Friday, May 25, 2018
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
North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

North Korea demolishes nuclear test site as journalists watch

PUNGGYE-RI, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made good on his promise to demolish his country’s nuclear test site, which was formally closed in a series of huge explosions Thursday as a group of foreign journalists looked on. The explosi...
Published: 05/24/18
Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

Trump violated the Constitution when he blocked his critics on Twitter, a federal judge rules

President Donald Trump’s decision to block his Twitter followers for their political views is a violation of the First Amendment, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, saying that Trump’s effort to silence his critics is not permissible under the U.S. Con...
Published: 05/23/18
All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

All those city services that fuel Lightning fever? Team, not taxpayers, foot the bill

TAMPA — All those public watch parties during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s postseason run? And how about the rally at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park with the big white Lightning logo spray-painted on the grass? You need police to prote...
Published: 05/23/18
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18