President Obama's campaign is hammering Mitt Romney's tax plan, citing a study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that shows Romney would need to raise taxes on middle- and lower-income households to keep all his campaign promises. Romney has vowed to enact a raft of specific tax cuts, which would create a $360 billion hole in the budget, while promising to balance the budget. The Tax Policy Center found that it would be mathematically impossible to achieve those goals, but Romney has so far resisted pressure to explain how he could pay for his tax cuts. Does he need to provide more specifics?
Yes. Otherwise Romney's plan makes no sense: Romney has two options: He can "eliminate a wheelbarrow full of tax breaks" or "slash more spending," says The Washington Post in an editorial. But he refuses to do endorse either approach, offering the "feel-good temptation of lower taxes without the harsh medicine to follow." The "bottom line of this exercise" is that Romney "has a hole in his balance sheet," and he "needs to fill in the blanks of his tax policy, and soon."
"Mitt Romney's tax plan falls short"
No. Romney only needs to provide an outline: Romney's tax plan "is conceptual, not written in legislative detail," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. Viewed in that light, Romney's overarching plan — in which his tax cuts are paid for by closing tax loopholes and benefits for the wealthy — could certainly work with a few tweaks. Romney has provided as much as he needs to provide — "there is no requirement (other than from critics) that a candidate has to make a campaign proposal scorable."
"Tax plans and tax spin"
And Obama hasn't provided specifics either: If Romney's tax plan "sounds too good to be true, that's because it is," says Bloomberg in an editorial. But Obama's tax plan is "almost as sketchy." Obama has proposed to "soak the rich" by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those who earn over $250,000 a year, and imposing a new tax on millionaires. However, such measures will yield just a fraction of the $4 trillion in additional revenue the government must take in over the next 10 years to balance the budget. "Just as Romney must shed his pie-in-the-sky promises, Obama needs to come clean with middle-class Americans by telling them their taxes, now at record-low rates, will need to be raised."
"Obama and Romney tax plans are pie-in-the-sky"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
Subscribe to the Week