President Barack Obama is doubling down on his attacks against Mitt Romney’s tax proposals today, gleefully seizing on a new report from the Tax Policy centre that finds that Romney’s plan would significantly reduce taxes for the wealthiest Americans while increasing the burden for everyone else. We’ve broken down the findings of the report here, but the gist is this:
Romney’s tax plan would cut base income tax rates for everyone, while remaining revenue-neutral by eliminating tax breaks and deductions. Romney hasn’t specified which deductions he would eliminate, but the report finds that even if Romney started with those that benefit the wealthiest Americans, he would still have to cut a lot of tax breaks that disproportionately benefit average American families.
The result would raise taxes on the average American family making under $200,000 a year by $2,000 while cutting taxes for the Americans making $3 million or more by close to $250,000.
The report’s findings are a huge gift for the Obama campaign, giving the President extra ammunition as he tries to convince Ohio voters that Romney is an out-of-touch rich guy who favours millionaires over the middle class.
In a campaign memo released this afternoon, Obama’s campaign policy director James Kraal laid out the blueprint for this attack strategy, noting the specific parts of the Tax Policy centre report that Obama and his surrogates will likely highlight in the coming days.
Here are the key points:
- To pay for his plan, Romney would need to cut most or all of the tax benefits critical to the middle class, including the tax-free status of employer-sponsored health insurance, the home mortgage interest deduction, and the child and earned income tax credits. These four middle-class tax benefits alone make up more than half of the revenue available for Romney’s plan, making it literally impossible for Romney to avoid cutting them.
- A married couple with two children and income of $100,000 would see a $2,500 tax increase under Romney’s plan.
- A single mother with one child earning $20,000 a year would see a $2,200 tax increase under Romney’s plan.
- A married couple with an income of $45,000 and no children would see a $500 tax increase under Romney’s plan.
- A couple earning $10 million a year would see a $259,000 tax cut under Romney’s plan.
Obama wasted no time launching this attack plan today, citing the Tax Policy centre study to slam his Republican opponent during campaign stops in the crucial swing of Ohio today.
“Here’s the thing. He’s not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit,” Obama said. “He’s not asking you to pay more to invest in our children’s education or rebuild our roads or put more folks back to work. He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut.”
The Romney campaign has already started pushing back, slamming the “liberal” Tax Policy centre report for leaving out Romney’s plans to reform corporate income taxes and accusing Obama of trying to distract voters from his own economic record.
Here’s the statement from Romney’s campaign policy director Lanhee Chen:
“This is just another biased study from a former Obama staffer that ignores critical parts of Governor Romney’s tax reform program, which will help the middle class and promote faster economic growth. The study analyses only half of Governor Romney’s tax program, ignoring the reforms that would make America’s corporations more competitive by moving from the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world to one that is comparable to our trading partners. And the study ignores the positive benefits to economic growth from both the corporate tax plan and the deficit reduction called for in the Romney plan. These glaring gaps invalidate the report’s conclusions. Unfortunately, President Obama and his allies are simply trying to distract attention from his failed record on the economy. And now, President Obama is doubling down on those failed policies by pushing for $2 trillion in tax increases on working Americans and job creators. The American people know better than to fall for these distractions.”
This post has been updated to include the new statement from the Romney campaign.
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