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Mitt Romney's biggest liability might just be his own mouth
After watching Wednesday's debate, it's obvious that the time has come to move to the next phase of the debate over Mitt Romney's tax cut. His tax cut plan remains a massive liability, but it's time to dismantle it using political jujitsu by turning the force of Romney's own words and arguments against him. And it can be done with a simple two-part plan.

First, focus primarily on the fact that Romney is proposing to cut taxes by 20 percent on everybody—including the top one percent. When Mitt Romney talks about his tax plan, he calls it an across the board 20 percent tax cut for everybody, including the top one percent. When Democrats and the Obama campaign talk about it, they generally call it a $5 trillion tax cut. Because the total cost of Romney's tax cut adds up to $5 trillion, that's an accurate line of attack, but Mitt Romney never uses the $5 trillion figure. As we saw on Wednesday, that allows him to muddy the waters.

Meanwhile, there's tons of video of Mitt Romney talking about it as a 20 percent tax cut. It's easier to make that attack stick because it's using his own words against him. Plus, it's easier for people to visualize why it's crazy to cut taxes on the top one percent by 20 percent than it is to talk about $5 trillion.

Second, acknowledge that he has offered one scenario in which his numbers add up: the voodoo trickle-down scenario under which cutting taxes on the wealthy magically creates so much economic growth that it doesn't add to the deficit.  Every independent analyst who has looked at Mitt Romney's tax plan says that his numbers don't add up—and that to pay for it, he'd have to raises taxes on the middle class or add to the deficit. That's a good and accurate argument, but as we saw on Wednesday, Romney can answer it by simply saying that he would never raise taxes on middle class or add to the deficit. Unfortunately, simply citing independent analysts isn't a slam dunk way of rebutting such an assertion—even though it's right.

A better approach is to use Mitt Romney's own arguments against him. Here's what he said during the debate: "I also lower deductions and credits and exemptions, so that we keep taking in the same money when you also account for growth." On Thursday, his campaign has endorsed an AEI analysis making exactly the same case.

On the one hand, acknowledging that Romney is making this argument concedes that he has in fact outlined one scenario in which he is able to achieve his stated principles without raising taxes on the middle class or raising the deficit. But in exchange for acknowledging that fact, you get to hang the entire Bush economic philosophy around Mitt Romney—in his own words.

Bush's economic theory was that if you cut taxes across the board, the economy would boom, making up any lost revenue. His ideas failed spectacularly, and everybody outside the Republican bubble knows it. And Mitt Romney is now defending his tax plan using the exact same economic philosophy.

In short, Mitt Romney is proposing a 20 percent tax cut on everybody, including the wealthiest Americans. He says he'll pay for that in part by eliminating deductions and in part by economic growth. In other words, he's claiming to have discovered a new kind of math where if you cut taxes, revenue booms. But he's hardly the first to make this claim, and turning that argument around on him is as easy as pointing out how miserably it failed under George W. Bush.

It's not that there's no value in pointing out that Romney's tax cut would cost $5 trillion or that it would end up raising taxes on the middle class. The problem is that leading with those arguments can be tough sell to undecided voters because Mitt Romney has avoided describing his plan in those terms.

But he does describe his plan as a 20 percent across the board cut for everybody, including the top one percent. And he does admit that the only way his plan adds up is by assuming it will create economic growth. Those are pretty damning words, so let's do some jujitsu on his voodoo.

6:23 PM PT: Here's a shorter version of the point that I'm making: In Mitt Romney's tax plan the wealthy get a 20 percent tax cut which he thinks will largely pay for itself. Just like Bush. And if Romney's 20 percent tax cut for the wealthy doesn't magically pay for itself, who do you think will end up holding the bag? Regular Americans. Again, it's just like Bush. And the key thing here is that Mitt Romney is the one who describes his plan as a 20 percent tax cut—including for the top 1 percent. Mitt Romney is the one who says that it will pay for itself because of economic growth. Those are his words, and it's time to play some political jujitsu be turning them around against his voodoo economics tax plan.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rec'd for the title. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    satrap, annieli, GAS

    I didn't know you could bust rhymes.  More of that please.

    Have you googled Romney today?

    by fou on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:49:37 PM PDT

  •  New PPP poll in WI shows Obama only up by 2pts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jed Lewison, fou, Tommy Aces

    But PPP says its too soon for Dems to freak out cause their polling on Saturday looked more like pre-debate polling than friday's polling which was the worst day for Obama.

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:51:09 PM PDT

  •  THEY NEED TO RUN THAT AD ON TV! (5+ / 0-)

    Sorry for the caps, but THAT AD IS BRILLIANT!

    Have you googled Romney today?

    by fou on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:51:31 PM PDT

  •  I agree- of course- and I think (7+ / 0-)

    the best general way for the President to parry with Mitt is not to parry Mitt's every plan in detail but to constantly say "that's exactly the plan that the last Republican admininstration had".

    On everything.

    Just the constant associating Romney with "the last Republican administration" in the debates is the best way.  Mitt can deny this, of course, but the psychological impact is undeniable.  It's got to be done.

    From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

    by satrap on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 03:54:13 PM PDT

    •  i've seen the clips of fdr's 1936 speech being (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      satrap, 88kathy, NoMoreLies, Calamity Jean

      replayed a lot recently, too (on msnbc?) where fdr uses the r's own claims against them: the same laissez faire/trickle down ecomonics they always preach.  devastating the way he takes them down.

      it needs to be pointed out that the r's have never changed their message & are still trying to sell the same 100 yr old shit -- that's NEVER worked!

    •  Romney sounds a lot like Bush. Reminds me of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, Calamity Jean

      Bush.  Yes, that's what Bush believed.  Bush tried that.  After 14 years of Bush tax vacation for the rich you would think there would be more jobs.  Bushy bushy bushy

      Hey Ryan, where you goin' with that trans-vaginal probe in your hand

      by 88kathy on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 05:02:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The whole tax plan is downright bizarre. (7+ / 0-)

    He says it's a tax cut that wont actually put any extra money in anyone's pocket but it will nonetheless somehow magically create 12 million new jobs.  But what's the point of a tax cut that doesn't cut anyone's taxes?  And how will putting no extra money in anyone's pocket boost the economy?

    •  You're right. You're totally right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, Tommy Aces

      But if realistic plans had more weight in races, Obama would be up 20.  It's just the economy and the generic ability of Repubs to generate interest with the term tax cut.  I wouldn't scratch your head too hard if I were you....

      From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

      by satrap on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 04:06:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Romney Roulette. (0+ / 0-)

      Hey Ryan, where you goin' with that trans-vaginal probe in your hand

      by 88kathy on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 05:03:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes! This! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, tb mare, ItsSimpleSimon

      The logical implication of everything Romney said in the debate is that (a) total revenue will be neutral, and (b) nobody in any income group will pay any more or less than they do today.

      He's basically said "my tax plan doesn't actually change anything". But somehow will create 12 million jobs.
      That's a much more straightforward argument for a TV ad than trying to get the average voter to understand unrealistic economic growth projections, and I think it carries more weight than "He's just like Bush".

    •  12 million new jobs are what Moody's economists (0+ / 0-)

      predict the economy will create no matter who is president. Like Mitt said in his secret tape, he's not actually planning to do anything for the economy himself.

  •  Ask your boss for a 20% pay cut -- that'll grow (8+ / 0-)

    your income enough to pay off the mortgage/credit cards in no time.

    He really thinks we are stupid.   Sorry nauhty mittens, you shall have no pie.    Putting him in charge of loopholes is in fox guarding henhouse ignorance.

    Even Daddy Bush called it voodoo economics   ---- before he was for it because they drafted him as head fox guard.   At least one of Dem adds should just keep splicing in the tape of him calling it just that during pre-nomination debates.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 04:04:59 PM PDT

  •  Better find a way to make this case succinctly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    satrap, 88kathy, ColBatGuano

    If the O campaign can't find a way to be clear in making their arguments, then this going to be a long miserable slog.

  •  I'd like to see a renewed focus on his taxes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I couldn't believe it in the debate when he mentioned gettting rid of his accountant.

  •  Chris Hayes hit the nail on the head (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    susanWAstate, grollen, Calamity Jean

    this morning when comparing Romney's pivot (read: lie) on his tax plan was reminiscent of GWB during 2000. He makes the claim that the wealthiest Americans will pay the same or larger share of taxes under his plan.

    This is some seriously disingenuous wordsmithing. He doesn't say that they won't pay a lower rate.

    Of course they'll pay the same or a larger share of taxes, since more and more income will be concentrated at the top, there is more income to pay taxes on.

    This is one of those truly insidious Frank Luntz-focus grouped-phrases that the average Joe or Jane loves to hear. It's not really lying in and of itself, but the intention is truly dishonest and meant to mislead.

    Also, think about this for a moment; Romney plans to extend the Bush tax cuts at a cost of $3 trillion over the next decade PLUS add on an additional $5 trillion in new tax breaks, targeted at the wealthiest Americans. Add on his proposed $2 trillion in defense spending(for contractors, not military) and you end up with a grand total of $10 trillion in reduced revenue and new spending over the next 10 years.

    That's enough to fund Big Bird, PBS, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for something like the next 22,000 years!

    •  Your math (0+ / 0-)

      is almost as bad as that portrayed at the debate.  Sicne we are currently spending the $3 trillion for the Bush tax cuts, and $2 trillion in defense spending, how does that add up to new spending?  Sounds like more Washington hand waving to me.  Caeful scrutiny tells me that the reduced revenue is close to zero.  Granted, that does not contribute to deficit reduction, but a far cry from $10 trillion in new spending.

  •  This entertaining animated video featured in (0+ / 0-)

    The Troubadour's diary ( this morning totally DEBUNKS trickle-down economics:

    Help this video go VIRAL!

    We're ALL better off when we're ALL better off!

    by susanWAstate on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:07:34 PM PDT

  •  Shorter and easier: if we have a deficit we need (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, grollen, ColBatGuano

    To pay down and at the current tax levels we're already struggling to keep needed programs going and states are having difficulty balancing budgets due to shortages of federal help, how does cutting another 20% in taxes for everybody reverse that?

    It just not logical. And stating it this way makes perfect sense.

    If I have a load of bills to pay, how is it that cutting 20% out of my income helps me get closer to paying them?

    We have bills to pay as a country. Lowering the income (revenue) does not help us do that.

    Simple enough for dumbass Americans to understand.

    For the record, I am not a member of Courtesy Kos. Just so you know. Don't be stupid. It's election season. My patience is short.

    by mdmslle on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:14:09 PM PDT

  •  Very nice (0+ / 0-)

    Hey Obama campaign! Go to DKos and Rachel Maddow's blog to see how to expose Mitt's lying ass! The 3 minute Truth Team web ads are only being seen by us! We are already voting for you!

  •  Break even ain't good enough. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Even if Mitts plan was "revenue neutral" -- AFTER ACCOUNTING FOR GROWTH -- that does nothing to reduce the debt or deficit, or to provide funds for starved government programs. It simply extends the current fiscal troubles indefinitely.

    Nope, still "can't afford" teachers, schools, roads, bridges, SS, Medicade, etc.  Bottom line: Mitt is promising to piss away any/all benefits of his (imaginary) economic recovery -- in order to avoid raising taxes on the rich.

    I think you're some kind of deviated prevert.

    by ColBatGuano on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 01:06:57 PM PDT

    •  I think his proposal would be revenue neutral (0+ / 0-)

      without growth.  If you include growth, the plan would likely generate less revenue than the current system.  However, if the growth that he promised occurs, then overall revenue would increase.  There is a lot of fun someone can have with projections.

      •  That's not what he said ... for what that's worth. (0+ / 0-)

        He said "revenue neutral" and then (kinda under his breath)
        he said "after accounting for growth."

        If you do the math, the ONLY way to offset his promised 20%
        across-the-board rate cuts PLUS elimination of the Estate Tax
        and AMT is by betting on huge (impossible!) economic growth.

        Even accepting his ridiculous best-case assumptions, there's
        nothing left over for infrastructure, entitlements, education,
        or addressing the deficit and debt.

        Executive summary: Yet another freakin' lie.

        I think you're some kind of deviated prevert.

        by ColBatGuano on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 04:03:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If it's revenue neutral, what's the point? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      That is the weird thing about this plan. You would think that, given we are running large deficits, adjusting tax policy to address that issue might possibly make sense. But the tax changes being proposed are not driven by concern about the deficit. They are driven by an ideology which says, tax cuts are magic, and tax cuts on the wealthy are extra super magic. So we must restructure the tax system so that the top rate goes down, never mind it is at at 20-year low already.

      The only certain thing this plan will do is enrich upper-income taxpayers. Creating jobs is very iffy because it is relying on a growth and trickle-down effect that has not been shown to exist.

      Mitt also did some dodging and weaving around deductions. Wealthy taxpayers might see some reduction in their deductions. But the whole intent is to transfer additional money to them (the "job creators") so this will only partly mitigate the regressive effects of Mitt's tax policy. (It will hurt middle-income taxpayers, though).

      He has refused to say what deductions he would trim. He also said though if the plan added to the deficit he would not approve it (but how would you know, in advance, given the supposed side-effects of tax cuts)?

  •  I like taking it to the logical extreme: (3+ / 0-)

    If cutting taxes raises revenue, why stop at cutting them 20%? Why not cut them 100%?

    These guys are saying: The less money you collect, the more you crazy is that?

    The truly crazy thing is...we let them try it!

    And...surprise didn't work.

  •  Hopefully, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama has finally learned his lesson on trying to be nice and polite in politics, especially with Republicans, who have wet dreams about him being assassinated.

    Mittens bum-rushed Old Jim Leherer and spewed a large variety of non-factual statements in a short period of time, making himself a hero to republicans, who idolize this sort of behavior and consider it 'genuine leadership'.

    Hopefully, Obama will dig a little deeper and bypass his weird desire to always be nice in the face of an intended carjacking.

    For those who remember, Gore destroyed Bush in the first debate back in 2000 and Gore was 'scolded' for this and was told to take it easy on Monkeyboy.

    Hopefully Obama will take off the gloves next 2 debates.

    I didn't hire him to suck up to republicans.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:13:09 AM PDT

  •  Added jujistu moves - the deduction bucket (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thursday Next

    For Mr. Romney's plan to work he says he will eliminate unspecified deductions.

    In the next breath he then suggests there will be a "deduction bucket" you can fill.

    How large is that bucket?

    One day he says $17K, the next it is $20K or perhaps $25K.

    But, there is a huge hole in his argument. You cannot propose to cut deductions and preserve them at the same time. Either we take him at his word on eliminating deductions, practically all of them, including the home mortgage interest deduction, or he is left with aq larger shortfall to fill - because of a "deduction bucket."

    •  Check out the math with your own taxes. (0+ / 0-)

      If you are in the 25% tax bracket, you may be surprised how this adds up.  I checked my taxes, and found that I would pay more if the tax rate was capped at 20%, and deductions were capped at $17,000.  Capping deductions is not the same as eliminating them.  My home mortgage comes nowhere near the cap, but add up all the other taxes paid, charitable deductions, child deductions, etc., and it adds up.   Better yet, take Romeny's tax return.  I do not know all of his income and deductions, but a cursury look tells me that if he $1.95 million in taxes at the 25% rate, then he would've paid $1.56 million at the 20% rate.  But if you cap his deduction at $17,000, then his taxes paid would increase by $450,000 for his charitable deductions alone, netting over $2 million in taxes.  Add to that the loss in other deductions, and he would've paid much more in taxes in 2011.  It could work.  Do the math.

      •  Mitt's income is bulk investment (0+ / 0-)

        derived, thus it got taxed at a 15% rate. Mitt's magic budget makes no proposition to raise the rates for such income. It intends to preserve the preferential treatment they receive under the tax code. So, unless you are now proposing to know something about the inner workings of Mitt's mind you have to take the rate presently applied and, unless he explicitly proposes raising the applicable tax rate to 20% from 15%, (he doesn't) then your estimate begins with the wrong premise.

        Further - we should look at what Romney's tax return actually said.

        From page 3 -  in the PDF

        His taxable income was just over 9 million. On which there was a tax assessed of 1.4 million. Add in AMT 0.67 million, 23K in SET and deduct roughly 0.1 million in foreign tax credits. Result 1.9 million owed. It wasn't at a 25% rate, but a combination of AMT, SET and 15% rate on his taxable income.

        He states estimated payments of 3.4 million with 1.5 million being applied to his 2012 return, in lieu of accepting a refund of the same magnitude. Yep, Mitt could have taken a massive refund in this election year. But, I digress.

        Take your premise - that he does not take any deductions, say any charitable deductions. That basically offsets the AMT his "budget" also wishes to eliminate - at the current rate of 15%. (Had the 25% rate, you incorrectly assumed, applied to the 2011 taxable income he would have owed roughly 2.95 million, after accounting for AMT - a flat 20% without AMT, remember Romney kills that - would result in just under 2.8 million owed. Or, if you will, a savings of about 200K for Mitt.)

        Meanwhile, just which deductions had to be eliminated to make this happen?

        Why, everything - besides, the "deduction bucket" is meaningless at this scale.

        Eliminating ALL deductions is far from workable. Politically.

        And, that is as, if not more important, than a what-if analysis based purely on the numbers that struggles to break even.

  •  Actually, the time to attack Mitt's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhauenstein, joesig

    plan was when 67 million people were watching the president they know is smart have the opportunity to do so. When Obama let Romney's remarks go unchallenged, people thought that maybe Mitt is right. That is why that debate was so damaging. People figured that if a smart guy like Obama had no retort, then Mitt must have been speaking the truth. God help us.

    •  Exactly. A lie unanswered and unchallenged is a.. (0+ / 0-)

      truth.  People sort of trust Obama and sort of trust the idea of a moderator.  If Mitt, or either candidate states something, and the other side doesn't even attempt to point out it's false....why shouldn't most of the 67 million assume it's true?

      As the post says, I was yelling for Obama to mention 20%--he never did.  I think he was actually so unprepared he didn't know the number--he had just been fed the 5 trillion line, and didn't understand the numbers involved.

      To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

      by joesig on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:44:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's great but, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    do enough people watch web ads to make a difference? I rarely watch them. Sometimes I watch one posted on DK, but that's it. I wish they'd run this on TV in all swing states. Seems like political malfeasance to not do that. This ad would be very helpful to our side.

    •  Nobody watches web ads. (0+ / 0-)

      Hell, very few watch television asds either.  Not when you can record the program, and skip the commercials.  I agree with doc that the debate was the time to make your mark.  Unfortunately for Obama, Romney made his.  Now, there are still more debates to recover.  Expect Romney to ride his wave through the V.P. debate, up to debate #2.  So far, everything has played out according to history; the pres got his post-convention bump, and the challenger got his first debate bump.  The question is will Obama follow Bsuh II into re-election, or Bush I into retirement?  One team learned from the first debate, the other did not.

  •  Great work Jed! (0+ / 0-)

    Shared via Twitter and FB.

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

    by First Amendment on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:27:32 AM PDT

  •  I'm not an economiust so I would love it (0+ / 0-)

    if someone who is could calculate the rate of growth necessary for Romney's plan for a 20% tax cut that will pay for itself through new growthwithout adding to the deficit. Anybody up to it?
    Then include what he would need if he also increased defense spending by 2 trillon dollars as fe has proposed.

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:27:34 AM PDT

  •  George Bush and Mitt Romney afraid of the public. (0+ / 0-)

    You can probably count the number of times George Bush appeared in public while he was president for his 8 years on your two hands.  George Bush used the military as his background on almost every event, as to appear "being in public"  When it looked like "civilians" he was at a military base, or in an area populated by military families.

    Mitt Romney is doing the same thing.  Look at where he was when Paul Ryan was announced.  Look at where he is today.  Both stops today will either be on military property, or located in an area populated by military families.

    Mitt Romney will probably avoid going into the general public, like speaking at a non religious university, or an auditorium that isn't located next to an Army base.

    George Bush almost never walked into a McDonalds, or got shaved ice and a local shop.  Mitt Romney is probably afraid of the American public.  That's not what we want in a President, again.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:27:44 AM PDT

  •  Yes, but remember to not only stick to facts alone (0+ / 0-)

    Because some people are swing voters because they aren't up on facts as much as the emotional appeal (as we all are to some extent). Or aren't up on facts at all. Make sure a line of reasoning like this is coupled with how Mitt and his neocons will risk the lives and futures of small children in order to assure wealthy landowners, Ed, 'job creators' are fat and full and have lots of surplus in case their plan fails. Which it will.

    Rinse and repeat.

  •  Percentages are easier than big numbers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You make a good point. Romney can deny that his plan would involve $5 trillion. (E.g., he could think, "Hey! It's only $4.8 trillion, not $5 trillion.") But he has said he's cutting taxes across the board by 20%, right? We can hold him to that.

    And for most people, 20% is easier to understand that a large number like $5 trillion. Most of us really have no idea how much money $5 trillion is?  We need analogies or explanations to envision that large a sum. But almost everyone knows what 20% is. So, let's talk about the 20%, not the $5 trillion.

    So, the argument against the tax cut is made simpler: How are the Republicans going to make up for the 20% tax cut? Add up the percentages that could be covered by eliminating loopholes and waste and PBS and social services. It's not 20%, right? It's got to come from somewhere. So, we either add to the deficit or make someone pay for the rest.  

    Join the 48ForEastAfrica Blogathon for the famine in east Africa: Donate to Oxfam America

    by JayC on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:29:48 AM PDT

  •  Don't know why we examine Romney's "ideas" (0+ / 0-)

    when anything he has ever said he has denied or changed a week later...No one really knows WHAT Romney would do if he actually were elected...I don't think he really has any idea other than to end government programs that benefit everyone but the rich.


    Retired AFSCME Steward and union thug-licensed gun carrying progressive veteran.

    by old mark on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:30:31 AM PDT

  •  Another wrinkle - the growth figures (0+ / 0-)

    Even if every deduction those analysts at AEI suggest were to be used as offsets for the 20% tax cut there remains a shortfall.

    Romney says growth will magically account for this gap.

    But, what rate of growth will be needed?

    Guess it all depends on how many deductions important to middle-class  / income earners he wants to axe.

    With that deduction bucket in place (how large was that again?) the growth rate required rises - a lot.

    Without that deduction bucket, it is lower - but still highly unlikely.

    DeLong touched on aspects of this when tearing apart one of the earlier analyses used as a Romney campaign prop.

    4% - unlikely, and that was before a hole was created by Romney's deduction bucket.

    Guess we are going to have to kill ten thousand Big Birds to bring in Mitt's magic budget.

  •  Mitt Romney now has an ad accusing Obama of (0+ / 0-)

    raising taxes on the middle class by $4,000 using a very suspect 'study' done for him by Douglas Holtz Eakin.

    His strategy is clear (and has been). LIe lie lie. Not that this wasn't already known. But ads like the one above will muddy the subject enough that it will blunt the force of anything Obama is trying to get through.

    Dem enthusiasm is down, Gallup rpeorting a 'historic' debate win for Romnye, I'm officially concerned.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:34:50 AM PDT

  •  He says he's not doing that (0+ / 0-)
    6:23 PM PT: Here's a shorter version of the point that I'm making: In Mitt Romney's tax plan the wealthy get a 20 percent tax cut which he thinks will largely pay for itself.
    It doesn't matter how awful it is because he's disavowed it. Appeasing middle class voters. The rich won't believe him, wink wink, so it doesn't matter how much we trash it.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:36:06 AM PDT

    Recommended by:


    You usually get what you paid for.

    by IowaMike on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:41:29 AM PDT

  •  Let me show the math for Mitt's tax plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    They double down on Bush's tax plan. Twice the cuts, twice the economic boom. New math: it's simple!

  •  Which middle class? (1+ / 0-)
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    The one that according to Rmoney makes 250k/year, or the one that people that make 70k think they're in?
    He may not be lying, if you use his definition of middle class.

    MITT ROMNEY: Well, I said that there are five different studies that point out that we can get to a balanced budget without raising taxes on middle income people.  Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policy are these.  Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle-income people.  So no one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is $100,000 middle income?

    MITT ROMNEY: No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000  and less.  So number one, don’t reduce– or excuse me, don’t raise taxes on middle-income people, lower them....

    How much less, RMONEY?

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:56:32 AM PDT

    •  The definition of middle class (0+ / 0-)

      is less about income than ones career.  By definition, the middle class includes skilled trades, college graduations, and professionals.  Income over this definition can strecth from $50,000 to over $250,000.  It is simple too wide a barometer for this discussion.

  •  It's even worse than you paint it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Since the payroll tax holiday wouldn't survive in a Romney administration, the de facto payroll tax hike on a middle class family would more than wipe out the insignificant cut in their income tax bill.

    Romney's plan would amount to a tax hike on the average middle class family even if you left all their deductions alone.

    Job creators?? Imagine what George Carlin would do with that. -7.25 -6.21

    by Tim DeLaney on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:24:07 AM PDT

  •  Good Discussion (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for continuing to put this topic at the forefront of issues in this election.

    I do have one problem, primarily of semantics, with the overall argument.  I think Romney and the GOP have continually been able to play word games about their tax plan because of the  media, and the Dems to a large extent, fail to differentiate between a "tax cut" and a "tax rate cut."  

    To the extent I understand the  Romney/Ryan "plan," I don't think there's any way can deny that they're proposing a 20% across the board cut in tax rates.    And I believe what the credible analyses of this proposal that have concluded is that the revenue hit from this rate reduction, standing alone, would be $5 trillion.

    The GOP, however, has been able to avoid this fact, and run away from that number by use of the term "tax cut," which they calculate on the basis of what the 'effective rate" and overall impact on revenue would be, net of their secret tinkering with deductions and other voodoo. They, of course claim that this impact would be far less than $5 trillion.  Thus, for example, when Obama said in the debate that Romney is proposing a $5 trillion "tax cut," Romney could deny it.

    I think our side can be mindful of this distinction in their arguments, without blunting the basic message that the Romney plan will benefit the wealthy and that for it to be "revenue neutral," as R&R consistently claim, will require an increase in the amount of taxes paid by middle- and lower-income families.

    In fact, focusing on their proposed reduction in tax rates can in and of itself show its disproportion benefit for upper income taxpayers.  A 20% reduction in the top-bracket rate of 35% lowers that rate by 7 percentage p[points .  In contrast, a 20% reduction in the 25% rate on joint incomes between $35,000 and $71,000 only lowers the rate by 5 percentage points - for the 15% rate paid on incomes between $8,700 and $35,000, the reduction is only 3 percentage points.  I think a focus on those numbers can personalize the impact of the plan on potential voters.

    And I don't think it diminishes the ability to attack the overall flaws in the plan, and potential impact on the middle class, by continuing to argue that the only way the plan could end up being revenue neutral would require cuts in the deductions and/or credits currently available to middle- and lower-income taxpayers, resulting in an increase in the bottom-line taxes they have to pay.

    Ironically, the only media person I've seen actually pursue this point was Chris Wallace in his interview of Paul Ryan.  Wallace repeatedly asked Ryan what the cost of the rate reduction would be, and Ryan repeatedly ducked the question by responding that the plan would be revenue neutral:

  •  the 20% across the board (0+ / 0-)

    meme works much better then the 5 trillion dollar attack, the 20% is right there in his own words, the 5 trillion has to be verified by an unknown entity the voter doesn't know, hammer the 20% home again and again.

  •  When will Obama surrogates understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that you have to put this in the simplest terms for the masses.  Good that Obama said Romney is just repeating the sales pitch for a failed plan. That needs to be amplified.  Next, is the childish notion that because the rich pay more actual dollars, that this is somehow fair.  
    Please, someone point out that this argument is childish to the point of "I'm keeping the dime because it's the smaller coin.  I'm giving you the nickel, which is the larger coin, so stop complaining!"

  •  Math is not a compelling argument. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama can't depend on any tax argument that requires voters to understand math. Many voters don't understand economics, and most people will hear this stuff only in sound-bite form anyway.

    The election is about voters' identification with the candidate.  Obama needs to paint Romney as a liar and a flip-flopper, without having to explain policy details. He needs clips of Romney contradicting himself, so that the point can be made without any apparent spin from Obama or his supporters. The first debate was a hunting and gathering operation. Mitt provided 90 minutes of wall-to-wall lying and inconsistencies - plenty of fodder for six weeks of attack ads.

  •  Romney faithfully follows the Prophet Joe Smith (0+ / 0-)

    who maintained, "“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."  That is why Mitt incessantly repeated that Obama cut billions from Medicare and that he was never going to cut taxes for the wealthy.

  •  Something we ALL can do... (0+ / 0-)

    I think this is one of Jed's best videos ever.

    Tipping and Rec'ing it here is great, but I think we all can do more.

    This is what I just did.  I'm going to diary it when I have time, but if you read this comment, do what I did.  Only takes a few minutes and reaches people outside the KOS community.


    SUBJECT:  The most important 56 seconds of my life

    I don't spam my friends often, but today I must.  And then I will try to behave for the next 29 days.

    Several of you have asked me why I think President Obama did so poorly in the debates.

    I'm not sure he did.  Looking back, I think it was necessary to let the American people see and hear Mitt Romney basically unchallenged.


    Because now we have Mitt Romney before a national audience AND the Mitt Romney who has been campaigning for 18 months.

    Please take just 56 seconds to see what I mean.

    If you believe as I do, forward this message on to ten friends and ask them to do the same.  The message is clear and speaks for itself.  We CAN make a difference.



    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty (Mittens, Paul Ryan, Scotty Walker, Limbaugh, pick your favorite) said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

    by Eman on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 09:51:41 AM PDT

  •  Voodoo Economics gets worse. (0+ / 0-)

    Reagan wanted to cut tax rates, and that would magically boost the economy to the point that the government revenue would rise faster than it would have without the tax cut.

    Well, it didn't. but cutting tax rates puts more money from the government into the economy. That should boost the economy.

    Romney, on the other hand, wants to cut taxes and cut expenditures by more. (Sometimes he claims to want to cut marginal tax rates but not effective tax rates at all.)

    But if you lower tax rates and expenditures by the same amount, you don't put m ore money into the economy. So there is  no reason to believe that the economy will grow more rapidly.

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