Thursday, January 05, 2012

Romney, the "Blah"


 ...the Romney tax plan would a) make permanent the Bush tax cuts; b) cut the top corporate tax to 25 percent from 35 percent and shift to a territorial system; c) end the estate tax; and d) eliminate capital gains and dividend taxes for those earning less than $200,000 a year. Meh. No 9-9-9, no 15 percent or 20 percent flat tax. Jon Huntsman, for example, would lower the top rate to 23 percent, while eliminating all tax breaks and investment taxes. Great stuff.

My take: I think Romney sees taxes as the policy cudgel Team Obama would use to portray him as a millionaire banker who only cares about the wealthy. So while Romney would ax the capital gains tax, for instance, he would only do so for the middle-class while justifying the limitation in populist rhetoric: “The people who have been hurt in the Obama economy are not the wealthy, the wealthy are doing just fine.” Also, why spend political capital pushing plans like a flat tax—which Romney also thinks is unworkable—that have little chance of being enacted?

Yet Romney has given strong hints that he favors comprehensive reform like that devised by the Bowles-Simpson commission: lowering marginal income tax rates and paying for it by eliminating tax breaks. Of course, many of those tax breaks, such as the mortgage interest deduction and child tax credit, have strong constituencies—that’s why they are in the tax code—and calling for their end is politically risky. So Romney’s tax stance is hardly a profile in courage. At least for right now.

The RomneyBoyzzzzz will spin this, of course, telling us that Romney will "follow Congressional leads" in his economic plan.

So that's the new definition of leadership?

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