Over a hundred and fifty years ago, the “Know Nothing Movement” rose to prominence in American politics. The “Know Nothings” were thusly known not because they were ignorant, but because they denied being adherents of a xenophobic, nativist party. But I think this time around, it is appropriate to characterize one group as being a true “Know Nothing” party in the sense that they reject the gifts of the Enlightenment.
In particular, the election provides a stark contrast between those who believe in math, and those who believe that by means of a mantra, math can be avoided. This point is demonstrated examining the claims made by the two Presidential candidates, although clearly math-denialism extends to senatorial and Congressional candidates. Table 1 presents the main components of each presidential candidate’s plan – in the case of the Romney plan, they are to the best of our knowledge at the given moment.
Table 1: Source: Deutsche Bank, Global Economic Perspectives, 31 October 2012 [not online], based on TPC data
As the Tax Policy Center has observed, to the best of our knowledge (given the quantum physics nature of the Governor’s positions), the Romney tax plan implies a loss of $5.1 trillion over the FY2013-22 period. Figure 1 below shows the amount that can be made up by eliminating all (yet to be specified) deductions, and all deductions while allowing amounts up to $25 thousand (the number Governor Romney picked out of the air during the debates). Clearly, eliminating all identifiable tax expenditures does not come close to making up for the revenue loss.
Figure 1: Total revenue loss from individual tax rate reduction, corporate tax reduction, ending capital gains and dividend tax elimination for incomes below $200K, ending AMT and estate tax = $5.1 trillion, FY2013-22; additional revenue from eliminating all tax expenditures (red, right bar), or eliminating tax expenditures but allowing individual deductions up to $25K (red, left bar), dynamic macroeconomic response according to Mankiw-Weinzerl (2006) model extrapolated from TPC (green bar), and resulting implied net tax revenue loss (blue bar). Source: For total tax revenue loss, and additional tax revenue from eliminating deductions, Center for a Responsible Federal Budget (1) and CRFB (2); and for dynamic response, TPC, pp. 14-15, extrapolated to FY2013-22 loss.
The blue bars indicate the amount of “magic-ness” necessary to make the proposed tax changes revenue neutral, as the Governor has promised (when asked whether the math adds up, in the second Presidential debate). Further, notice that allowing for dynamic macro response does not fill the gap (unless one uses the highly imaginative – some might say hallucinatory – Heritage/CDA type of scoring as was used for the Ryan plan  ) Using the $25 thousand limit for deductions (of unspecified nature) cited by Governor Romney leaves a $3.1 trillion hole. Eliminating all deductions still leaves a $2.4 trillion hole. Further explorations can be conducted on your own using this interactive website.
Now compare the Congressional Budget Office score of the President’s budget.
Figure 1 from CBO, An Analysis of the President’s 2013 Budget (March 2012).
To remind readers, the CBO along with the Joint Committee on Taxation is Congress’s nonpartisan budget analysis arm (the Congressional Research Service, which according to some accounts has been pressured to adjust its analyses, is also a nonpartisan support agency for the legislature, housed in the Library of Congress).
According to the CBO, the additional deficit due to tax provisions relative to baseline over FY2013-22 is $2.35 trillion (Table 3). It is important to note that this estimate does not include any macroeconomic impact on tax revenues arising from tax or spending provisions.
Moreover, this discussion has omitted the implications of spending side provisions. As laid out in the CBO analysis, the President’s plan indicates $1.15 trillion reduction in the deficit from outlay reductions. Governor Romney has proposed massive spending reductions on the domestic side, while increasing defense spending by $2 trillion over a horizon of varying lengths, depending upon the day in which the Governor is speaking on the subject. 
The extent of the cuts are shown here:
Figure 2 from CBPP (Sept. 24, 2012).
If one were to factor into the calculations the contractionary effects of these massive spending cuts, it’s quite likely the reduction in tax revenues would be much larger than the $5.1 trillion tabulated above.
As IHS-Global Insight concluded (“Comparing Presidential Fiscal Plans,” 10/31/2012), while both candidates plans are contractionary relative to baseline:
The weakness in growth—compared to baseline—is longer-lasting in the Romney simulation because of the cuts in government spending required to reduce government spending to his target of 20% of GDP by fiscal 2016. Monetary policy is already extremely loose, and cannot offset the extra fiscal squeeze, although the weaker economy in the Romney simulation does allow the Federal Reserve to raise rates more slowly than in the baseline (where it tightens starting in mid-2015). One caveat here is that a Romney administration might bring in a more hawkish successor to Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires in 2014. If this were to happen, then there might not be even a partial offset to the fiscal squeeze.