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Relative to GOP Field, Romney Tax Plan Gives Less to the Rich

Since Mitt Romney will in all likelihood be the Republican nominee for President this year (especially given his surge in South Carolina), it’s worth noting his tax plan, which the Tax Policy Center estimates will save $82,000 for every wage earner in the top 1%, while actually raising taxes slightly at the bottom of the income scale. You can see all the gory details at TPC.

But notably, Romney’s plan puts him on the relatively liberal end of tax plans in the Republican primary. He mainly just extends the Bush tax cuts and cuts some corporate taxes, unlike his rivals, who would put forward flat tax plans that massively lower taxes on the rich. Kevin Drum puts this all together in a series of charts.

I’ve looked at Rick Santorum’s tax policy briefly earlier in the week, and found that he would actually help some families that had a lot of kids, even with his flatter tax rates. What does it say about the Republican Party that the two candidates who tied in Iowa and look to end up 1-2 in the race for President, Romney and Santorum, have only insane ideas about tax breaks for the rich, and not completely insane ideas? Maybe it says that electability has an outsized impact on this year’s GOP race. Or maybe it says that the leading candidates are winning based on their ability to piss off liberals more than any actual issue. But it’s worth pointing out. Just like every other Presidential year, the flat-taxers ride high early and then flame out completely. This has become a pattern.

I’m certainly not saying that Romney has an acceptable tax policy, by the way. And indeed, given his total dissembling on job creation while he worked at Bain Capital, I’m not sure his plan is to be trusted anyway. But he only gives $82,000 a year to the rich, if he sticks to it. In the modern Republican Party, Romney might as well be a socialist.

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David Dayen

David Dayen