Romney’s Plan Would Raise Taxes on the Middle Class to Pay for Cuts for the Rich
Almost every “proposal” from Mitt Romney on important issues is vague and lacking in real details that they are almost impossible to actually evaluate. But despite the lack of details, the Tax Policy Center has done their best to try to analyze the impact of Romney’s tax plan based on the few elements Romney has said are in it. Their finding is that there is no way Romney can fulfill his plan to lower the tax rates in a revenue neutral manner which wouldn’t result in the rich paying less and the middle class paying more.
From the Tax Policy Center:
As a motivating example, we estimate the degree to which individual income tax expenditures would have to be limited to achieve revenue neutrality under the individual income tax rates and other features advanced in presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax plan, and how the required reductions in tax breaks could change the distribution of the tax burden across households. (We do not score Governor Romney’s plan directly, as certain components of his plan are not specified in sufficient detail, nor do we make assumptions regarding what those components might be.)
We show that plans that advance steeply lower marginal tax rate structures would require deep cuts in tax expenditures to offset the revenue losses arising from low rates. Because many of the largest tax expenditures benefit middle- and lower-income households, deep reductions tax expenditures can alter the distribution of the tax burden. To illustrate these tradeoffs, we examine as an example a set of tax rate reductions specified in Governor Romney’s tax plan. We show that given the proposed tax rates and proscription against reducing tax expenditures aimed at saving and investment, cutting tax expenditures will result in a net tax cut for high-income taxpayers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers—even if individual income tax expenditures could be eliminated in a way designed to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible.
It is important to point out this is not an actual analysis of Romney’s full tax plan because he either doesn’t have one or is keeping it secret from the American people. What it does do though is take the promises Romney has made on the issue of taxes and see if there is any possible way to fulfill them without shifting the tax burden from the rich to the middle class. Even when tax expenditures were eliminated in the most progressive manner, their analysis concluded people making less than $200,000 a year would still pay roughly $86 billion more.
Based on the available information, we must assume Romney’s tax plan would lower taxes for the rich while increasing them on the middle middle class. If Romney feels this is wrong, he can easily refute this at any time by simply releasing a fully detailed tax plan which can be analyzed;,until then “simply trust me” is not a defense.
If a candidate’s refuses to release details, it should be the role of the media and the electorate to assume the worst, not giving them the benefit of the doubt, since it is the candidate creating the doubt.