The Romney tax ‘plan’ and election strategy

During the campaign and the debates, whenever the Romney-Ryan camp has been repeatedly told that there is no way that they can find ways to balance the budget if they give an across-the-board cut in the marginal tax rates by 20%, unless they raise taxes on the middle class in other ways, such as eliminating the deductions that benefit that group more. They have countered that six studies have shown that it can be done.

Josh Barro of the business publication Bloomberg News takes a look in detail at the six ‘studies’ (four of them are either blog posts or newspaper op-eds, hardly ‘studies’ in the accepted sense of the term) and finds that all of them have flaws or implausible assumptions. He concludes:

There you have the six “studies” on which the Romney campaign has based its defense of Romney’s tax plan. Individually and collectively they fail the task.

Finally, I would note one item that the Romney campaign does not cite in support of its tax plan: Any analysis actually prepared for the campaign in preparation for announcing the plan in February. You would expect that, in advance of announcing a tax plan, the campaign would commission an analysis to make sure that all of its planks can coexist. Releasing that analysis now would be to the campaign’s advantage, helping them put down claims like mine that their math doesn’t add up.

Why don’t they release that analysis? My guess is because the analysis doesn’t exist, and the 20 percent rate cut figure was plucked out of thin air for political reasons without regard to whether it was feasible.

That sounds plausible to me. This is part of the general Romney strategy that The Onion captured precisely, which is to lie so brazenly and so often that it catches people off-guard.

“The best part is, it’s really easy to lie,” said Romney, who added that voicing whatever untruths come into his mind at any given moment is an easy thing to do because all it requires is opening his mouth and talking. “For example, if someone accuses me of having a tax plan that makes no discernable sense, I just lie and say that I do have a tax plan that makes sense. I also say there is a study that backs up my plan. See that? Simple. None of it is remotely true, of course, but now we’re moving on to the next topic because people are usually too afraid to ask me straight up if I’m lying, because that is apparently not something you ask someone who is running for president.”

Moreover, Romney said, if anyone does accuse him of lying, he will simply say he is not lying, which he noted is just an extension of the overall strategy.

Romney’s campaign advisers said that they adopted the strategy of lying a lot after realizing several things: (1) Lying sounds good, especially when the truth sounds bad, (2) the American media doesn’t care if you lie, (3) the American people don’t care if you lie, and (4) it’s okay to lie if you are very, very desperate to become the president of the United States.

Once again, comedians are the ones telling the truth.


  1. slc1 says

    Michael Heath over at the Dispatches blog identified 64 lies that Romney told during his joint news conference with Obama. Of course, the lamestream media is too busy declaring Obama the loser of that debate to analyze Romney’s lies.

    Another example of the total superficiality of the lamestream media is the focus on Biden’s smiles during the joint news conference with Ryan. Even the New York times had a front page article on the subject. This is nothing but a distraction on the part of Romney’s handlers to excuse the fact that Ryan got his head handed to him. It would appear that Ryan is not as good a liar or Gish galloper as Romney is.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the 20 percent rate cut figure was plucked out of thin air for political reasons …

    “Thin air”? Never heard it called that before.

  3. slc1 says

    Re Pierce R. Butler @ #2

    Actually, it would be more accurate to say that Romney plucked it out of his posterior orifice.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    slc1 @ # 3 – That, I’ve heard it called before.

    Doubts remain as to whether it was Romney’s p.o., or whether he was the one to pluck it.


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