Monday, December 18, 2017
Politics

PolitiFact: Mack says cutting one penny out of every federal dollar would quickly balance the budget

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, a Fort Myers Republican running for the U.S. Senate, says he has a plan to balance the budget by 2019.

It all comes down to a penny.

"The 'Mack Penny Plan' is simple — eliminate one penny out of every federal dollar spent," Mack said in a mailer. "Doing this would balance our budget by 2019 and restore economic freedom by reducing spending and bringing fiscal discipline to Washington. The Penny Plan continues to gain support."

We had a few questions about Mack's "plan," which he filed as a bill in Congress last year:

• Does the math work?

• What gets cut 1 percent each year?

• And, is the idea gaining support?

Under the plan, the federal government would reduce spending by 1 percent each year for six years. Then, in the seventh year, funding would be capped at 18 percent of gross domestic product, which measures the size of the overall economy. By the eighth year, the plan would balance the budget and save $7.5 trillion over 10 years.

Experts we reached out to generally agreed that Mack's math is correct and would balance the budget.

But — and it's a big but — no one we interviewed thought Mack's proposal was a realistic way to balance the budget.

"One can always make the math work, as presented in this fashion it's a fairly straightforward exercise," said JD Foster of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Most notably, Mack doesn't explain how he would adjust Medicare and Social Security to make up for the expected growth as baby boomers retire.

We asked Mack's congressional office, for instance, if Mack supports cutting Social Security 1 percent a year for six years.

It didn't answer.

Michael Linden, of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, called Mack's plan "ridiculous." He said that Mack and others would face a choice between cutting benefits to seniors and veterans or — if they held Social Security and Medicare harmless — massive cuts to most everything else.

As for support for the plan, Mack introduced his bill in the House on May 11, 2011.

Since then, it has seen no official action, according to the Library of Congress website.

Bottom line: Mack used a calculator correctly when creating his "Penny Plan," but there's not much to his proposal beyond that.

Namely, experts said, he has failed to say how he'd cut 1 percent out of the federal budget each year. On top of that, the idea that his proposal "continues to gain support," smacks of hyperbole.

On balance, we rate Mack's statement Half True.

PolitiFact Florida is partnering with 10 News for the 2012 election. See video fact-checks at PolitiFact.com/Florida

Comments
National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

WASHINGTON — A new U.S. national security strategy plan presents China and Russia as competitors that want to realign global power in their interests, potentially threatening the United States, Trump administration officials said Sunday.President Don...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Published: 12/17/17
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Published: 12/16/17
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Published: 12/16/17
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17