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October 12, 2012 4:22 PM Can’t “Negotiate” What Doesn’t Exist

By Ed Kilgore

There’s a fair amount of buzz today about a Bloomberg column by Josh Barro that conducts a definitive smackdown on the Romney’s tax proposal and the idea that Mitt can somehow get his precious cut without increasing the deficit or increasing middle-class taxes.

Barro gets pretty far down in the weeds in rebutting the various “studies” (mostly op-eds and blog posts) the Romney campaign touts as defending its point-of-view. But here’s the part that may be most important in terms of public understanding of the mendacity of the Romney/Ryan “bipartisanship” pitch: the claim that negotiations with Congress will supply the missing details, and/or is the reason the candidates are refusing to supply them right now:

There are only meaningful “alternatives” to discuss with Congress if Romney can pick and choose from a pool of tax preferences for the wealthy that far exceeds the $250 billion annual cost of his rate cuts for them. If the pool of available base broadeners is just large enough to finance his tax cuts, then Romney actually is dictating a plan to Congress: if they don’t eliminate exactly the set of preferences he proposes, his plan will either have to raise taxes on the middle class or grow the deficit.

In other words, you can’t “negotiate” something that does not in the real world actually exist. So if like me you don’t much believe in R&R’s interest in bipartisanship to begin with, this is a double dose of dishonesty at the very center of the GOP ticket’s closing pitch to voters.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Amusing Alias on October 12, 2012 4:40 PM:

    When Romney/Ryan say "We won't release the details of our tax plan until we've discussed it with Congress", the unspoken message here is "We won't release the details of our tax plan until it's been approved by lobbyists."

    That the Obama administration is not hammering them on this enrages me.

  • Rick B on October 12, 2012 4:44 PM:

    Ed, you're right. How do you negotiate with someone who will not present a starting position they will negotiate from. They want control of the government (both houses and the Presidency) so that they can pass the radical idiocy called the Ryan budget.

    Everything they say right now is simply a set of lies to allow them to take control of government so they can govern as authoritarians.

  • SecularAnimist on October 12, 2012 4:49 PM:

    Ed Kilgore wrote: "... here’s the part that may be most important in terms of public understanding ..."

    Public understanding?

    Ed, the "public" doesn't read these Bloomberg analyses.

    The "public" watches the TV news, which effusively praises Ryan's "seriousness" and Romney's "bipartisanship" and "responsibility" and gushes about Romney's great debate "peformance" while ignoring his torrent of blatant lies.

    Good grief, what planet do you pundit guys live on?

  • c u n d gulag on October 12, 2012 4:50 PM:

    The Romney/Ryan plan:
    FREE PONIES FOR EVERYONE!

    How do you accomplish their plan?
    Hand Congress an epic amount of horsesh*t, tell them to negotiate with the hidden unicorns hidden somewhere in there - and FREE PONIES FOR EVERYONE!!!

    Hey, Mitt and Paulie, you feckin' idjits - it's basic arithmetic!

    You guys are confusing arithmetic, with Conservatively calculated calculus.

    If the two of you can't add 2+4 and make it equal 4, then the two of you need to be shown the door.

    All their BS is, is Vodoo Economics/Republican Raggae, with an Evangelical an updated R&B beat.

  • stevio on October 12, 2012 5:17 PM:

    The "Big Dog" did the de-nutting of R&R during his convention speech. Too bad the post debate MSM didn't call RoMONEY out for his lying the way Joe did to baby Ryan.

    Nauseating

  • MuddyLee on October 12, 2012 5:21 PM:

    When Ryan first said "bipartisan", Biden should have said: remember the meetings the Republican leadership held about the time of President Obama's inauguration in 2009 - the ones where McConnell, Cantor, and Boehner pledge complete opposition to everything the President was going to try to do? Is this what you mean by "bipartisan"? Remember the insane number of filibusters the Republicans in the Senate used in Obama's first term? Republicans don't know the meaning of "bipartisan". Maybe Obama and Biden should start talking about the Republican meaning of "bipartisan".

  • Tom Hilton on October 12, 2012 6:07 PM:

    It's pretty much like saying they want to repeal the law of gravity, and they'll work out the details in negotiations.

  • c u n d gulag on October 12, 2012 6:32 PM:

    Tom Hilton,
    Well then, why don't they say that Sir Isaac Newton is what they're basing their "trickle down" economics on?

    What?
    Say what!
    They thought he invented the fig cookie?
    OY!!!!

    Neeeeeeeeeever mind.....

  • Anonymous on October 12, 2012 11:06 PM:

    ...understanding of the mendacity of the Romney/Ryan “bipartisanship” pitch: the claim that negotiations with Congress will supply the missing details...

    Yes, leave it up to 538 wealthy people on how best to cut loopholes for wealthy people. Riiight.

    What's R/R's pitch again? "Lower taxes across the board but make it revenue neutral by cutting loopholes blah blah bark bark". Um. There's your problem. You can't lower everybody's taxes and make it revenue neutral. Cutting loopholes is going to raise somebody's taxes. So who's the somebody? Republicans have already shown they'll filibuster an attempt separate out a vote on middle class tax cuts from wealthy tax cuts. There's your clue.

  • Anonymous on October 12, 2012 11:21 PM:

    Cutting loopholes is going to raise somebody's taxes. So who's the somebody?

    Let me restate that again. If, according to R/R, loopholes = tax cuts, then only two things can happen.

    1) Everybody's taxes stay the same. ie. Everyone's missing tax deductions wipe out their tax decrease.

    or

    2) Somebody's missing tax "loopholes" are going to finance somebody else's tax break.

    This isn't rocket science. Either Romney's lying about reducing taxes or he' advocating "redistribution" of some kind.


    Captcha sucks!

  • Jamie on October 14, 2012 5:37 PM:

    Beat the Rush, impeach Romney now!