The nascent 2012 presidential field is inverting the GOP’s classic economic playbook. From Ronald Reagan through John McCain, Republicans have run for the White House on promises to cut taxes and limit government, in that order. Not today. Tax cuts are still a matter of dogma, of course, but now every serious GOP contender in this cycle will also offer detailed plans to overhaul the social safety net, slash federal spending, and balance the budget. The most important economic differences among the candidates will revolve around the size, scope, and emphasis of their proposed federal cuts, and entitlement reform. Specifically, who will cut the most, the fastest, and from where. Or, put another way: Will anyone go as far as Ron Paul?
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