Deciphering the Romney tax plan

Updated
Deciphering the Romney tax plan
Deciphering the Romney tax plan

It turns out Governor Mitt Romney’s apparent aversion to specifics isn’t just bothering Democrats. On the show today, we discussed how prominent conservatives are calling on the Republican nominee to clearly define his plans, including the Wall Street Journal editorial board which questioned Romney’s apparent belief that he can win without explaining “even his own policies.” Politico points to some other examples, such as Weekly Standard writer Peter Hansen, who wrote in an open letter to Romney that “telling people you’re better qualified isn’t enough. To some extent, as writers are often told, you need to show it, not tell it.”

Lately, the Romney campaign’s secrecy has centered around its tax plan. On Sunday, both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan refused to name a single tax loophole they would close in order to ensure their plan is revenue neutral. One reason they may be keeping mum about which specific loopholes they would eliminate is that actually getting rid of those tax exemptions

would likely be highly unpopular, and potentially dangerous to the economic recovery. The New York Times reports that the home-mortgage interest deduction is worth $99B, but that cutting it could hurt the housing recovery. Meanwhile, dropping the charitable giving or investment income exemption could cause major voter backlash. Also complicating matters, the RNC official platform states that ”donations to [religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies] should continue to be tax deductible.” So much for that.

Meanwhile, there’s discrepancy over the arithmetic in the Romney-Ryan tax calculations. On Meet the Press, Romney asserted the plan would not raise taxes on the middle class, citing a study by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein. But the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein crunched the numbers from that study and found the Romney-Ryan plan is only revenue neutral “by sharply increasing taxes on people making between $100,000 and $200,000 so you could cut them on very rich taxpayers.” This may be another reason why Team Romney calculates it’s safer to say nothing.

Deciphering the Romney tax plan

Updated