I truly wish I were President Obama's speechwriter. Mitt Romney's position on taxes, both his tax policy as a prospective president and his own personal taxes, are so vulnerable to attack. If I were Barack Obama, this is how I would prosecute that attack.
In your comments, please tell me the points I have missed.
The speech appears below the fold.
Fellow AmericansThis is about a ten minute speech. With typical Obama pauses for emphasis and ad lib remarks, maybe 15 minutes. It's a speech that would tie together Romney's secret tax plan and his secret tax returns.
I come before you today to discuss taxes. Tax policy is crucial to the nation's economic health. Let us be clear about taxes. Without them we would have no government at all. No education, no law enforcement, no fire protection, no military, no justice system, no Social Security, no Medicare, no roads, no bridges, no flood control, no airports. We would literally have no civilization at all without government, and no government without taxes. I don't blame you if you dislike taxes, but the alternative is much worse.
The most important feature of my opponent's campaign is his tax policy, but he has made that a closely guarded secret. It is no coincidence that his tax policy for the nation, and his personal income tax returns, are both top secret.
Tax revenue is the lifeblood of government. It is vital that we have sound tax system to fund government. My opponent has proposed a 20% "across the board" cut in tax rates, and he tells us that by closing unspecified loopholes that his plan is revenue neutral. This means that some folks will wind up paying higher taxes while some other folks will wind up paying lower taxes. He adamantly refuses to give any specifics about these loopholes. Why is that? It is crystal clear to me that it is because the middle class will lose under the his plan, and that the wealthy will gain. I can say this because I learned an important skill in school—arithmetic.
Arithmetic is the worst enemy of my opponent's plan. It is flat impossible to cut tax rates by 20% without reducing tax revenue. It cannot be done, and he knows full well that it cannot be done. His plan is just another scheme to cut taxes even more on high income earners. He cannot give us the details without exposing his desire to make the very rich even richer. It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots. My opponent is very wealthy, and his tax plan would make him even wealthier. I cannot imagine a more brazen attempt to extract even more wealth from the middle class.
He will try to tell you that everybody will win. Somehow, less government revenue will lead to job growth and prosperity. We tried that prescription under George Bush, and it was very bad medicine indeed. It brought our economy to the brink of complete collapse. Now my opponent says that we need to increase the dosage. More tax cuts are his prescription. It's just bad medicine that we should spit out.
My opponent has refused to release any of his tax returns. Any returns he has filed in the last three years can be amended, so his returns for 2010 and 2011 are essentially meaningless because they are subject to future revision. So the taxes he pays—or ought to pay—are completely secret.
According to Republican dogma, he is a job creator. His hundreds of millions of dollars, according to conservative theory, should have created thousands of jobs during the past ten years. Why has he not released his tax returns? Surely those returns would detail the wonderful job-creating ability that comes with great wealth. If I were Mitt Romney, I would be eager to show the country how much my wealth has benefited the country. Why is he so ashamed of his finances?
His reluctance to share his tax returns with the American people speaks volumes. I suggest to you that those tax returns would reveal that my opponent's wealth has been devoted solely to creating more wealth for himself rather than creating jobs. Those tax returns would reveal that the conservative theory of job creation is simply a cruel hoax, invented to justify low tax rates for millionaires.
His twin strategies of secrecy regarding his public tax policy, and his secrecy regarding his personal tax returns are two sides of the same counterfeit coin. As a voter, you should refuse to accept his counterfeit money. A Romney presidency would be devoted to increasing the fortunes of the already wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Now, I'd like you to consider how jobs are actually created. There are two sources of job creation: private sector growth and government. When the bulk of ordinary citizens have disposable income, economic conditions will cause entrepreneurs to hire people to create the goods and services that these ordinary citizens desire. This is called consumer demand. It is not millionaires who create jobs, but rather it is the demand exerted by ordinary people who have disposable income. Entrepreneurs will borrow money if necessary to hire people to produce the goods and services that are in demand. They will do this because there is profit to be realized. No millionaires are needed: just banks, a good business plan, and good economic conditions.
This is where government comes in. When employment goes down, when there are people looking for work, the government should hire them, either directly or indirectly. For example, we can hire them directly as teachers, or we can hire them indirectly by giving a construction company a contract to maintain a road. In both cases, these are important jobs that need to be done. These are jobs that the private sector will never create on its own.
Don't be misled by clever sound bites. "Tax and spend"? Sounds awful, but if government didn't collect taxes and spend that revenue we would have no civilization. "Job creators"? This is just an empty slogan, and a false one at that. "Wealth redistribution"? What does this mean? All taxation redistributes wealth. "Class warfare"? Ask yourself who is waging that war, and ask yourself who is winning it.
My opponent's plan would transfer more of the nation's wealth to the rich, and at the same time it would transfer more of the tax burden to the poor and middle class. This is wrong. During the Bush years we cut taxes on the rich—not once, but twice. We must reverse these disastrous decisions and return this country to fiscal sanity. [standard closing remarks]
By the way, regulars will recognize my indirect references to the sig lines of Joan McCarter and Angie in WA State. (I even put in a Bill Clinton word.) There are many other Kossacks whose thinking has influenced my own. If you recognize your own thoughts in the speech, it might not be entirely coincidental. We learn from each other.