— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 31, 2012
This is either a gross misunderstanding of how the debt and deficits work or a gross misrepresentation of those concepts.
Here’s how this really works:
Revenue – spending = net income
If net income is positive, we have a surplus. If net income is negative, we have a deficit.
Old debt – net income = new debt
So if you have a surplus, you subtract a positive number from the debt and get a new, smaller debt. If you have a deficit, you subtract a negative number from the debt, thus getting a new, larger debt.
Let’s put some numbers behind this to make it clear. You have a government spending $6 a year, and taking in $3 a year in revenue. The government has a debt of $10.
$3 (revenue) – $6 (spending) = -$3 (net income)
We have a deficit of $3 this year.
$10 (old debt) – (-$3) (net income) = $13 (new debt)
The debt is now $13.
Next year, this government passes a bill raising tax rates, but they also increase spending. Now, revenue is at $5 and spending is at $7.
$5 (revenue) – $7 (spending) = -$2
The deficit has fallen to $2 this year.
$13 (old debt) – (-$2) (net income) = $15
The debt is now $15.
As you can see, it’s most certainly possible to increase taxes and spending and decrease the deficit, as long as the tax increase is larger than the spending increase. (I won’t get into whether or not that’s a good idea because that depends entirely on the specifics of what taxes and spending we’re talking about.) To claim that a package isn’t reducing the deficit because the debt gets bigger is either a sign of ignorance or deceit.