuts (the “extenders” that Congress has regularly extended on a “temporary” basis) expire on schedule;
— $0.3 trillion from letting cuts in Medicare physician reimbursements scheduled under current law (required under the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula enacted in 1997, but which have been postponed since 2003) take effect;
— $0.7 trillion from letting the temporary increase in the exemption amount under the Alternative Minimum Tax expire, thereby returning the exemption to the level in effect in 2001;
— $1.2 trillion from letting the sequestration of spending required if the Joint Committee does not produce $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction take effect; and
— $0.9 trillion in lower interest payments on the debt as a result of the deficit reduction achieved from not extending these current policies.
Coincidentally, this proves yet again that Republicans don't care about the deficit. They care about tax breaks for rich people and little else. Well, tax breaks and further vandalizing the economy in hopes of taking the Senate and White House next year.