Cooper-LaTourette Plan Not as Balanced as Bowles-Simpson: Take Two

March 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I blogged yesterday about the Cooper-LaTourette budget plan and its proponents’ claim that it reduces deficits through a mixture of two-thirds spending cuts and one-third tax reform — the same ratio as the Bowles-Simpson plan. I offered one explanation of why that’s not true.  Here, let me offer another.

As I wrote yesterday, Bowles-Simpson does indeed have roughly two dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases — if you use a baseline that assumes that President Bush’s tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers expire (and if you count the savings from lower interest payments as a spending cut).

The Cooper-LaTourette budget purports to have the same ratio of spending cuts and tax increases as Bowles-Simpson, but it relies on a different baseline to get there — and that makes all the difference in the world.

What happens, however, if you apply Cooper-LaTourette to the baseline that Bowles-Simpson uses?  The ratio of spending cuts to tax increases becomes roughly 7:1.  So, as I wrote yesterday, the Cooper-LaTourette plan is far more tilted toward spending cuts, and far less toward tax increases, than Bowles-Simpson.

Print Friendly

More About James Horney

James Horney

Jim Horney is the Vice President for Federal Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he specializes in federal budget issues.

Full bio | Blog Archive | Research archive at

1 Comments Add Yours ↓

Comments are listed in reverse chronological order.

  1. 1

    Great explanation. It did become clear that the cuts will be on spending, and the implications of that is a bit worrisome.

Your Comment

Comment Policy:

Thank you for joining the conversation about important policy issues. Comments are limited to 1,500 characters and are subject to approval and moderation. We reserve the right to remove comments that:

  • are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate;
  • contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs;
  • solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites or to sell products or services;
  • may infringe the copyright or intellectual property rights of others or other applicable laws or regulations; or
  • are otherwise inconsistent with the goals of this blog.

Posted comments do not necessarily represent the views of the CBPP and do not constitute official endorsement by CBPP. Please note that comments will be approved during the Center's business hours. If you have questions, please contact

× eight = 24

 characters available