Deficits and Baselines: The President’s Budget and The Republican Budget
Since last December, when the President’s Fiscal Commission proposed roughly $4 trillion in deficit reduction, the figure has become a kind of de facto standard for measuring subsequent budgets; and in the past several months, House Republicans and the President have introduced fiscal plans that claim to meet or exceed that target. To assess whether the proposals are truly comparable, it is necessary to establish a common and impartial yardstick – a “baseline” – against which to measure them. But baselines include numerous variables that can significantly alter the results of the analyses for which they are used.
With that in mind, the discussion below aims to provide a true “apples-to-apples” comparison of the House-passed budget and the President’s. It first describes several baselines currently in use, along with the various difficulties they present. It then establishes a “current policy” baseline, rooted in a realistic assessment of the existing budgetary setting and how it would unfold in the future. The discussion then evaluates the House-passed and administration budgets relative to this current policy projection.
View full House Budget Committee analysis here