Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spent much of his first presidential debate Wednesday walking back some of his core primary positions going so far as to not support his own tax plan. Romney told President Obama and the American people that he would “absolutely not” support a plan that cuts taxes on the wealthy, raises taxes on the middle class, or adds to the federal budget deficit. He promises that he will cut taxes only to the extent it doesn’t increase the deficit. Romney said he doesn’t want to cut taxes by $5 trillion, a widely reported figure, and put a strict limitation on how much he would actually lower taxes.
Romney: If the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say, ‘Absolutely not.’ I’m not asking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. … I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it
However, back in February Romney himself said that he was “going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.” After President Obama cited a report from the Tax Policy Center showing that Romney’s plan couldn’t uphold his three principles,Romney said he would not support such a plan, then reiterated the same three principles:
So — so if — if the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say absolutely not. I’m not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I’ve said is I won’t put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That’s part one. So there’s no economist can say Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan. Number two, I will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals. … I will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans. And number three, I will not, under any circumstances, raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families.
Watch his two remarks in the video below:
The first problem is obvious: Romney’s plan is a clearly defined tax cut for the wealthy. Even if he closed every loophole that benefits the wealthy, he wouldn’t generate enough revenue to make up for the rate reduction he would give them.
The second problem is that the other two principles of his tax plan are mathematically incompatible, as the Tax Policy Center study Obama cited proved. There is not enough revenue to be gained from closing loopholes that only target the rich to make up the lost revenue from Romney’s rate cut, so if he were to uphold his principal point of not adding to the deficit, he would have to raise taxes on middle class families by as much as $2,000.
If he were to maintain his third most important point and avoid raising taxes on the middle class, he would add a significant amount to the deficit. It is simply impossible to do both. Now some may say that Mitt won the debate not based on issues of substance but based merely on style alone. Romney is definitely the champion of pulling the wool over the American people’s eyes, by cleverly manipulated his tax cut plan and using his “Etch A Sketch” ability to show how he will only cut taxes to the extend it if it doesn’t increase the deficit. Lets just say that Romney wins on style and assertiveness now, but Obama wins on substance on November 6th.
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