- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio emerged as the top cost-cutter from last week’s GOP presidential debate, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, which crunched the numbers on what the candidates proposed.

While most of the debate centered on personality clashes and ideological divisions, the 10 candidates did spell out about two dozen proposals that would affect either revenue or spending, the NTUF concluded.

Mr. Rubio, of Florida, had three proposals whose costs could be quantified, including spending more on immigration enforcement, and repealing several big Obama-era laws, the Affordable Care Act and the post-Wall Street collapse reforms. The NTUF calculated that savings from those repeals would far outstrip the spending from new enforcement, saving taxpayers some $68.1 billion a year.

Businessman Donald Trump was close behind, with savings of nearly $64 billion, chiefly from a repeal of Obamacare, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was third with about $60 billion in cuts.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s proposals would save $46 billion, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s plans total $19 billion in savings, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s plans came to nearly $8 billion in budget cuts.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, retired Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul didn’t provide enough details on any proposals for the NTUF to score their budget effects.

That was a problem overall for the debate, with many so many candidates vying for time, and with the moderators unable to drill deeply into policies such as the costs and benefits of repealing the Affordable Care Act, or raising the retirement age for Social Security — a proposal Mr. Christie backed.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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