The Romney-Ryan tax plan is either impossible to implement or unimaginably cruel and disastrous, depending on which assumptions you believe.
Mitt Romney promises to reduce tax rates across the board by 20%, which amounts to a $5 trillion tax cut. Neither Romney nor Paul Ryan have provided specifics as to just how they would pay for this massive tax cut, despite being pressed on the question during the debates. Independent analysts conclude that the only way to make the Romney-Ryan plan work is to slash deductions on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Both Romney and Ryan deny this, but claim instead that they'll provide specifics as to how they'd avoid an economic massacre on the middle class after the election.
Pundits and analysts, however, aren't waiting. They're demanding real answers from Romney and Ryan, especially as the evidence mounts that the Romney-Ryan plan just don't add up. Again, either Romney and Ryan will pay for their massive tax cuts for the rich on the backs of the middle class (as non-partisan and independent studies conclude) or they're knowingly peddling a fictional, nonsensical fantasy plan. In either case, they don't deserve anyone's vote.
On to the punditry...
Joe Garofoli at The San Francisco Chronicle doesn't think we'll hear details from Romney during tonight's debate:
it is unlikely voters will hear more details during Tuesday's second presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama. In fact, they're not likely to hear any details from the GOP until after election day. [...] Nor are they apt to even mention immigration, housing or the environment, some of the many issues that haven't surfaced in the first two debates. [...]Does that argument sound familiar? Remember, that's the canard Romney used when he refused to disclose his full tax returns. He just had to keep his financials a secret because if he released them he would be attacked by the opposition. And some people thought Biden's smiling was insulting? Romney won't open his mouth on his personal taxes or his real plan for our taxes. That's truly insulting.
As former Romney adviser and longtime GOP consultant Mike Murphy said on NBC's "Meet the Press" this month when asked why Romney wouldn't explain what loopholes he would close to pay for his tax cut: "Why? Because you'll attack him for doing it. You attack him for not giving you a little target ... and then you attack him when you get the target."
To the annoyance of the Romney campaign, members of Washington’s reality-based community have a habit of popping up to point out the many deceptions in the campaign’s blue-sky promises of low taxes and instant growth. [...]Bloomberg's editors point out that we need details to avoid another Bush-like catastrophe:
Even Fox News isn’t buying it. Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, said on Fox News Sunday that Mr. Romney would work out those details later with Congress. As the program’s moderator, Chris Wallace, pointed out, that’s like offering voters the candy of a 20 percent tax cut without mentioning the spinach they will have to eat. [...]
It is increasingly clear that the Romney tax “plan” is not really a plan at all but is instead simply a rhapsody based on old Republican themes that something can be had for nothing. For middle-class taxpayers without the benefit of expensive accountants, the bill always comes due a few years later.
The desire for specificity is hardly unreasonable. Running in 2000, George W. Bush insisted that his proposed tax cut would be a boon to the middle class. Experts demurred, arguing that the top 1 percent of income earners would reap a windfall. Like Romney, Bush declined to show his math. In the end, his 2001 tax cut delivered almost half of its benefits to the top 1 percent and initiated Bush’s march toward a trillion-dollar deficit.Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post concludes that Romney's is lying when he says his plan will create 12 million jobs. He gives the claim four pinncochios:
This is a case of bait-and-switch. Romney, in his convention speech, spoke of his plan to create “12 million new jobs,” which the campaign’s White Paper describes as a four-year goal. But the candidate’s personal accounting for this figure in this campaign ad is based on different figures and long-range timelines stretching as long as a decade — which in two cases are based on studies that did not even evaluate Romney’s economic plan.Ted Frier at Salon:
No one disagrees that cutting taxes will stimulate the economy, just as no one contests that throwing gasoline on a campfire will cause it to temporarily burn hotter. The more important question is whether such stimuli are sustainable - whether putting more wood on a fire or blowing on its embers might be a better way to keep it going than fueling it with "liquidity," just as whether it really makes sense (if ones goal is more jobs and economic growth in this country) to give finite tax dollars to wealthy investors who might plant it overseas as Mitt Romney has done with his Bain Capital investments in China.Bruce Bartlett, who served as a policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, also doesn't think Romney's plan makes any sense:
If the problem with our economy is not inadequate demand, as Democrats say, but rather that the rich do not have enough money in their hands, as Republicans contend, then what were we to make of the record $2 trillion in free cash currently sitting idle with America's banks and corporations - a large portion of which I would submit is being sequestered so as to deliberately suppress the economy to Obama's disadvantage in order that America's plutocracy can get the compliant Romney puppet regime these oligarchs so obviously desire. [...]There is a reason Paul Ryan did not bring up Ronald Reagan's name in his debate with the Vice President last seek. It's because when Reagan jumped into the deep end of the supply-side pool he immediately found himself underwater as deficits began to rise - eventually increasing from $700 billion when Reagan came into office in 1980 to $3 trillion when he left.
History shows that right after passing the largest tax cut in American history, Reagan raised taxes eleven times throughout his term, including the largest corporate tax increase in history, which Joshua Green said would be "utterly unimaginable for any conservative to support today."
[T]he idea that tax reform will jump-start an economy suffering from the after-effects of a cyclical downturn is nonsense. [...] Mr. Romney’s plan is not likely to be enacted in anywhere near the form he has proposed, if only because Congress is far more polarized today than it was in 1986, and the major political parties are much farther apart on the goals of tax reform. Consequently, there is little reason to think we will see tax reform any time soon, and even if Mr. Romney’s plan is enacted as proposed the growth effect will be small to nonexistent.So here's the question voters should ask themselves as they watch the debate tonight: if Mitt Romney's economic plan is so great, why doesn't he want anyone to know the details about it?