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MittFit: Romney Has His First Fit in the Debate Over His Tax Policy
MittFit number one occurred in the first debate during the first topic. The President and Mitt Romney were fighting about their tax plans. Mitt Romney presented his tax plan as a plan to help the middle class (this was new).
Obama clarified Romney’s tax plan, going over the 5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and the trickle down. When he was done, it was moderator Jim Lehrer’s turn, but Romney cut moderator off to whine, “Everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. There was cross talk and Mitt got the peeved look he gets when he doesn’t get his way, even though he got to speak. It was awkward.
Romney has refused over and over again to give specifics about his tax plan, but he did slip up last week by telling Ohioans that they should not be looking for a tax cut from him because he was going to get rid of deductions and exemptions. Independent analysts have said over and over again that Romney’s plan would hit the middle class.
Romney claimed the study Obama cited by the Tax Policy Center analysis is wrong and cited his own, but didn’t name them.
The Tax Policy Center concluded that Obama was correct, and Romney’s plan would impact the middle class:
Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers
The studies Romney is referring to are done by conservative organizations, like the American Enterprise Institute, which has been busting its hump to sell Romney’s tax plan. Their math makes the assumption that magic growth happens because of the tax cuts (trickle down).
The Washington Post already delved into this:
William Gale, co-director of the TPC and one of the study’s authors, defended the original report, saying it accurately described the trade-offs that would be required to achieve each of Romney’s five goals for tax reform: lowering marginal rates, repealing the alternative minimum tax, preserving tax breaks for saving and investment, maintaining the current distribution of the tax burden between rich and poor, and maintaining the level of tax collections so as not to increase the budget deficit.
“None of the ‘critics’ are showing that what we did was wrong or invalid,” Gale said in an e-mail. “Instead, they are showing ways of getting out of the five-way Gordian knot, and all of those ways involve violating one or more of the five items that led to the knot in the first place.” Taxing interest on state and local bonds or on the value in life insurance policies, for example, would violate Romney’s preference for preserving low taxes on savings and investment.
And Politico didn’t agree that Romney’s recent idea of a $17,000 limit on deductions would work, either, though there’s no worries here because Mitt never committed to this idea- he just floated it out as one scenario that he “might” propose. PolitiFact gives Mitt’s claim a mostly false as well. Now you know why he had the fit.
Obama came back with “If you believe that we can cut taxes by 5 trillion-dollar and add 2 trillion-dollar in additional spending that the military is not asking for – 7 trillion-dollars, just to give you a sense, over 10 years that’s more than our entire defense budget – and you think that by closing loopholes arrest deductions for the well to do somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Governor Romney’s plan may work for you.”
The President finished off with, “But I think math, common sense and our history shows us that’s not a recipe for job growth. Look, we’ve tried this, we’ve tried both approaches. The approach that Governor Romney’s talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003. And we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years, we ended up moving from surplus to deficits, and it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the great depression.”
That was supposed to be the end of the first topic. Leher started talking, and then Romney interrupted again.
Romney demanded, “The President began this segment so I get to end it.”
This is exactly the behavior Mitt’s team was trying to train Romney to not display tonight. Romney is telling a lot of new stories about his tax plan tonight, and then he got outraged when Obama corrected him (as I warned earlier). Romney can’t stand specifics, and Obama’s push on specifics drove Mitt to do exactly what he swore he would not do – show his temper. I heard two more Mittfits while I was writing this, over specifics, of course.