Mitt Romney’s refusal to get into the specifics of his tax overhaul should raise a “red flag,” former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday, adding he doesn’t think Romney can avoid a middle-class tax hike.As President Clinton said at the Democratic convention, this is just a question of math. Romney says that can reduce tax rates by 20 percent across the board without reducing revenue, but the only way that's possible is if he eliminates tax deductions that benefit middle income earners more than high income earners. Sure, the middle income tax payers would be in lower tax brackets—but their overall tax payment would go up. Even if Romney abandoned his pledge of revenue neutrality, the cuts would add to our debt, meaning eventually middle income taxpayers would pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Either way, taxes on middle income taxpayers would go up to pay for Romney's plan.
“We know what Governor Romney says, which is that his proposal for dealing with the debt is first, to make it bigger by adopting another round of tax cuts that, with the interest associated, would be about $5 trillion more over a decade,” Clinton said in an interview taped for CBS’s “This Morning.” “And we know how he says he wants to eliminate them, not by raising taxes, but by eliminating preferences in the Tax Code.”
“He says he can do that without raising taxes in the middle class,” Clinton added. “I’m not sure that’s possible. But he wants to defer till after the election saying what the specifics are. I think that ought to be a little bit of a red flag.”
Meanwhile, whichever promise Romney plans to break, under his plan taxes on the highest income earners will go down—if you lower their rates by 20 percent, you can't make up the lost revenue by eliminating their deductions. That by itself breaks another one of his promises, which is to not reduce taxes on high income earners.
No matter how you look at it, it's just mathematically impossible for Mitt Romney to keep his promises under his tax plan. There's just no way to cut tax rates by 20 percent across the board without shifting the burden from the top to the middle and the bottom, whether or not it's revenue neutral. It's really a ridiculous plan. And as President Clinton says, Romney's inability to articulate a coherent defense of his plan should be a red flag to voters that he has no idea what he's doing.