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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WSJ: How Mitt Romney Can Win the Tax Debate

Wall Street Journal editorial:  Romney's Middle-Class Tax Sale: How the Republican Can Win the Debate He's Now Losing by Default:

In this peculiar election year, President Obama is pulling off the small miracle—no, make that the kind of thing that happens in Lourdes—of winning the tax debate. This should be impossible, and Mitt Romney has to turn that around if he wants to win. ...

The main cause of this role reversal is that Mr. Obama has driven a relentless tax message—albeit a wildly deceptive one: That Mr. Romney is a sleeper agent who wants to raise taxes on middle-class families by $2,000 to finance tax cuts for him and his fellow tycoons. ...

As a factual matter, the claim is as bogus as any in years because Mr. Romney has proposed no such thing. The claim hangs on an August 1 report by the liberal Tax Policy Center that even its authors have since admitted was merely "stylized." The outfit's gnomes concluded that Mr. Romney's actual reform proposal—cutting rates across the board by 20%, combined with closing loopholes at the higher end—was "mathematically impossible." They then imagined multiple details for a "Romney" tax plan that existed only in their own minds and that would raise taxes among the lower brackets by $86 billion. ...

Amid this barrage, Mr. Romney has also played dumb, as in silent. Only this week has Boston rolled out a response ad to Mr. Obama's middle-class tax hike TV buy, which ran unanswered for a month in a half-dozen swing states. ...

This is modest progress, but Mr. Romney's larger failing is that he hasn't even tried to sell his own proposals, much less their broader pro-growth, practical and moral foundations. ... A better argument would begin by explaining how lower rates and a more efficient tax code—simpler, stabler, more transparent—would increase economic growth that would raise incomes for everyone. ...

[E]ven if he increased tax rates on the rich to 100%, Mr. Obama would still have to find more revenue to pay for his spending ambitions. This means he's inescapably going to have to tee up the middle class for a tax wallop unlike anything in U.S. history. Mr. Romney should say that, having taken federal spending to a quarter of GDP, a second Obama Administration would make a European-style value-added tax, carbon tax or another money maker inevitable.

So far this year's tax debate features one candidate with no credible plan running against a fake plan that his allies made up and another candidate with an admirable plan that for some reason he doesn't want to talk about. Mr. Obama is winning by default, but that doesn't mean Mr. Romney can't execute one of those turnarounds he's famous for, if he tries.

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Comments

C'mon man

"A better argument would begin by explaining how lower rates and a more efficient tax code—simpler, stabler, more transparent—would increase economic growth that would raise incomes for everyone. ..."

Occam's Razor here, the reason Mr. Romney has not made that argument is because he cannot make that argument. If he could have, he would have.

This following statement though by the WSJ is true,

"So far this year's tax debate features one candidate with no credible plan running against a fake plan that his allies made up and another candidate with an admirable plan that for some reason he doesn't want to talk"

except for the 'some reason' part. We all know the reasons, the numbers don't add up, and the provisions, if they exist are political poison.

Posted by: David R. | Oct 3, 2012 12:33:20 PM

This is very different from CNN Post-debate poll and what NY times says. Who should Americans listen to???

Posted by: tax1on1 | Oct 4, 2012 10:34:04 AM