Let’s face it: neither candidate in this race can be trusted to deliver a good unscripted pitch for their tax plan.
Back in July, while he was making the case for higher taxes on small businesses, President Obama famously told a rally in Roanoke, Virginia, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Now Romney has his own tax related gaffe. In a video secretly recorded at a fundraiser in May, and just released Monday, Romney said:
There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. . . . These are people who pay no income tax.
Pressed to defend the video on Fox News, Romney hit back with another Obama quote, this time from 1998, where Obama admits, “I actually believe in redistribution.” Romney then added, “Those that think government’s job is to redistribute, I’m not going to get them.”
As imperfect as both messengers are, Obama and Romney are actually engaging a substantive and timely policy debate on both taxes and welfare.
Obama believes the federal government does not do enough to redistribute the economic surplus of the world’s best economy. So he wants to expand our existing entitlement programs (especially Medicaid) and create a brand new one: Obamacare. More importantly, Obama wants Americans to believe this can all be paid for by raising taxes on the rich. The middle class won’t have to pay a dime under his plan, Obama says.
Romney believes that our existing entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) are all ready bankrupting this country and that adding a fourth entitlement program to the list, Obamacare, an explicitly middle class entitlement program, is sheer fiscal lunacy. He also wants to simplify the tax code while keeping overall tax burdens at historical norms.
So far, Obama seems to be making the better case. Every day he is hitting Romney with television ads in swing states claiming that Romney will raise taxes on the middle class. Romney hasn’t adequately explained why this is pure fantasy. He should take this opportunity to reassure the middle class that he would never let their tax burden rise.
But he should also take the opportunity to expose the fundamental lie at the core of Obama’s argument: we simply cannot afford Obama’s spending plans without raising taxes on the middle class.
Don’t believe Obama’s campaign is based on a lie? Just ask his former budget director Peter Orszag who wrote in Bloomberg after he left the administration: “It is difficult to see how the medium-term federal deficit can be reduced to sustainable levels without additional tax revenues from those earning less than $250,000 a year.”
Or ask Obama’s legislative affairs director Rob Nabors who admitted to Bob Woodward, “You could raise all the taxes you want on millionaires…and it would never raise enough.”
Yes, Obama does want to redistribute wealth. But not just from rich to poor. The middle class is also on Obama’s menu. Romney should tell them that.
From The Washington Examiner
Byron York: Romney lopes along as Dems run for their lives
Phil Klein: Why Romney’s ’47 percent’ comments were problematic even though they won’t kill his chances
Tim Carney: Do Bernanke’s inflation measures help the rich at the expense of the poor?
Paul Bedard: 80 million hours needed to tackle Obamacare tax rules
Charlie Spiering: Team Obama releases video of voters reacting to Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comments
Polls: A new Gallup poll of 12 swing states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) shows Obama up by just two points over Romney 48 percent to 46 percent. That same poll showed 22% of voters could change their mind before election day.
A new Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll shows Obama beating Romney by 50 percent to 46 percent in Virginia, 51 percent to 46 percent in Wisconsin, and 48 percent to 47 percent in Colorado.
A new NBC/WSJ poll purports to show that Obama is beating Romney 50 percent to 45 percent.
A new Washington Post poll shows Obama up 52 percent to 44 percent in Virginia.
In Other News
Chicago Tribune, Chicago teachers end strike, classes resume Wednesday: Delegates for the Chicago Teachers Union voted Tuesday to call off their seven-day strike, sending some 350,000 public schools students back to class Wednesday morning and ending the daily scene of teachers dressed in red picketing their schools.
Gallup, Romney Has Support Among Lowest Income Voters: Although President Barack Obama has a substantial voting edge over Republican Mitt Romney among low-income Americans, Romney still gets about a third of the vote among those whose household incomes are less than $24,000 a year. Although Romney does better on the other end of the income scale, Obama gets the support of more than four in 10 Americans who make $180,000 a year or more.
The Washington Post, Taliban’s new strategy focuses more on high-profile assaults, less on territory: As U.S. and NATO forces have evicted insurgents from a broad swath of southern Afghanistan, senior Taliban commanders have shifted toward a new battlefield strategy, one less focused on reclaiming lost territory and more on winning the next phase of the 11-year-old war.
The New York Times, Russia Demands U.S. End Support of Democracy Groups: Russia has ordered the United States to end its financial support for a wide range of pro-democracy, public health and other civil society programs here, in an aggressive step by the Kremlin to halt what it views as American meddling in its internal affairs.
At The Corner, Yuval Levin tries to explain, “What Romney Said, and What He Didn’t.”
At Reason, Nick Gillespie asks, “Should We Be Concerned That 49 Percent of Households Get Government Money?”
At Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru argues “The Right Is Wrong to Pin Obama’s Edge on Welfare State.”
The Center for American Progress claims that if elected, Mitt Romney would kill 21,600 people.
The Daily Beast‘s David Frum on “The Sinister Message Behind Romney’s ‘gaffe’.”
Talking Points Memo‘s Benjy Sarlin argues that Romney’s Middle East riot response did “real damage” to his favorability ratings.