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Romney's free pass on hooey about to expire page 2

Date published: 10/9/2012


But forgive a non-economist for taking the liberty to ask: If you are specific about cutting marginal rates by 20 percent, ending the estate tax, and lowering corporate income taxes, and you insist those lost revenues will be made up by closing loopholes and deductions, aren't you a teensy bit obligated--though master you may be--to reveal what loopholes and deductions would go?

"Meet the Press" addressed Romney's silence on these details. Republican strategist Mike Murphy volunteered that Romney has talked about the mortgage-interest deduction. This is a tax deduction that, actually, doesn't make much economic sense, but is beloved by many middle-class homeowners.

If Romney wanted to shrink or end it in service of cutting deficits, he would deserve credit for a politically courageous proposal. But his plan is to shrink the loopholes and deductions not to lower deficits, but to cover additional tax cuts for the rich.

And, no, his numbers don't work. To make the tax cut revenue-neutral, he'd have to break his vow to maintain the wealthy's overall tax burden. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says you can't cut rich people's tax rates by 20 percent and make up for the lost revenues without collecting more taxes from the middle class.

Team Romney was understandably bucked up by Obama's failure to punch back. But Obama and his people eventually will. When they do, the master-of-the-universe bit will get taken apart--and in a masterful way.

Froma Harrop is a columnist for Creators Syndicate.

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