Can we at least wait until we get the details on Romney’s plan before we start hyper-analyzing it?
The New York Times is reacting with glee that the Tax Policy Center has concluded that Mitt Romney’s tax plan will give tax breaks to wealthy individuals and cause taxes to rise for non-wealthy individuals. One small glitch, though, it isn’t Romney’s plan that the TPC has analyzed (emphasis is mine):
A tax system overhaul along the lines that Mitt Romney has proposed would give big tax cuts to high-income households and increase the tax burden on middle- and lower-income households, according to an analysis from economists at the Tax Policy Center.
The researchers did not analyze the exact Romney plan, since it is incomplete and the researchers were reluctant to make assumptions until the campaign released more details.
Instead they created a model for a revenue-neutral income tax change that incorporates some of Mr. Romney’s proposals, which include lowering marginal tax rates, eliminating both the alternative minimum tax and taxation of investment income of most taxpayers, doing away with the estate tax and repealing the additional high-income taxes passed with the Affordable Care Act.
The TPC authors, Samuel Brown, William Gale and Adam Looney conclude that,
It is not possible to design a revenue-neutral plan that does not reduce average tax burdens and the share of taxes paid by high-income taxpayers under the conditions described above, even when we try to make the plan as progressive as possible.
This is rather obvious. You can’t give income tax cuts to people who don’t pay income taxes and right now about 50% of Americans don’t pay income taxes. In short, if you’re going to give tax breaks, you have to give them to people who are actually paying taxes, welfare credits like the EITC notwithstanding. And even if Romney’s plan does give tax breaks to the wealthier amongst us (i.e. those who actually pay taxes), he would merely be making the system more, not less, fair. The rich already fund the lion’s share of the federal government.
The left’s consistent attempts to paint Romney as a benefactor of the rich and privileged at the expense of the poor and disadvantaged is almost as annoying as a middle of the back itch and twice as tired. Let me give you an illustration:
- I let a friend stay rent free in my garage apartment for two years.
- I pay everything. He pays nothing.
- One day I send him a letter telling him that I will have to start charging him rent.
- His response: You are placing all the burden on me and that’s unfair.
I don’t think it’s a reach to characterize the strategy of progressives like this: Let’s make those in the earning class give money to those in the non-earning class and when they object accuse them of being heartless bastards.