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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 01:13 PM ET, 06/20/2012

Take your pick: GOP plans would either explode deficit, or hike taxes on middle class

That’s the conclusion of a new report Senate Dems released today — one that was reviewed by nonpartisan experts at the Tax Policy Center.

Mitt Romney and Republicans like Paul Ryan regularly benefit from what you might call a presumption of deficit hawkery. Their fiscal plans cut taxes in ways that disproportionately benefit the rich, without specifying what loopholes and deductions would be closed to pay for those tax cuts and keep the budget balanced. But polls regularly show Romney is trusted on the deficit, and many commentators regularly claim Ryan is Very Serious about fiscal matters.

The new report from Senate Dems is designed to break that hold on the discourse Republicans enjoy.

“This report will help change the debate and show that Republicans are far more concerned with lowering tax rates on the very wealthy than on reducing the deficit,” Schumer said on a conference call with reporters. “So far Romney and Ryan have gotten away with not having to answer tough questions about their plans.”

“This report pulls up the skirts,” Schumer said.

The report finds that the Ryan budget — which Romney has endorsed — would require the middle class to pay much more in taxes to keep it revenue neutral. The Ryan plan would cut the top rate from 35 percent and replace the tax code with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent. The report says the only way to make up those revenues would be by getting rid of deductions that would mean taxes would go up by $2,700 on households that make between $100,000 and $200,000 per year.

Republicans are arguing that the report is way premature, and that there may be other ways to make up the savings. A Ryan spokesman has now said he’s open to “changes” in the low capital gains tax.

I asked Roberton Williams of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center to assess the Dems’ claims. He said Dems were merely making assumptions about the deductions the Ryan plan would close. But he also noted that until the Romney and Ryan plans specify how they would pay for their tax cuts, they should be considered deficit busters. Williams:

“The Ryan plan as laid out is a revenue loser and would make it harder to bring the deficit under control. As laid out, both plans lose lots of revenues and would make the deficit worse.”

The larger context here is that Romney has embraced Ryan economics, and has openly suggested he sees no need to specify what loopholes and deductions he’d close to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy — for the duration of the election. There’s been some chatter today about that big Politico story lamenting that Campaign 2012 has been about trivial matters and suggesting reporters need to do a better job taking on the important questions at the heart of this election. This might be a good place to start.

By  |  01:13 PM ET, 06/20/2012

 
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