After The Debate, Romney No Longer Has a Tax Plan

The press may not yet realize it, but last night’s debate actually made a little news:  Mitt Romney no longer has a tax plan.  For more than a year, he has promised to cut all tax rates by 20 percent.  When the President noted that the non-partisan Tax Policy Center has calculated that such rate cuts would cost $4.9 trillion over 10 years, Romney responded with a new promise to not let his tax plan increase the deficit.  That means the $4.9 trillion will have to come from closing or reducing deductions, such as mortgage interest and state and local taxes.  The Tax Policy Center study assumed the same, and then calculated that there isn’t enough money in deductions for high-income people to fund their 20 percent rate cut.   That is why the Center concluded that Romney’s plan would result in net tax increases for the middle class. 

To counter those facts, Romney last night said that he wouldn’t reduce the overall income taxes paid by the wealthy.  Since their deductions can’t pay for their rate cuts, that means that their 20 percent rate cut won’t happen either.  Similarly, funding a 20 percent rate cut for middle-class households would require terminating all of their deductions, from home mortgages and child care to college tuition and charitable contributions.  Since Romney would never support ending those deductions for middle-class households -- and even if he did, it would never happen – it means that their 20 percent rate cut also can’t happen.   As the President confronted Romney with basic arithmetic, the basic elements of the Romney tax program unraveled, one by one.

For more see this recent essay by Rob, "Mitt Romney Is Just Not Ready To Be President."