The plan recommends reducing the national debt to 60 percent of the gross domestic product by 2023 and 40 percent by 2035, reducing spending to 21 percent of the economy, and capping federal revenues at 21 percent of the economy as well. All of these are measures that reflect a clear concern about the size of government and about the importance of retaining the confidence of the nation’s creditors that the U.S. can repay its debt.

Conservatives said that the 21 percent level of spending, however, is much higher than the historical average of 20 percent.

“While there is arguably a balanced level of effort devoted to spending cuts and revenue increases, the targets chosen would enshrine a larger federal government, largely because the proposal’s starting point is the unusually high level of Federal spending that exists today,” said Steve McMillin, a former Bush administration budget official now with Hamilton Place Strategies.

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