Ed Gillespie went on TV this morning and said Mitt Romney would only reveal the details of his tax plan after he’s sworn into office as President. That alone should be enough to disqualify him, though I confess I’m not holding my breath. But I’m seeing a number of reports that suggest the only issue is specificity. As in The Hill reporting that Ed Gillespie is “defending the GOP nominee against criticisms that his tax-cutting plan lacks specifics.”
But this is lazy and misleading to voters. Specifics are always helpful. But specifics aren’t really the issue here. Every independent expert — really any experts at all — who’s looked at Romney’s plan says that the math simply doesn’t work. You can’t cut rates by 20% for the highest income earners and then make up the lost revenue by closing loopholes and deductions unless you dramatically hike taxes for middle income families. That’s the conclusion of the most comprehensive study of the plan.
And, let’s be honest, this isn’t because Romney or his advisors are bad at math. It’s because they’re lying, trying to get elected based on a fraud.
Then just yesterday Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation reported that their study showed cutting all the deductions and loopholes would only pay for a 4% cut in rates. 4% vs 20%. Not the same. Read the article because there’s an argument that the JCT might not be using precisely the same assumptions as Romney. But the mammoth difference in those two numbers gives you a sense of the nonsense Romney’s peddling. (If you want a really deep dive into how these numbers can’t work, see this piece by Josh Barro.)
Romney is in the habit of saying there are “six studies” which validate his math. But those are mainly articles and blog posts from his supporters which in most cases don’t even themselves back up his math.
This central claim of his campaign is a fraud. People are pressing for details because he’s saying 2 + 2 = 6 and that should make people suspicious. Reporters shouldn’t gloss over these points.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.