Controversy

The Democrats' cheeky attack on Mitt Romney's tax plan

A gimmicky website and a new ad go after the Republican's arithmetic. And that's probably just the beginning of Obama's latest campaign offensive

The attack: The Obama campaign is pulling out all the stops to pull apart Mitt Romney's tax plan. Former President Bill Clinton explains in a new Obama ad (watch it below) that Romney's proposed 20 percent reduction in tax rates across the board would cut tax revenue by $5 trillion over 10 years, a sum far greater than any potential savings from closing loopholes such as mortgage-interest and charity donation deductions for the rich. Clinton says Romney's insistence that his plan wouldn't cut taxes for the super wealthy, or raise them for the middle class, is simply not mathematically possible. The Democratic National Committee is following up with a website, www.romneytaxplan.com, poking fun at the lack of details Romney has offered to explain how his plan would work. The site has a tab that reads "Get the details," but when you try to click on it, it jumps away from the cursor.

The reaction: The Dems' website is "a gag, sure," says Neetzan Zimmerman at Gawker, "but the comment is poignant and gets the point across: Saying you'll figure it out after the election shouldn't be good enough." But Romney has explained his plan adequately to anyone willing to listen, says the Washington Examiner in an editorial. He'll simplify the tax code by lowering rates without affecting what individuals, wealthy or not, pay. Romney wants to spur job growth by lowering rates paid by small businesses. He knows that "keeping those rates low is vital to a robust economic recovery." Let's get real: Romney has been able to "snowball voters on with spurious facts and figures," says David A. Graham at The Atlantic. A cheeky website is one way to get people to think about tax policy, "an otherwise somewhat arcane subject." Another is for President Obama to hammer him on the issue face-to-face. Stay tuned, because that will surely happen in Tuesday night's debate.

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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