By TAYLOR HAWKINS, Staff Columnist
The narrative of Mitt Romney’s platform depicts him as a savvy business-man who can make tough decisions with far-right, wunderkind Paul Ryan on his side, will lead the country “back” to fiscal responsibility.
In reality, the tax plan put forth by the Romney/Ryan ticket is one that hinges on a wing and a prayer. Their plan attempts to accomplish 3 things:
- Cut all marginal tax rates by 20% by
- eliminating tax write-offs for the rich (read: loopholes) in order to
- maintain a generally progressive tax code in which higher income brackets will pay a higher percent of their income in taxes than those with less income.
What the ticket has failed to specify, however, is how this will work without either exploding the debt or breaking any of the various campaign promises Mitt has made.
During the vice presidential debate last week, moderator Martha Raddatz asked Paul Ryan to explain the specifics of how he would make these impressive tax cuts feasible. Ryan had to be asked five separate times before he finally gave an obligatory answer, citing “six studies [that] have verified that this math adds up.” Ryan’s reputation as a deficit-hawk precedes him.
The hope of the Romney/Ryan camp is that these across-the-board tax cuts will stimulate economic growth – that consumers and business will have more income and go on a monstrous spending spree. The research on the efficacy of this solution is mixed, at best.
The deeper problem is the GOP’s insistence on lowering taxes runs which run contrary to their desire to balance the budget mid-recession. The Romney/Ryan camp exemplify this conundrum perfectly.
The 6 studies that Ryan referenced in the debates make some big assumptions and, if they don’t hold true, could mean a lot of empty promises for the ticket.
These studies either assume a much higher growth rate than we are currently experiencing (an assumption predicated on a colossal jump in growth immediately after cutting taxes -which probably won’t happen), defining the middle class as those that make under $100,000 (as opposed to those making $200,000 – which Romney has promised not to raise taxes on) or finally, eliminating tax breaks that he’s promised he wouldn’t.
Essentially, the math doesn’t add up.
Politicians being vague and noncommittal are nothing new but this isn’t the 90s anymore. The key issues don’t revolve around social issues.
When the consequences involve exploding the budget (we still haven’t figured out how to pay for the Bush tax cuts) and/or a stagnant economy with high unemployment, the ability to provide a reasonable and specific plan is incredibly important. Perhaps Romney et al. need to reexamine their narrative.