One of the more memorable South Park episodes (and that’s saying a lot) featured the “Underpants Gnomes,” a group of creatures that scoured the Earth collecting underpants, in pursuit of “profit.” The connection between the two, however, wasn’t quite clear. When asked about it, the Gnomes simply respond that it’s a 3-step process:
“Phase 1, collect underpants. Phase 2 [silence]. Phase 3, profit!”
Phase 2 was never explained.
Welcome to Mitt Romney’s fiscal policy. Romney has proposed dramatically slashing tax rates (by 20%) across the board, bringing the top rate from 35% down to 28%. He has also proposed increasing defense spending. And he has said he will balance the budget. When pressed on the subject by David Gregory on Meet the Press, Romney responded that he would close “loopholes” to make up for the revenue. And yet, he couldn’t name a single loophole he’d close. Not one.
So, Romney’s fiscal policy, in short:
“Phase 1, slash revenues and boost spending. Phase 2 [silence]. Phase 3, balanced budget!”
And just like the kids from South Park… we don’t get it. Unless Mitt Romney is privy to a new brand of math, or unless he is a magical being with the ability to overcome normal limitations, the numbers don’t add up. In fact, in the words of William G. Gale, the director of economic studies for the Brookings Institution:
“The combination of stuff they’ve specified is not only impossible — it is impossible several times over”
Maybe Mitt Romney really does have a plan. But as long as he keeps the magical “phase 2” a secret, we can only assume that what he actually has… is a heaving pile of nothing.