By Travis Waldron
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his first tax reform plan last year, he asserted that he was “proposing no tax cuts for the rich.” The claim was blatantly false — the vast majority of Romney’s $6.6 trillion in tax cuts went to the wealthy, while it raised taxes on many middle class families. Since then, Romney has continued repeating that he isn’t “concerned about the very rich,” who he says are “doing fine” in America.
Romney revealed his second tax reform plan in Arizona this afternoon, and again he claimed that he wasn’t providing cuts to the wealthiest Americans. In fact, he said, his plan would ask the top 1 percent to pay as much and maybe more than they were currently contributing:
ROMNEY: I’m going to lower rates across the board for all Americans by 20 percent. All right? And in order to limit any impact on the deficit, ’cause I don’t want to add to the deficit, and also to make sure we continue to have progressivity the way we have in the past in our code, I’m going to limit deductions and exemptions particularly for high-income folks. [...] For the high-income folks, we’re going to cut back on that, so that we make sure that the top 1 percent keeps paying the current share they’re paying or more.
According to preliminary analysis of that tax plan, though, Romney’s assertions are as absurd as they were the first time. According to Center for American Progress Tax and Budget Policy Director Michael Linden, Romney’s tax plan contains budget-busting tax breaks for the richest Americans in the form of a permanent 20 percent across-the-board cut to marginal rates and a repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which prohibits the wealthy from artificially lowering their tax rates. “The enormity of these tax cuts is mind-boggling,” Linden said. “Even more unbelievable is how skewed they are to those the very top of the income ladder.”
Romney’s claim that his plan would promote job and economic growth while reducing the deficit is also likely false. The Bush tax cuts were promoted under the same guise, only to blow a $2.5-trillion hole in the federal budget that was accompanied by worst performance of any post-war expansion” for growth in investment, GDP, and job creation. Romney’s tax cuts are even more expensive, clocking in at a cost of more than $10.7 trillion over the next decade and reducing revenue to a paltry 15 percent of GDP, according to Linden. Balancing the budget on those terms, as Romney claims he will do, would be next to impossible.
Romney has built his presidential campaign on his knowledge of how to create jobs and build economies. His willful ignorance of economic facts, his penchant for distorting the true effects of his proposals, and his desire to repeat the mistakes of the last decade, however, seem to prove otherwise.