Mitt Romney is trying to distance himself from Paul Ryan's budget. “I have my budget plan. And that’s the budget we’re going to run on," he said on Sunday. What's the difference between the two? Well, in broad strokes, Romney would spend much more on defense and much less on everything else.
Romney hasn't released many details about his budget, but he's laid out a few core principles. He would decrease and cap all federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, down from its current level of 24 percent of GDP. Within that, core defense spending would have a floor of 4 percent of GDP, leaving 16 percent for everything else.
According to those principles, Romney would increase defense spending to $7.9 trillion between 2013 and 2022, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. By comparison, Ryan would spend $5.7 trillion on core defense over the same period—only 72 percent of what Romney wants to spend.
But Romney would also spend far less than Ryan on non-defense programs, including entitlements. To stick to his budgeting principles, Romney would have to cut $7 trillion from all non-defense programs, and he would have to cut $9.6 trillion if he wanted to balance the budget, as he's also promised, the CBPP says. The Ryan plan would cut $5.2 trillion from entitlements and non-defense discretionary spending. "Thus, Governor Romney's ten-year cuts would range from one-third deeper than those in the Ryan budget to almost twice as deep as the Ryan cuts," the CBPP concludes.
Romney, however, doesn't go into the specifics as to what programs he'd actually cut. His running mate does: Ryan's budget gets nearly 62 percent of its non-defense savings from Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs that aid lower-income Americans, the CBPP says. Romney would have to cut far deeper into those and other programs to achieve his budget targets.