Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mittwitt's Swiss Cheese "Tax Plan"

 Indivisible, Invisible, With A Forecast of Pain For All

Mittwitt has long been known as the "Chairman of the Bored", unable  to connect with much of middle of the road Americans and nearly all of the disenfranchised urban poor, and with good reason. His campaign strategy to include his newly emphasized "Tax Plan" has been to craft and say as little as possible and just hope that our economy falls flat and he can step right into the office. Trouble is, his tax policy has more holes in it than the loopholes which he advocates will pay for the entire budget. 

  His approach of seeking to apply his CEO approach to governing has been largely a failure since Massachusetts. One of the reasons for this failure of a businessman to maintain a political legacy is his unatural fit. The corporate need for dominance in all matters of leadership, only a short term planning cycle, and operations is not compatible with governance. As has been historically known, few businessmen has sought the presidency, much less been effective in that office. 

 His newly chosen hobby to try and surpass his father's achievements may even be compared to Bush W's probable desire to "finish" the Gulf War and avenge Saddam's threat on his father's life. But that's for another psychohistorical study to determine, although conquering SW Asia has been a stated objective of all Bushie necons. What is directly parallel here is masquerading an imaginary tax plan based solely on ideology. 

This even sounds like pure fantasy, or more specifically, what a management consultant would say to sell his services to a client: " "My own plan, by the way, to bring down the rates of taxation while maintaining the revenues that come into the government is by making sure that we don't lower taxes on high income people. We're not going to have high income people pay less of the tax burden than they pay today. That's not what's going to happen. I do want to bring taxes down for middle income people. In particular I want middle income Americans not to have to pay taxes on interest and dividends and capital gains." (Heather 2012) Is his client here "the regular guy" ? 

(Heather 2012) “People at the high end, high income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. Those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise they’d get a tax break,” Romney said on “Meet the Press” airing on NBC today. “And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high income taxpayers.” More "high sell" technique. 

(Heather 2012) "DAVID GREGORY: So Governor, we talked last night about jobs and the economy and also the debt. And I want to begin there. You've called the debt and our deficit a moral crisis, and yet in addition to extending the Bush tax cuts you want to cut tax rates an additional 20%. You've rejected a 10 to one spending ratio when it comes to spending to increasing taxes. And, yet, you want to balance the budget. The math simply doesn't add up, does it?'

(Heather 2012) "MITT ROMNEY: Well, actually, it does. And the good news is that five different economic studies, including one at Harvard and Princeton and AEI and a couple at The Wall Street Journal all show that if we bring down our top rates and actually go across the board, bring down rates for everyone in America, but also limit deductions and exemptions for people at the high end, why, you can keep the progressivity in the code, you can remain revenue neutral and you create an enormous incentive for growth of the economy."

This is clearly, or not so clearly all smoke and mirrors as the interview drones on. (Reason 2012) His reference to studies includes no specifics, nothing about which loopholes he's going to close, intends on raising the defense budget just as the Bushies did in the last administration while starting two wars, making massive tax cuts and passing the Medicare Part "D" prescription plan, ALL unpaid for.

There are those who disagree with the studies made "in support" of Mittwitt's thesis such as the Harvard economist Martin Feldstein: "So here’s where we are: It might be mathematically possible to make Romney’s plan work by sharply increasing taxes on people making between $100,000 and $200,000 so you could cut them on very rich taxpayers. It’s not possible to make the numbers add up if you refuse to raise taxes on people making less than $200,000." (Klein 2012)

"(Klein 2012) "In my view, TPC’s assumptions are closer to those of others in the political system, and so I’m sticking with “mathematically impossible” as the correct descriptor for Romney’s promise. That said, there would be an easy way for Romney to end this debate: He could come out with a plan saying exactly what he’ll do, or even just a set of principles — like no tax increases on anyone making less than $100,000 — that gives us a hint of how he makes the numbers work."

Even David Stockman, the former Reagan budget director and implementarian of "trickle down economics" (Tristam 2010) has chimed in with condemnation of the R & R shenanigans:

"Thirty years of Republican apostasy — a once grand party’s embrace of the welfare state, the warfare state and the Wall Street-coddling bailout state — have crippled the engines of capitalism and buried us in debt." (Stockman2012)

(Stockman 2012) "A true agenda to reform the welfare state would require a sweeping, income-based eligibility test, which would reduce or eliminate social insurance benefits for millions of affluent retirees. Without it, there is no math that can avoid giant tax increases or vast new borrowing. Yet the supposedly courageous Ryan plan would not cut one dime over the next decade from the $1.3 trillion-per-year cost of Social Security and Medicare."

(Stockman 2012)"Instead, it shreds the measly means-tested safety net for the vulnerable: the roughly $100 billion per year for food stamps and cash assistance for needy families and the $300 billion budget for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Shifting more Medicaid costs to the states will be mere make-believe if federal financing is drastically cut."

"In his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney has proposed permanently extending the 2001-03 tax cuts, further cutting individual income tax rates, broadening the tax base by reducing tax preferences, eliminating taxation of investment income of most individual taxpayers, reducing the corporate income tax, eliminating the estate tax, and repealing the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and the taxes enacted in 2010’s health reform legislation. The Tax Policy Center (TPC) has completed a preliminary analysis of the Romney plan, based on information posted on the campaign website and email exchanges with campaign policy advisors. Because we have received no details on proposals to reduce tax preferences, the TPC analysis does not include those proposals." (TPC 2012)

So after examining the TPC analysis and Mittwitt's statements, it appears that his tax plan is quite contradictory and as full of holes as cheese named after the Swiss who run his UBS account in Zurich. Keeping the same revenue stream while implementing the stated rate cuts would burden the middle class with a tremendous tax hike. Similarly an implementation without raising taxes on the middle class would cause another huge spike in the deficit. Mittwitt is known to be unpredictable but this very unpredictability and holding his policy details close to his chest are not going to endear him with the voters.

"Mr. Romney’s tax proposal is built on three central pillars. He has pledged that he will cut all of the marginal tax rates by 20 percent — so the top tax rate would fall to 28 percent from 35 percent, and the bottom tax rate would fall to 8 percent from 10 percent. That by itself would reduce the government’s revenue by hundreds of billions of dollars a year." (Lowrey, Kocieniewski 2012)

(Lowrey, Kocieniewski 2012) "Second, Mr. Romney has promised that his plan will be 'revenue neutral,' meaning it would pay for those rate reductions by clearing out the underbrush of loopholes and credits in the tax code.
But it has refused to detail which tax expenditures it would cut, leaving economists and other tax experts guessing and making a definitive analysis of its effects on families, businesses and the economy close to impossible.

(Lowrey, Kocieniewski 2012) "Third, and finally, the Romney campaign has said that it would not raise taxes on the middle class. The problem, tax analysts say, is that it is mathematically impossible do all three of those things.
High-income earners would pay far less as tax rates fell. Even if the Romney campaign eliminated every one of their noninvestment tax breaks and credits, rich families would still not pay what they do today."

(Lowrey, Kocieniewski 2012) "William Gale, director of economic studies at the Brookings Institution, tells them, 'The combination of stuff they've specified is not only impossible; it is impossible several times over.' Many independent analysts contend that the only way to raise the revenue Mr. Romney is talking about would be to eliminate breaks like the preferential treatment of investment income or the mortgage-interest deduction."

“On ABC's ‘This Week’ roundtable Sunday, conservative columnist George Will questioned the mathematical soundness of the Romney-Ryan tax cut plan. It's estimated to cost trillions of dollars but Mitt Romney vows that it will be revenue neutral by closing unspecified loopholes on high-income taxpayers.” (Kapur 2012)

(Kapur 2012) "There is uncertainty surrounding the Romney-Ryan tax cut plan, because they have not specified the deductions that will be closed,’ Will said. ‘And we know where the big money is: mortgage interest deductions, charitable deductions, taxing that's compensation, which it is, employee-provided health insurance, and state and local taxes. All of those, you either hit only the rich, in which case you don't get much money, or you hit the middle class."

Numerous other economists such as Paul Krugman and others such as David Kay Johnston are also critical of Mittwitt's tax plan: ""All the Republicans have the same basic strategy: reduce taxes on people who are already wealthy, and take away tax benefits for poor people, particularly who are striving to try and get out of their poverty, and restrict tax benefits for people who are workers in the middle class," says David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who writes about tax issues for Reuters. "Romney’s plan is George W. Bush’s plan on steroids." (Goodman, Democracynow.org, 2012)

 (Goodman 2012) "George W. Bush gave 12.5 percent of his tax cuts to the top 10th of 1 percent. Romney’s plan gives a third of the tax cuts to the top 10th of 1 percent. And Romney’s plan gives 57 percent of the total cuts in his package to the top 1 percent. That’s people who make more than about $400,000 a year. It’s astonishing how heavily weighted it is to the top. Under his plan, there would be no estate tax and no gift tax, which means that very wealthy families can move money around freely, pass it from one generation to the next." 

And Mittwitt also endorses the budget plan of his VP "Lyin' Ryan", as he is known. Read this link and you'll understand how much an evil twin this component really is, and how it attempts to even hide massive social cuts in plain sight, right under the public's nose: 

“In an interview days after Romney announced on a Saturday that he had picked Ryan, George Lemieux said, “Based on what Romney did this weekend, I would not vote for him.’Lemieux, a 67-year-old Vietnam War veteran who spent 26 years in the Army, declared that ‘Ryan wants to decimate Medicare; he wants to decimate the V.A. I have a brother who is dependent on V.A. disability, and he wants to cut it out entirely.” (Edsall 2012)

(Edsall 2012) “The Ryan budget will kill everybody,’ said Aura-Lee Nicodemus, another woman I met, who works at the V.A. Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt. and is active in the advocacy organization, Disabled American Veterans. ‘I’m a registered Republican and I can’t vote for Romney. His actions speak louder than words.”

The timing of Mittwitt's tax policy announcement so late in the campaign's end game, and it's complete lack of detail and nary a number, is not something unplanned. This is what he does, play expert shell games and corporate takeovers so that only his solely held corporation's shareholders take the icing off the cake. And in this game, the shareholders are his Daddy Warbucks backers who are the real investors and the only ones able to shovel in campaign contributions like Monopoly money and hoard their real stash until after the election, not the American people. (Ed Shultz 2012)


(Goodman 2012)




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