Political Animal


January 06, 2012 8:00 AM Romney’s tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

By Steve Benen

Back in August, Mitt Romney made a deliberate effort to appear moderate on taxes. “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.

In November, he pushed the same line in a television interview, arguing. “I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich.”

It’s perfectly understandable 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 shamelessly lying or he’s not familiar with his own policy agenda.

Taxes would fall for the country’s wealthiest and rise for a some of the poorest Americans under the tax plan proposed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, according to an analysis released today by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The reduced government revenue could widen the country’s budget deficit by at least $180 billion, according to the analysis of Romney’s 59-point, 160-page economic plan.

Derek Thompson put it this way: “The simplest way to conceive of Mitt Romney’s tax proposal is the Bush Tax Cuts on steroids.”

The Tax Policy Center’s analysis is online and well worth checking out. To briefly summarize, Romney would give the wealthy yet another significant boost by making the Bush-era cuts permanent, reducing the corporate tax rate, and repealing the estate tax. Those with the least, meanwhile, would take it on the chin: Romney would scrap all Obama-era tax breaks, including the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the American Opportunity tax credit for higher education, and the more generous child credit. The changes for those in the bottom 20% would see an annual increase of about $157 a year.

The bottom line: if you’re very wealthy, Romney intends to stuff more money in your pockets. If you’re already struggling, Romney intends to increase your tax burden.

Or put another way, the multi-millionaire who’s hiding his tax returns, owns a few mansions (one of which he’s quadrupling in size), and who got rich orchestrating leveraged buyouts and laying off thousands of American workers, has quite a policy agenda in mind for 2013: free rein for Wall Street, taking health coverage away from millions, slashing public investments that benefit working families, more foreclosures, tax increases on those already struggling, and tax cuts for the rich.

Oh, and a much higher deficit, too.

Here’s a question for reporters covering Romney: “Governor, when you said, ‘I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich,’ why would you tell voters something that isn’t true?”

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.


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  • j on January 06, 2012 8:04 AM:

    Looks like Willard did not win in the first caucus either, one precinct is reporting that a 20 vote error has been found in his district (it was in favor of

  • c u n d gulag on January 06, 2012 8:09 AM:

    This guy will say anything to anyone to get elected. And lying seems to no longer be optional, but mandatory.

    And Mitt panders so much, I shudder to think what he'd say if he gave a speech at a NAMBLA meeting?

  • MattF on January 06, 2012 8:21 AM:

    Comments on Romney should be edited so that the clause "... but he's lying" is auto-corrected to "... and he's lying"

  • Hedda Peraz on January 06, 2012 8:29 AM:

    Our Governor Goodhair told me he is returning to the campaign trail, because, when asked who they would vote for come November, 10 out of 10 Texans said, "The White one."

  • Grumpy on January 06, 2012 8:32 AM:

    “Governor, when you said, ‘I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich,’ why would you tell voters something that isn’t true?”

    That's when Romney goes all After School Special and confesses, "I never learned to read!"

  • Montana on January 06, 2012 8:33 AM:

    The real question here is not why would he tell voters something that isn't true, but why do American voters (again and again and again) simply believe him?

  • just bill on January 06, 2012 8:33 AM:

    “Governor, when you said, ‘I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich,’ why would you tell voters something that isn’t true?”

    um, because he's a republican, and that's all they do.

  • RepublicanPointOfView on January 06, 2012 8:35 AM:

    The Romney tax plans fails on one of the three critical needs for our economy!

    Everyone knows that what is needed to improve our economy is:
    - for the wealthy to have more wealth (Romney passes)
    - to decrease the size of the middle class (Romney fails)
    - to make the poor pay more taxes (Romney passes)

    If Mittens would provide proof that his tax plan would make a significant cut in the number of middle class families in our country then he could have my support.

  • TR on January 06, 2012 8:43 AM:

    The unemployment numbers are out -- down to 8.5%.

    I can't wait for Mark Halperin to tell me how this is good news for Romney.

  • berttheclock on January 06, 2012 8:49 AM:

    So, which former "Monty Python" actor has become his latest economic advisor?

  • KurtRexCooper on January 06, 2012 9:47 AM:

    The other question I have for Romney builds on his comment that one health care system is good for Mass but not for, say, Ariz. "Governor, what is so different about the basic needs of one state versus another state that they require different health care systems?"