“It is not mathematically possible to design a revenue-neutral plan that preserves current incentives for savings and investment and that does not result in a net tax cut for high-income taxpayers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers.”- Brookings/Tax Policy Center study of Mitt Romney's tax reform proposal.
The study, which according to the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery, "seem[s] to bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate," finds that Romney's
rate-cutting plan for individuals would reduce tax collections by about $360 billion in 2015, the study says. To avoid increasing deficits — as Romney has pledged — the plan would have to generate an equivalent amount of revenue by slashing tax breaks for mortgage interest, employer-provided health care, education, medical expenses, state and local taxes, and child care — all breaks that benefit the middle class.Having done a nice job raising doubts that Romney's Bain tenure equips him well to steer the national economy, the Obama campaign needs now to hammer home exactly what Romney proposes in tax cuts for the rich and social spending cuts. Recall that
when Priorities [USA] informed a focus group that Romney supported the [Paul] Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.Those plans are easy to grasp: over ten years, $5 trillion in new tax cuts, $10 trillion in a mix of domestic spending cuts and tax deduction phase-outs, deficit spending to the extent that those cuts fall short. Government drowned in the bathtub (or in debt). Medicare voucherized, the uninsured left uninsured. Scare us, Obama. The reality is scary.
Update: Jonathan Cohn does a better job boiling down the takeaway:
Figuring out the impact of campaign promises can be difficult. But if you're like 95 percent of Americans, understanding what Romney's plan means for you is simple: You'll pay higher taxes and get fewer public services, so that Romney and his friends can keep more of their money.Update 2: and not wasting any time, Obama does it even better:
"Now, despite the evidence, the entire centerpiece of my opponent’s economic plan is a new, $5 trillion tax cut on top of the Bush tax cuts," Obama said to boos at a campaign stop in Mansfield, Ohio. "Now, the bulk of this tax cut would go to the very top. A lot of it would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of all households. Folks making more than $3 million a year -- the top one-tenth of one percent -- would get a tax cut worth almost a quarter of a million dollars. Now, think about that. Folks making $3 million a year or more would get a quarter-of-a-million-dollar tax cut."Ahhh.
"But it gets worse. Under my opponent's plan, guess who gets the bill for these $250,000 tax cuts? You do. And you don’t have to take my word for it," he said. "Just today, an independent, non-partisan organization ran all the numbers. And they found that if Governor Romney wants to keep his word and pay for his plan, he'd have to cut tax breaks that middle-class families depend on to pay for your home, or your health care, or send your kids to college. That means the average middle-class family with children would be hit with a tax increase of more than $2,000."
"And here's the thing," he continued. "He's not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit. He's not asking you to pay more to invest in our children's education or rebuild our roads or put more folks back to work. He's asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut."
“In order to afford just one $250,000 tax cut for somebody like Mr. Romney, 125 families like yours would have to pay another $2,000 in taxes every year. Does that seem like a good plan for economic growth? Does that sound like a plan you can afford? How many of you want to pay another $2,000 to give Mr. Romney or me another tax break?"
Update 3 (8/2) - and now, the ad. Ahh again.