To let this man quiz you, click this: Last night, Chris Matthews attempted to discuss Mitt Romney’s tax proposal.
Almost surely, it’s the craziest proposal in modern campaign history. It had been two days since the Tax Policy Center released its latest study of the crazy proposal. The study had been reported in the New York Times and the Washington Post—and it was Chris’s featured topic!
But you know Chris! As he started to speak with Steven Moore, he still didn’t seem to know what Romney has proposed:
MATTHEWS (8/2/12): Let’s go to this question with Steve. Steve, what do you make of this report? And I want to make a couple points. The assumptions here are— Romney has laid out what he believes he can do, which is cut corporate rates, maintain the Bush tax cuts all the way up to the top of the income levels, and at the same time keep the total level of revenue equal to what it is if you didn`t do, make those changes.Earlier, reading from teleprompter, Matthews had given an accurate account of Romney’s proposal. Now, left on his own, he instantly slid down the hill.
And my question is, if you do that, keep the neutrality there, also get rid of the—make sure you've got the minimum tax removed and make sure that all the incentives for investment and saving are maintained, how do you all that and at the same time not reduce revenues or lay the new revenue responsibilities onto the middle class?
MOORE: Well, let me just respond to one thing that Bob said, if I may, Chris.
In that passage, he flatly misstated the Romney proposal, understating the degree of its lunacy. This gave Moore the chance to jump in with the good news:
MOORE: First of all, what the Romney plan basically says, Chris and Bob, is that 20 percent across-the-board reduction in tax rates for everybody. So there’s no—this fantasy that somehow the middle class is going to pay more. No, they're going pay less!It almost seemed to be true. Chris did seem to be thinking of the framework of maintaining the Bush tax cuts—and nothing more. The lunacy of Romney’s proposal comes when he says he will cut tax rates 20 percent below that! But so what? As soon as Matthews got off prompter, he showed no sign of understanding what Romney has proposed.
You're getting this confused with the Obama/Harry Reid plan that doesn't fix the AMT, where people next year are going to face a $2,000 tax increase if we don't do something about extending the Bush tax cuts.
Could Matthews possibly be this dense? Anyone who has watched him through the years will know the answer is yes. He never knows what he’s talking about. He just knows the scripts.
He knows which people he should call names. He rarely knows anything else.
Matthews seemed to be groaningly uninformed. That said, we had a similar reaction when we read this blog post by Jonathan Capehart.
The post appeared on August 1. The new study about Romney’s tax proposal still had not appeared.
But the basic outline of Romney’s proposal has been known for some time. Except to Jonathan Capehart, or so it would appear:
CAPEHART (8/1/12): As the New York Times reports this morning, Romney’s “candidacy remains tested by concerns over his business background and his reluctance to release more of his tax returns.” Both of these issues get to his credibility for some voters. The sustained attacks by the Obama campaign on Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital have helped that concern along. Romney’s own refusal to release more of than two years of his tax returns are contributing to the view that he has something to hide. And I contend that all of this is making it difficult for Romney’s economic message to break through.Good God.
Why should voters trust his plans for job creation if his tenure at Bain was about cutting jobs or shipping them overseas? Why should voters trust him to fix the tax code in a manner that would be fair to all and not simply the wealthy like him?
Capehart noted that Romney hasn’t released a shitload of tax returns. For that reason, he posed this question: “Why should voters trust him to fix the tax code in a manner that would be fair to all and not simply the wealthy like him?”
Capehart didn’t seem to know that Romney has already proposed “to fix the tax code” in a way which massively favors “the wealthy like him.” In his small pundit mind, Capehart wanted to see Romney’s returns so he could speculate about what Romney might want to do with taxes.
Romney has already said what he’d do—and it isn’t pretty. Capehart didn’t seem to know that.
Capehart is one of the genuine flyweights in the emerging “brat pack.” A few years ago, he had one outstanding trait—he was humble, polite, unassuming, non-pompous. By now, he has become so swollen with greatness that he even gives quizzes to us rubes at the end of each week.
That’s the ultimate sign.
Can we talk? Pundits like to speculate. They prefer to imagine what might be true. They prefer speculation to knowledge. They enjoy mucking around in tax returns (or in tales about dogs), using them as a way of figuring out what they should already know as an obvious matter of fact.
Romney had long since told the world what he would do with the tax code. Jonathan Capehart still hadn’t heard—or he preferred to pretend.
To let this man quiz you, click this.
Life in these United States: Steven Moore got his start as head of The Club for Growth. But it's often confused with The Hair Club for Men, so he gave up and went to the Journal.