The truth is catching up to Mitt Romney.
The night before the second presidential debate, Anderson Cooper took down Mitt Romney’s false claim that six studies show his $5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich can be paid for without raising middle class taxes or adding to the deficit as George W Bush’s tax cuts did.
COOPER: Good evening, everyone. Ahead of tomorrow’s big presidential debate we are taking a look at Mitt Romney’s tax plan and his claim it will cut rates without it ballooning the deficit. We are interested in it for two reasons tonight. It was a major subject on the Sunday shows where Romney advisors continued to defend it and no doubt it will continue to be a big topic tomorrow night. Keeping them honest though – a bipartisan study found the math doesn’t work and other studies which the Romney campaign counters with, well they’re coming under fire tonight as well. Take a look.
GILLESPIE: Six different studies have said this is very questionable.
WALLACE: Those studies are very questionable. Some of them are blogs, some from the AEI, which is hardly an independent group…
GILLESPIE: These are very credible sources.
WALLACE: One of them is from a guy who is a blog from a guy who was a top advisor to George W. Bush. These are hardly nonpartisan studies.
COOPER: Well that was top Romney advisor Ed Gillespie. More on that in a moment. First though, I just want to begin at the beginning. With what Mr. Romney has been promising.
ROMNEY: Under no circumstances will I raise taxes on the middle class of America. We are going to keep our taxes down.
RYAN: What Mitt and I are proposing is a five-point plan —
ROMNEY: There will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit but I do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle-income Americans.
ROMNEY: The combination of limiting deductions and credits and exemptions.
RYAN: You can cut tax rates by 20% and still preserve these important preferences for middle class taxpayers.
RYAN: It is mathematically possible.
COOPER: That’s the promise. Keeping them honest, though, neither he nor his running mate Paul Ryan have ever specified which tax deductions they will cap, which loopholes they will close or frankly give out many details at all. Their campaign advisors didn’t either this weekend. Despite that handicap, a bipartisan panel of three authors for the Tax Policy Center examined the plan and concluded that there’s really no way of making the numbers work, that is unless the middle class pays more. Thousands of dollars more per family, according to the authors. The Romney campaign called the study biased, and began saying that academic support of its own. Take a look.
ROMNEY: The good news is that five different economic studies, including one at Harvard and Princeton, at AEI and a couple at the Wall Street Journal all show that if we bring down our top rates and actually go across the board, bring do rates for everyone in America, you can remain revenue neutral.
ROMNEY: You cite a study. There’s six other studies that looked at the study you described and say it’s completely wrong.
GILLESPIE: Six different studies have said this is —
GREGORY: What gives if you’re not right about your projections?
ROMNEY: Because first of all, I’ve got Princeton, Harvard, Wall Street Journal and AEI all saying actually that we can bring down the rates.
RYAN: Six studies have guaranteed, six studies have verified that this math adds up.
COOPER: Keeping them honest, though, not quite. The suggestion is that these are full-blown academic studies. Actually, three are blog posts, one is a “wall street journal” op-ed. In the Wall Street Journal piece, Martin Feldstein, who’s also a campaign advisor, makes the math work but only by using a different definition of middle class than Mr. Romney uses in his own plan. In another study cited by Mr. Romney, Princeton economist Harvey Rosen assumes the tax cuts would generate enough economic growth to offset the cost but for many, that’s a rather large assumption. One that’s also by the way questioned by many conservative economists as well. Bottom line, though, that word ‘assume.’ Every one of these authors in each of these studies, or so-called studies is making assumptions. Some may be solid assumptions, others dubious, but they are all just assumptions because neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan nor any of their surrogates have yet come forward with specifics. Instead, we asked the Romney campaign if they would like the opportunity to respond to the program. They declined for us tonight. Of course, the invitation stands.
Mitt Romney’s gleefully claimed six “studies” that allegedly back up his deliberately vague promises actually come from conservative blog posts, Wall Street Journal op-eds, and analyses by Romney’s own advisers. Non partisan? Not so much. “Studies”? Not so much.
In the first debate, Romney just flat out denied the very existence of his $250,000 tax cuts for the rich, but unfortunately for Romney, the media is starting to catch up to Mitt Romney’s lies. To give you an idea how egregious Romney’s secret tax plan claims are, even Fox News is calling the campaign out for failure to disclose details.
I doubt that being called out over and over again will put a dent in Romney’s willingness to look Americans in the eye and lie to them tonight. After all, this is the same Mitt Romney who was called out yesterday by an aide to his father, who accused Romney of saying anything to anyone for the win.
Romney is so desperate to be liked and so willing to be used that he fools even himself in thinking that he can get away with lying on this level for an entire presidential campaign. In order to support Romney’s tax plan, you have to support Bush’s economic leadership and want to double down on a bigger deficit for more tax cuts for the rich. Any takers?
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.