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Romney’s Worst Gaffe Yet: $250,000 a Year is Middle Income
Mitt Romney showed just how out of touch he is when he claimed today that people earning $200,000-$250,000 are middle income.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You know Democrats are going to be wanting to get much more detail from you on how you’re going to pay for your tax cuts. We’ve heard that at the Democratic Convention. President Clinton said your math doesn’t work. I know you dispute what President Clinton said and what the Democrats that say that you’re going to have a $2,000 tax hike on middle class families. I know you dispute that. You cite your own studies. But one of the studies you cite by Martin Feldstein at Harvard shows that to make your math work, it could work, if you eliminate the home mortgage, charity, and state and local tax deductions for everyone earning over $100,000. Is that what you propose?
MITT ROMNEY: No, that’s not what I propose. And, of course, part of my plan is to stimulate economic growth. The biggest source of getting the country to a balanced budget is not by raising taxes or by cutting spending. It’s by encouraging the growth of the economy. So my tax plan is to encourage investment in growth in America, more jobs, that means more people paying taxes. So that’s a big component of what allows us to get to a balanced budget.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But his study, which you’ve cited, says it can only work if you take away those deductions for everyone earning more than $100,000.
MITT ROMNEY: Well, it doesn’t necessarily show the same growth that we’re anticipating. And I haven’t seen his precise study. But I can tell you that we can lower our rates-
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you cited the study, though.
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I said that there are five different studies that point out that we can get to a balanced budget without raising taxes on middle income people. Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policy are these. Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle-income people. So no one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is $100,000 middle income?
MITT ROMNEY: No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less. So number one, don’t reduce- or excuse me, don’t raise taxes on middle-income people, lower them. Number two, don’t reduce the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest. The top 5% will still pay the same share of taxes they pay today. That’s principle one, principle two. Principle three is create incentives for growth, make it easier for businesses to start and to add jobs. And finally, simplify the code, make it easier for people to pay their taxes than the way they have to now.
Actually, the median income in this country is four to five times less than the number Romney cited. The actual median income in the United States is $50,000. Of course, when a person is worth hundreds of millions of dollars like Mitt Romney is, $250,000 must look like scraping by.
When pressed during the interview Romney managed to disavow the study that he had just cited, and then he completely lied about his tax plan.
His tax plan doesn’t keep rates the same for the people at the top. Romney would lower the top tax rate and immediately give the wealthiest Americans a $264,000 yearly tax cut. Under Romney’s plan, the richer you are the more you reap. Billionaires like Sheldon Adelson could get billions of dollars in tax breaks through Romney’s elimination of the estate tax and his plan to make overseas profits tax exempt.
According to the Tax Policy Center, the math on Romney’s plan doesn’t work. In order to make the numbers add up, Romney would have to raise taxes on everyone else. At best, Romney would shift billions of dollars in yearly tax burden to the 95%, and raise taxes by eliminating deductions that benefit the middle class. It is impossible to make his plan work, unless taxes are raised on people making less than $200,000.
Mitt Romney has no idea who the middle class really are, and he is completely lying about his tax plan. The fact that he thinks that $200,000-$250,000 a year is middle income proves that Romney lives in his own universe of wealth, and has absolutely no clue about how the vast majority of Americans really live.
Mitt Romney isn’t just out of touch. He’s out of orbit.