Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Behind the Ad: Romney's plan to raise taxes on the middle class

By Richard K. Barry

(Another installment in our extensive "Behind the Ad" series.)

Who: Priorities USA (pro-Obama Super PAC).

Where: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

What's going on: This ad, by the leading outside Democratic group supporting President Obama's re-election, highlights a study by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center to suggest that Mitt Romney's plans would raise taxes on the middle class while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

The title of the ad is "We the People," and, predictably, it appeals to middle class voters consistent with the message we heard at the DNC.

According to The New York Times:

The advertisement cites the Tax Policy Center as concluding that a middle class family would pay an average of $2,000 more to help pay for a $250,000 tax cut for some of the wealthiest Americans.

The Romney campaign has aggressively pushed back against the analysis from the Tax Policy Center, saying it is based on unfair assumptions. Other independent analysts say Mr. Romney's tax plan is not sufficiently detailed to offer such a conclusive analysis.

But the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has said that it stands by its conclusion that Mr. Romney's proposals would mean big tax cuts for the highest-income taxpayers and increases for everyone else.

The premise for the Tax Policy Center's position is this:
"A reform proposal that meets the five goals" that Mr. Romney has outlined for overhauling the tax code "would have to raise burdens on middle-class households," the three authors of the analysis wrote in a nine-page response to the criticism.

That is inevitable, they said, mainly as a consequence of two of Mr. Romney's five goals: His insistence that any tax overhaul should be revenue-neutral, neither reducing nor increasing annual budget deficits, and that it should protect or even sweeten existing tax breaks for savings and investment like those for dividends and capital gains income.

Since Mitt Romney has no interest in telling the American people exactly what he would do, it seems reasonable to make assumptions about how his tax policy would work based on available information. No?

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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