Pretty amazing that when you give the implications of Romney’s unstated tax plan principles the benefit of the doubt, it still turns into something so wrong, that most Americans can’t accept that’s what he’s actually proposing. Kevin Drum explains it as well as anyone:
Isn’t that odd? Romney has extremely specific thoughts about lowering tax rates and is willing to share chapter and verse. But when it comes to the part where you raise some taxes to make up for it, he suddenly thinks he ought to defer to Congress on the details instead of doing their job for them. Why is that?…
So: the biggest possible increase for the wealthy, the smallest possible increase for the less wealthy. For technical reasons, they could only model this down to $200,000, but that’s enough to show what Romney’s plan would do. You can see it in the chart on the right. When you combine the decrease in rates and the increase from credits and deductions, millionaires would get a tax cut of 4.1%. Everyone under $200,000 would get a tax increase of 1.2%.
At this point, President Obama’s problem is trying to get people to believe that Romney actually supports a plan that’s so outlandishly friendly to the rich. When the Priorities USA Super PAC tried to inform voters about Paul Ryan’s similar plan, Robert Draper reports that ”the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.” And Romney, of course, will hide behind the fact that he himself hasn’t endorsed any particular basket of tax increases to make up for his rate cuts, so the Brookings analysis is just guesswork.
Still, it’s the most sympathetic analysis possible. Any other basket of credits and deductions would make things even better for the wealthy and even worse for the non-wealthy. It might be, in Jon Chait’s words, cartoonishly evil to think that any politician would actually propose such a plan, but Romney has done exactly that. The only question is whether anyone can make the voters believe it.
This is a great analysis. The issue for Obama will be to keep banging and banging on this point. If I were the Obma campaign I would not let up on what this chart shows. Heck, I’d use it as a backdrop for campaign speeches. The huge value of what the Tax Policy Center has done is that when all the fact check guys decide to go after Obama they’ll have to accept that this is actually the most benevolent possible interpretation of what Romney is proposing if you add any of the necessary flesh to his bare bones proposals. That should allow the attacks to stick much more so than if journalists just accept Romney pushback with a he said, she said. We’ll see. But if the Obama campaign can get traction on this and convince the voters that Romney actually does support a cartoonishly evil plan, that should most definitely help the Obama campaign. I’ll definitely be interested to see how this plays out.