CHART OF THE DAY…. Perhaps the most important benefit that comes with the release of the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” is that we can start to see credible comparisons between two competing visions.


The Center for American Progress prepared an analysis of how the GOP plan would affect the federal budget, and more to the point, how it would exacerbate an already-large federal budget. The “Pledge” vows, “[W]e will … bring down the deficit.” We know reality suggests otherwise, but the CAP research helps drive the point home nicely.

“The ‘Pledge to America’ budget would mean $11.1 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years, CAP reported. “By 2020, the federal budget deficit would be 6.3 percent of gross domestic product, the federal debt would exceed 93 percent of GDP, and interest payments on the debt would be more than $1 trillion a year. The budget deficit would be about $200 billion larger in 2020 under the ‘Pledge to America’ plan than it would be under President Barack Obama’s budget, and over the next 10 years deficits would be $1.5 trillion higher than under the president’s budget.”

Now, if Republicans were willing to increase the deficit as part of a larger effort to improve the economy, that’d at least be worth debating. But the “Pledge” intends to pursue policies that already failed to generate growth and create jobs. In other words, they intend to expand the deficit without anything to show for it.

And in case that weren’t enough, the GOP approach complains bitterly about the Obama administration’s fiscal management, but Republicans have nevertheless presented a plan that would run larger deficits, for more years, than the Democratic president.

Jon Chait adds that the CAP report is itself generous, since “it assumes that the huge cuts to domestic discretionary spending will be carried out” by Republicans, which seems rather unlikely.

Anyone taking the GOP seriously on budget issues just isn’t paying attention.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.