Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucuses last night, squeaking past the late surging Rick Santorum by just eight votes. And when it comes to tax and budget policy, the two candidates are separated by about as much as their final vote tallies.
The Tax Policy Center has not yet formally modeled the former Pennsylvania senator’s tax platform. However, because it cuts rates significantly but does not eliminate tax preferences—and even expands a few—it would very likely add trillions of dollars to the federal deficit. Looked at from that prism, it is not so different from the ideas raised by most of his GOP rivals.
Like other Republican tax planks, Santorum’s would benefit corporations and high-income individuals. No surprise there. But unlike his rivals, he’d also cut taxes for many families with children.
Santorum is no bleeding heart, however. Even as he’d cut their taxes, he’d shred direct government spending for programs aimed at assisting these same households.
When it comes to economic policy, the GOP field is largely in lockstep, supporting new, huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations and opposing efforts to ensure that millionaires can’t pay lower taxes than middle-class families. That kind of end result fits right in with the economic beliefs that Santorum holds, as he’s said that he is “for income inequality” and believes that the country’s economic woes are the result of “huge moral failings.”