| We've seen this year that Republicans are willing to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for cuts for the wealthy. And now that the details on Mitt Romney's tax plan are getting fleshed out, it's clear that his philosophy is no different.
The Obama campaign released an analysis showing how many middle-class families would experience tax increases under Romney's tax plan nationwide and by state, compared to how much these families saved during the first term of the Obama administration.
Nationwide, 158,856,000 middle-class families could face a tax increase under Romney's tax plan, averaging $2,000 for families with children. In Obama's first term, these families saw their taxes cut by an average of $3,600. In Texas, 10,650,000 middle-class families could face a tax increase under Romney's tax plan, averaging $2,000, compared to $3,514 in savings over the past four years.
The Obama campaign's analysis is based on Tax Policy Center estimates, which raise some questions about accuracy because of the fact that Romney's competing promises don't add up. How can the wealthy keep paying the same or more when the tax cuts he proposes are greater than the sum of all current tax expenditures for this group? How can a tax plan stay revenue neutral when the corporate tax rate is lowered to 25 percent? Once you get into the details, the answer to most of these is that you can't. Not without raising taxes elsewhere or making the kinds of cuts even Romney wouldn't be prepared to make. But so far he's had the luxury of largely avoiding the unpleasant exercise of naming exactly what would go on the chopping block. But he has named a few expenditures that would go: so far we know that he would let the American Opportunity tax credit for higher education, the expanded refundability of the child credit, and the expansion of the earned income tax credit (EITC) - all programs that have provided major tax relief to the middle class - expire. All this while lowering taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
At a recent fundraiser, Obama said of the plan, "It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood... [Republicans] believe that if they give more tax breaks to some of the wealthiest Americans. . . then somehow prosperity will rain down on everybody. That's their theory, where they will take us if they win."
Romney's disturbingly regressive tax plan comes in the wake of further evidence that income inequality is growing. According to the New York Times:
"The bounty from the economy's growth has largely flowed to a small slice of the population: the affluent...Since 1980, a household at the cutoff for the top 1/1,000th of earners - making about $1.5 million in 2010 - has received a pay increase of more than 100 percent, after adjusting for inflation. A household in the middle of the income distribution has received an inflation-adjusted raise of only 11 percent."
Despite the fact that wealthier Americans are faring better and better, these are the families and businesses who will be catching a break under the Romney tax plan - at the expense of everyone else.