Hope and Change 2.0

Obama and Romney present competing plans for the future. But which one adds up?

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An independent study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution — headed by a former adviser to George W. Bush — suggests that Romney’s plan to cut individual income tax rates by 20 percent and reduce corporate taxes from 35 percent to 25 percent would leave a revenue gap so wide, it would be impossible not to raise taxes on middle- and low-income wage earners.

Under Romney’s plan, Americans making more than $1 million would receive an increase in after-tax income of 4.1 percent (a minimum of $87,000), while families earning less than $200,000 would pay between $2,000 and $4,000 more. Evaluating the numbers only serves to fortify the established narrative that Romney is more concerned about protecting the financial interests of the plutocratic top 1 percent of income earners than about promoting an economic environment that assists the majority. And choosing Ryan as a running mate has done him no favors.

The infamous Ryan budget also cuts taxes on the wealthy and corporations, increasing the deficit by nearly $5 trillion and creating an $897 billion sinkhole in nondefense discretionary spending. What does that mean? Funding for Medicaid, education, food stamps, drug- and food-safety inspection and law enforcement would all be drastically reduced. When ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked him about this on Sunday, Ryan resembled Sarah Palin being asked which newspapers she reads. Crickets.

Even the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote, “Mr. Romney’s pre-existing political calculation seems to be that he can win the election without having to explain the economic moment or even his own policies.”

Romney’s tepid, vague statements about closing some tax loopholes reveal that he’s either completely uninformed or deliberately misleading voters. The truth? There aren’t enough savings in tax loopholes — even if all were eliminated — to make up for the revenue that would be lost through Romney’s intended tax breaks.