- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pundits may debate the winner of Wednesday’s debate but the loser would appear to be the government’s fiscal future, with neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton willing to budge from the plans analysts have said would leave the country’s finances headed for a cliff.

Budget watchdogs have said for years that a bipartisan deal both raising taxes and limiting entitlement benefits such as Social Security checks is there to be had, but both candidates rejected that agreement.

“I’m cutting taxes, we’re going to grow the economy,” Mr. Trump said, insisting the country can grow its way out of the problems it faces.

Mrs. Clinton went the other direction, saying the government can tax its way to a sounder Social Security by lifting the cap that limits how much income is subject to payroll taxes for the public pensions program.

“I am on record saying that we need to put more money into the Social Security trust fund. That’s part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy,” she said.

She said her taxes would go up under that, as would Mr. Trump’s — though she wondered if he would try to find a tax loophole to avoid it.

“Such a nasty woman,” Mr. Trump countered.

Mrs. Clinton went on to say she will find “ways to get more money into it,” but flatly ruled out any benefit cuts, saying she would instead increase benefits.

Budget analysts panned both candidates’ answers.

“Both candidates suggested ‘easy fixes’ to #SocialSecurity. They’re not enough,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said on Twitter.

The committee said Mrs. Clinton’s plan to raise the tax cap would help, but won’t be enough. And the group said the economic growth Mr. Trump is counting on to make up deficits resulting from his tax cuts will only replace a third of the lost revenue.

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