Political Animal


November 03, 2011 12:35 PM Romney struggles with his own tax plan

By Steve Benen

A few months ago, soon after the “corporations are people” flap, Mitt Romney made an effort to appear moderate on tax policy. “I don’t want to waste time trying to get tax cuts for wealthy people because frankly, wealthy people are doing just fine,” the Republican presidential candidate said at the time.

Yesterday, he pushed this line again in an interview with a local TV interview in Tampa. “The policies I put forward are tax cuts for the middle class,” Romney said. “I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich.”

I can understand why Romney would make the claim; more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires isn’t exactly a winning issue when the vast majority of American voters want the exact opposite.

The problem, of course, is that Romney is either lying or he’s not familiar with his own proposals. Pat Garofalo said the candidate’s claim is “simply absurd on its face.”

His tax plan consists of $6.6 trillion in tax cuts, the vast majority of which goes to the wealthy and corporations. In fact, Romney dedicates an entire section of his economic plan to discussing elimination of the estate tax, which only the very richest households in the country ever have to pay (since, right now, an estate must be worth more than $5 million to pay any estate tax at all). Currently, more than half of the estate tax is paid by the richest 0.1 percent of households.

Meanwhile, Romney’s claim that his tax plan cuts taxes for the middle-class has little basis in reality. A ThinkProgress analysis found that the vast majority of middle-class households would get no benefit from Romney’s tax plan, since it’s based on a capital gains tax cut when most middle-class families have no capital gains.

That’s true, and we can go a little further. While Romney’s pitch is focused on “tax cuts for the middle class,” Romney has also said — repeatedly — that he considers it a “problem” that so many working families are not currently eligible to pay federal income taxes. Indeed, he recently told voters, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.” It’s a problem Romney intends to fix by raising taxes on those least able to afford it, while cutting taxes on those at the top.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Kathryn on November 03, 2011 12:58 PM:

    Mitt Romney lies with such facility, is it possible that he is a pathological liar?

  • c u n d gulag on November 03, 2011 1:14 PM:

    I just think he's the most craven politician I've ever seen!
    And that's saying something!!!

  • Ron Byers on November 03, 2011 1:19 PM:

    Do you know how to tell when Romney is lying.

    His lips are moving and noise is coming out of his mouth.

    In the history of America there has never been a politician less willing to tell the truth. He has the presidential bug worse than anyone I have ever seen. If there was a working press he would be laughed out of the race.

  • Texas Aggie on November 03, 2011 2:50 PM:

    The problem with raising the taxes on the poor by either decreasing the standard deduction or by creating a new bracket (a subprime bracket if you will) is that it ends up raising everybody's taxes. This is something that is inherent in the way our tax structure is set up. Everyone falls into the lowest category and people start dropping out as you go up the brackets, so what affects the lowest bracket will affect practically everyone.

    I'm not surprised that the TP's don't understand this, but I assumed that Mitt, because of his "business" background, would. Once people find out the personal results of raising taxes on the poor among us, they might not be so eager to punish them for the "sin" of being poor.

  • SecularAnimist on November 03, 2011 2:59 PM:

    George W. Bush told the same exact LIE about his tax cut plan during the 2000 campaign, and the corporate media knowingly and deliberately let him get away with it. So why wouldn't Romney try it?