Romney's regressive tax plan

Romney's tax plan takes from the middle to give to the rich; the super PAC kings; and other top Thursday stories

By Alex Seitz-Wald
Published August 2, 2012 12:41PM (EDT)
    (AP/Charles Dharapak/Salon/Benjamin Wheelock)
(AP/Charles Dharapak/Salon/Benjamin Wheelock)

Romney-hood: President Obama opened a potent new line of attack on Mitt Romney yesterday, seizing on a new report showing that Romney’s tax plan would help the rich and raise taxes on the middle class. “Folks making more than $3 million a year — the top one-tenth of 1 percent — they would get a tax cut under Mr. Romney’s plan that is worth almost a quarter of a million dollars,” Obama said at a campaign stop in Ohio yesterday. “Hold on, it gets worse. My opponent says he’s going to pay for this $5 trillion plan. But under this plan, guess who gets the bill for these $250,000 tax cuts? You do. And you don’t have to take my word for it.”

Indeed, a new report from the Tax Policy Center, a well-respected nonpartisan project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, found that for Romney to pay for extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, along with the new tax cuts he wants to implement, he would have to eliminate tax credits that disproportionately help the middle-class. Romney’s policy “would boost after-tax income by an average of 4.1 percent for those earning more than $1 million a year, while reducing by an average of 1.2 percent the after-tax income of individuals earning less than $200,000," the report found.

Hard to wriggle out of this: The Romney campaign offered no substantive pushback against the report, but instead challenged its authors' authority, accusing them of having a liberal bias because one had served as an economic adviser to President Obama (the other was an adviser to President George H.W. Bush). But Romney himself had praised the work of the same think tank as “objective, third-party analysis” during the primary when they produced a negative report of Rick Perry’s tax plan.

The 9/11 of women's health: Yesterday was the day that the controversial new women's health mandate went into effect, which requires insurance companies to provide contraception and other preventive health services cost-free to women. Women’s health advocates were thrilled, but not Republican Rep. Mike Kelly, an opponent of the mandate, who compared it to some of America’s darkest days. "I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that's Pearl Harbor day.  The other is September 11th, and that's the day of the terrorist attack. I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates,” Kelly said at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

The new 1 percenters: Just 47 people account for 57 percent of the money raised by super PACs from individuals, according to a new report from Demos and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. That means each of them is, on average, responsible for more than 1 percent of overall super PAC funding. “Just over 1,000 donors (or 0.00035% of the population) giving $10,000 or more were responsible for 94% of this fundraising,” the report adds.

Syriana: President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing American support for the Syrian rebels, Reuters scoops. Obama's order “broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust” President Assad. The existence of the order had been suspected earlier, but we know more about it now. While it apparently stops short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, it authorizes other kinds of help, including supplying communications equipment. Just yesterday, the rebels seized government tanks in a battle.

Alex Seitz-Wald

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2012 Elections Mitt Romney Taxes