Romney struggles with his own tax plan

A few months ago, soon after the “corporations are people” flap, Mitt Romney made an effort to appear moderate on tax policy. “I don’t want to waste time trying to get tax cuts for wealthy people because frankly, wealthy people are doing just fine,” the Republican presidential candidate said at the time.

Yesterday, he pushed this line again in an interview with a local TV interview in Tampa. “The policies I put forward are tax cuts for the middle class,” Romney said. “I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich.”

I can understand why Romney would make the claim; more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires isn’t exactly a winning issue when the vast majority of American voters want the exact opposite.

The problem, of course, is that Romney is either lying or he’s not familiar with his own proposals. Pat Garofalo said the candidate’s claim is “simply absurd on its face.”

His tax plan consists of $6.6 trillion in tax cuts, the vast majority of which goes to the wealthy and corporations. In fact, Romney dedicates an entire section of his economic plan to discussing elimination of the estate tax, which only the very richest households in the country ever have to pay (since, right now, an estate must be worth more than $5 million to pay any estate tax at all). Currently, more than half of the estate tax is paid by the richest 0.1 percent of households.

Meanwhile, Romney’s claim that his tax plan cuts taxes for the middle-class has little basis in reality. A ThinkProgress analysis found that the vast majority of middle-class households would get no benefit from Romney’s tax plan, since it’s based on a capital gains tax cut when most middle-class families have no capital gains.

That’s true, and we can go a little further. While Romney’s pitch is focused on “tax cuts for the middle class,” Romney has also said — repeatedly — that he considers it a “problem” that so many working families are not currently eligible to pay federal income taxes. Indeed, he recently told voters, “I think it’s a real problem when you have half of Americans, almost half of Americans, that are not paying income tax.” It’s a problem Romney intends to fix by raising taxes on those least able to afford it, while cutting taxes on those at the top.