Halloween and Mitt Romney’s “proposal:” On Monday, the Washington Post published an editorial battering Romney’s tax proposal.
Check that! The Post battered Romney’s “tax proposal.” This is part of what the editors said, starting with the headline:
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (10/29/12): Mr. Romney’s tax plan still doesn’t add upThere was more, but you get the picture. Romney has made tax cut proposals which would cost the treasury $5 trillion. At best, he has come up with one-quarter as much—$1.3 trillion—in offsetting adjustments to loopholes and deductions.
In a letter published on this page last week, Pierce Scranton, economic policy director for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, took issue with an editorial describing the "implausibility" of Mr. Romney's tax plan. In the debates and other recent comments, Mr. Romney has taken to suggesting that one way to make his $5 trillion tax cut revenue-neutral would be to "pick a number"—say $25,000—and let taxpayers take that much, and no more, in deductions. The Tax Policy Center, analyzing that proposal, found that it would close only $1.3 trillion of Mr. Romney's newly dug revenue hole. And no matter how many times the Romney campaign insists that independent studies "have demonstrated the Romney plan works," that simply isn't true—not with the parameters (revenue neutrality and no tax increases for those making less than $200,000) that Mr. Romney has set, and not unless you assume economic growth far greater than that predicted by Mr. Romney's own advisers.
Romney’s proposal for cuts in tax rates was first made in late February. (Although Obama kept saying, at the first debate, that Romney had been pushing the proposal for two years. Did he really think that at that point?) From that day to this, neither liberals nor the mainstream press have conveyed the depth of the fraud involved in this pseudo-proposal.
The editors refer to their previous statement, in which they cited the proposal’s “implausibility.” But Romney’s pseudo-proposal isn’t “implausible.” The proposal is what it always was, a manifest act of fraud.
On August 1, the Tax Policy Center released a study in which it declared that the proposal was “not mathematically possible.” But that formulation also failed to capture the size of the fraud.
(Saying the Romney plan “doesn’t add up” utterly fails to capture the size of the deception involved here. Many proposals don't add up. This half-dead turkey doesn't even begin to get anywhere close.)
Just think about it! The editors refer to a new study which finds that Romney’s newest “idea” could only offset about one-fourth of his proposed tax reductions! That's twenty-five cents on the dollar! And a few weeks earlier, a report by the Joint Committee on Taxation found that the initial iteration of Romney’s “proposal” would only allow him to lower tax rates by four percent.
He had said twenty percent! At most, he could manage four! And that would require dumping deductions which would be hard to dump.
The liberal world has utterly failed to describe this “proposal” as what it is—as an act of fraud on the public. Let’s make a comparison with the Bush tax cut proposal of Campaign 2000:
In December 1999, Candidate Bush proposed a large set of tax cuts. (They were about one-third as large as Romney's set of proposals.) He said this was a good way to use the budget surpluses which were being projected for the upcoming ten years.
Many liberals thought this was a bad idea. But Bush's proposal made perfect sense as a simple matter of logic. In particular, Bush didn’t pretend he had some magic way to offset the revenue loss. He simply said that he would dispose of projected surpluses this way.
It may have been a bad idea. But it wasn’t a con game, a fraud.
Twelve years later, Romney came forward with a proposal which was, in fact, a fraud. The background:
Romney made his proposal at a time when every other Republican candidate had a crazy tax cut proposal. Presumably, he came up with his pseudo-proposal so he could make it sound like he was proposing giant tax cuts too—although he also said, in other settings, that he would offset the revenue loss by dumping those tax deductions.
We liberals never quite got around to telling the voters that this was a fraud. We never pushed the nation’s editors to tell the truth about this.
All summer long, we clowned about Romney’s horses and dogs. Gail Collins kept stroking herself about Seamus. On the One True Liberal Channnel, the children gamboled and played. At one point, Lawrence even tried to get in a fight with Tagg!
This act of fraud is now eight months old. The best the Post can say is “implausible”—and the Post has pushed harder in this area than we liberals have!
As usual, the liberal world slept and snored concerning Romney’s proposal. We had to wait until August 1 before a think tank declared that the plan was “not mathematically possible.”
That statement, however damning, was itself a large understatement.
Question: Has any major political tribe ever been as lazy, as useless, as we modern liberals are? Is there anything our leaders ever noticed or arranged to get right? Anything in the past twenty years?
We don’t mean this as a criticism of the editors of the Post. When it comes to Romney’s pseudo-proposal, they have pushed harder than we liberals have. But then, we liberals are utterly feckless—have been for a long while.
Tonight, the nation’s actual children are dressing up as people they aren’t. So it was with Candidate Romney when he made his “tax proposal.”
“Treat and trick,” he should have yelled. But alas! The hopeful got to continue his clownish charade all through the rest of the year.