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Right Turn
Posted at 02:16 PM ET, 08/16/2012

Punch and counterpunch for the Romney-Ryan ticket

Appearing in Ohio Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) showed no sign of letting up on Medicare:

Ryan is also getting more comfortable batting back efforts form the press to quiz him on the differences between the House budget and the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan. In an interview with local press here’s how he handled it (at the 1:24 mark):

Ryan, was selected in part because of his ability to explain his policies and dismiss the misrepresentations thrown out by the Obama camp and the media. But Romney is learning too. On the topic of his tax reform, Romney was able to forcefully push back on the left-wing Tax Policy Center study (which Right Turn, think tanks and other media outlets have debunked) in an interview with Fortune magazine:

Question: The Tax Policy Center says your revenue-neutral tax-cut scheme lowers the overall tax burden on the rich and raises it on the poor and middle class. Your advisor Eric Ferhnstrom calls their analysis a “joke.” What’s your response?
Romney: I indicated as I announced my tax plan that the key principles included the following. First, that high-income people would continue to pay the same share of the tax burden that they do today. And second, that there would be a reduction in taxes paid by middle-income taxpayers. Those are the key principles of my plan that the Tax Policy Center chose to ignore. Instead they made various assumptions about what they thought I would do which are not in fact accurate. They made an assumption that I would reduce the home mortgage-interest deduction. I will not do that for middle-income taxpayers, as I have already indicated. There’s an old expression in the computer world: garbage in, garbage out. They made garbage assumptions and they reached a garbage conclusion. My tax policy will continue to have a very clear direction. We are not going reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income individuals, and we’re certainly not going to increase the taxes paid by middle-income taxpayers.
Now interestingly the same center did an analysis of President Obama’s tax plan and concluded that he’s raising taxes on the middle-class. I would note that if he’s reelected he will in fact raise taxes on the middle class. Obamacare is a tax. It’s been so determined by the Supreme Court, and it falls predominantly on the middle class. Other measures that relate to providers of health products -- taxes on those products -- will also be borne by the people who use those products, and they are overwhelmingly people in the middle-class. President Obama raises taxes on the middle class. I will under no circumstances raise taxes on the middle class.
Question: Specifically what tax loopholes would you close and what exemptions would you eliminate to make the revenue-neutral equation work?
Romney: Simpson-Bowles laid out a formula that shows that you can do just as I described. That you can bring down the rates, limit deductions and exemptions for people at the high end, and with additional growth that comes by virtue of the stimulative action you can reach a balanced budget. I will follow a model similar to Simpson-Bowles and work with Congress to identify which of the alternative methods we should apply to reduce deductions, benefits, and exemptions. Those reductions will occur for people at the high end. I have noted before my commitment to preserve tax preferences for middle-income taxpayers such as homeownership, charitable giving and health care.

That’s about the most effective and succinct rebuttal we’ve heard yet. And it suggests that the Romney team has figured out the lines of attack and begun to prepare responses. Fortunately for them, Ryan and Romney are both talented at calmly explaining their views. But unfortunately, no matter how many times they explain it, the Obama team won’t stop repeating their mischaracterizations, nor will the media echo chamber. Indeed, the more this race becomes about two contrasting visions, the more the media has a vested stake in putting its collective thumb on the scale in favor of bigger, more centralized government.

By  |  02:16 PM ET, 08/16/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign, Budget, Obamacare, Taxes

 
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