Romney’s tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

Back in August, Mitt Romney made a deliberate effort to appear moderate on taxes. “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.

In November, he pushed the same line in a television interview, arguing. “I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich.”

It’s perfectly understandable 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 shamelessly lying or he’s not familiar with his own policy agenda.

Taxes would fall for the country’s wealthiest and rise for a some of the poorest Americans under the tax plan proposed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, according to an analysis released today by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The reduced government revenue could widen the country’s budget deficit by at least $180 billion, according to the analysis of Romney’s 59-point, 160-page economic plan.

Derek Thompson put it this way: “The simplest way to conceive of Mitt Romney’s tax proposal is the Bush Tax Cuts on steroids.”

The Tax Policy Center’s analysis is online and well worth checking out. To briefly summarize, Romney would give the wealthy yet another significant boost by making the Bush-era cuts permanent, reducing the corporate tax rate, and repealing the estate tax. Those with the least, meanwhile, would take it on the chin: Romney would scrap all Obama-era tax breaks, including the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the American Opportunity tax credit for higher education, and the more generous child credit. The changes for those in the bottom 20% would see an annual increase of about $157 a year.

The bottom line: if you’re very wealthy, Romney intends to stuff more money in your pockets. If you’re already struggling, Romney intends to increase your tax burden.

Or put another way, the multi-millionaire who’s hiding his tax returns, owns a few mansions (one of which he’s quadrupling in size), and who got rich orchestrating leveraged buyouts and laying off thousands of American workers, has quite a policy agenda in mind for 2013: free rein for Wall Street, taking health coverage away from millions, slashing public investments that benefit working families, more foreclosures, tax increases on those already struggling, and tax cuts for the rich.

Oh, and a much higher deficit, too.

Here’s a question for reporters covering Romney: “Governor, when you said, ‘I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich,’ why would you tell voters something that isn’t true?”

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.