An editorial in today's Washington Post discusses the "garbage" that is Mitt Romney's budget plan.
First of all, they point out how simplistic--and unrealistic--Mitt's budget really is:
(More below the squiggle)
FORMER GOVERNOR Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican nominee for president, promises to lower everyone’s income tax rate without reducing revenue. This sounds terrific. Why didn’t we think of it sooner?(emphasis mine)
Yes, indeed, why didn't we think of it sooner?
What is Romney's "magical plan" to balance the budget?
...Mr. Romney says that he can achieve this seemingly magical result by “broadening the base” for income tax collection. This, too, sounds great. In principle, everyone favors “broadening the base,” also known as closing loopholes...Which loopholes would Romney close? Since he's been campaigning untiringly to decrease the taxes on the wealthy "job creators" it doesn't sound like the rich folks loopholes are endangered. As the editorial point out, in the big picture, the loopholes for the rich don't cost the government as much as the few loopholes that not only benefit the majority of the people, but that are vital for some's financial stability:
"...tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, which according to the Congressional Budget Office will cost $2 trillion over the next 10 years; for pension and retirement savings ($1.8 trillion); for mortgage interest ($1.6 trillion) and charitable giving ($600 billion). Mr. Romney hasn’t said which of these he would trim or by how much....
As noted a recent study by the Tax Policy Center and the Brookings Institution found that Romney's plan would help the rich and hurt the middle class. Asked about that study, Romney promptly blurted:
"...they reached a garbage conclusion...”So, what are Romney's concrete budget proposals to pay for his proposed lowered tax rates? Maybe Romney doesn't want to talk about how he would pay for his tax cuts, because (like his tax returns, which he won't talk about because they are toxic) it would be politically inconvenient to disclose to the voters exactly who is going to have to pay for the tax cuts to the rich. To finance his tax cuts and still balance the budget he will have to make significant cuts, which will be unpopular with most voters; if he doesn't make those program and/or middle class tax deduction cuts, he won't balance the budget, which his own base and budget hawk colleagues won't accept. No wonder he doesn't want to get specific, because:
In reality, his principles are mutually exclusive: You can’t simultaneously lower tax rates, take in as much money as before and protect the middle class...there’s certainly no politically popular way, to “broaden the base” enough to pay for Mr. Romney’s tax cuts. It’s reasonable to assume that his cuts would, as did President Bush’s, worsen the nation’s deficit...Romney hasn't spelled out his plan or how he could possibly balance the budget without making serious cuts into programs and tax deductions benefiting the middle class and poor...
Until he’s willing to explain how he would avoid such a result, he has little standing to criticize Mr. Obama’s fiscal shortcomings.