February 28, 2012

Romney: “obviously, I want to make sure that we maintain the progressivity of the code”

Yes, obviously. Because that’s what “severely conservative” candidates do: maintain “progressivity” — or, to put a finer point on it, maintain one of the 10 planks in the Communist Manifesto, the graduated income tax.

CNS:

Romney has a long record of opposing a flat tax–even investing more than $50,000 of his own money during the 1996 presidential campaign to run newspapers ads attacking then-presidential candidate Steve Forbes’s flat-tax proposal as a “tax cut for fat cats.”

“What about the argument that you’re saying the same class warfare?” Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Romney. “And you hear this from a lot of people. The Wall Street Journal, which generally liked your plan, says it’s the same old Obama class war argument. Yes, you’re going to reduce capital gains taxes for the middle class, not for the rich.”

[...]

In questioning Romney about his plan, Wallace said critics say he is “playing the Obama class war game.”

“Well, we have a progressive tax code right now, and what I’m talking about are pretty significant reductions in tax across the board,” said Romney. “And the reason I’m talking about those marginal tax reductions across the board is to create incentives for small businesses to start growing and hiring again.

“I’m not trying to change the progressivity of the code,” said Romney. “I’m not trying to say that one group or another is going to get a better deal. But what I’m trying to do is to make sure that under no circumstances is the middle class going to end up with a larger share of the tax burden.

“It’s absolutely essential to me as a guiding principle that middle income Americans don’t get hit with a bigger share of the burden,” said Romney. “That’s the point that I’m making and I’m going to make sure that as we add it all up, that the middle income Americans are not getting a bigger burden.”

Wallace then asked Romney about the Wall Street Journal saying it “generally liked your plan” but “says it’s the same old Obama class war argument.”

“Well, obviously, I want to make sure that we maintain the progressivity of the code,” said Romney. “And I want to help people who I think have been most hurt by the Obama economy–and that’s middle income Americans.

[my emphases]

In other words, Romney is hoping to match Obama’s pander to “the middle class” (which in Obama’s case is an attempt to position himself as the champion of that he’s seeking to destroy) — and in so doing, is providing yet another example of the GOP establishment’s ceding the narrative to the left, and trying to assume the electoral role of Democrat-Lite.

As I’ve argued for nearly a year now, the best way to blunt Obama’s “fairness” attacks on “the rich” is to bring the idea of a flat tax to the debates: a flat tax requires that those who make more pay more, though they do so by paying (in theory) the same rate as everyone else. A flat tax, too, would end the messiness of the tax code, and do away with all the tax loopholes that tend to benefit businesses like GE, while not particularly benefiting the small businesses that provide most of the country’s jobs.

What can be considered more fair than everyone paying the same percentage — that is, than everyone being viewed as equal before the law? What can be more “fair” than a completely simplified tax code that would maintain government revenues, require that everyone have “some skin in the game” (as Joe Biden himself calls for!), and that, as a matter of simple math would require that those who make more pay more by virtue of their having more income to tax?

Once again, Romney — the severe conservative — is showing himself to be anything but. Instead, he is a polished political pragmatist looking to a laundry list of stances to take that he believes make him most electable. Principle has little to do with it.

And that’s just not good enough anymore. For me.

Your mileage may vary.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:43am
59 comments | Trackback

Comments (59)

  1. Semi-on topic (in that we’re bitchin about Romney): Rush really just shredded him with his own words. Romney equated criticizing Obama with setting his own hair on fire. Which, by implication, means that Romney sees the GOP base as mob of knuckle-draggers looking to be amused.

    Probably because there’s no bear-baiting or cock-fights on the schedule.

  2. “Progressivity”? Is that even a word?

  3. I’m going to vote in just a few minutes. I just want the phone calls to end.

  4. Vote often , Carin.

  5. Early voting in IL primary starts tomorrow, I believe. Since Cain left, I’m going to vote for Santorum, right after I flip off the Romney name on the ballot screen.

  6. Mitt Romney or Ron Paul thanks you for your vote Colonel.

    (given that it’s Illinois)

  7. A question for the more economically literate amongst us.

    Quoth Mitt Romney (who, it so happens, has extensive private sector experience):

    “I’m not trying to change the progressivity of the code,” said Romney. “I’m not trying to say that one group or another is going to get a better deal. But what I’m trying to do is to make sure that under no circumstances is the middle class going to end up with a larger share of the tax burden.
    “It’s absolutely essential to me as a guiding principle that middle income Americans don’t get hit with a bigger share of the burden,”

    Now, isn’t it the progressivity of the tax-code, combined with the fact that we tax income and not wealth, that ensures that the burden must needs fall on the middle class?

  8. How ’bout we go back to the original tax tables from 1913? The bottom rate was 0% on income up to $66,000 (in 2010 dollars), or $88,000 for married couples. From there to $440,000, the rate was 1%. The top rate was 7% on income over $11 million. Somebody making $1 million a year would see a rate of 3%.

    The “rich” who employ their neighbors would pay 3x more than their best-paid employees. The “super mega rich” who employ the government would pay 7x more, and more than twice as much as their job-providing brethren.

    Sure, I might grumble about my neighbors who pay nothing, and I might rail at the socialist unfairness of such a steeply progressive system, but at least we’d all be bringing home more than 90% of what we work for. Everybody’s happy!

  9. Santorum name checked.

  10. Howzabout we stop paying taxes to Behemoth altogether, given that it is less trustworthy than the ‘dillo on a Friday night in a bordello with an open bar?

  11. The Republican party is increasingly becoming a one issue party, “Lower Taxes!”, as they become more indistinguishable from the left on every other issue.

    Which is laughable, since it’s really the most insignificant issue there is these days.

    Sure, we all hate the tax system. Always have and always will. I like the idea of the flat tax, for a variety of reasons, and I think it should always be a platform of the Republican party, but government revenue, and the rates and methods they use to extract it are not our real problem now. Massive deficit spending and grossly oppressive law and regulation is what is strangling capitalism, and threatening the very foundations of American exceptionalism. Talk of lowering the capitol gains tax a couple percent isn’t even close to the shiny talisman it once was.

  12. I think it’s still the economy, stupid /Carville.

  13. I think the issue that divides the progressives on the left from the progressives on the right was nicely summed up by Obama himself: “There comes a point where you’ve made enough money.”

    No Republican is going to agree with that.

  14. Y’know where Carville learned that?

    Yep, Karl Marx.

  15. That Karl Marx, anyway. Dude is everywhere.

  16. My liberal friends won’t let me talk about this stuff. In any objective terms.

    It offends them and by extension, us.

  17. Let’s say I’m the proverbial middle class guy Romney is talking about protecting. I’m earning a $100,000/year paycheck, paying 25% taxes. I come up with a brilliant idea for a potentially lucrative business, with a substantial start-up investment. My concern is not going to be an increased tax rate, in that 65% of a half million is better than 75% of what I make now. It is compliance costs that are scary.

    Just the paper alone! Shit, you sign great, teetering stacks of legalize just to buy a house, I can only imagine the forests that must die to open a thingermajig shop and hire employees and stuff.

    Then, you’re always under the threat of new compliance costs, at the whim of any of the alphabet bureaucrats and their million demands.

    Progressive taxes have been around a long time, and business venture has ever bore market risk. What’s changed is, most of the risk now is from government involvement, not the free market.

    Is this what it’s like to live under fascism?

  18. By the way, the only morally fair tax is one on commerce. On use of the economy’s unit of trade. Barter? Untaxable. Profit at any level? Untaxable. Inheritance? Property? Especially untaxable.

    Tax sales and only sales. Tax daily commerce transacted in federal dollars at a single rate enacted by Congress and watch classical liberalism return with a serious vengeance.

    No subjective arguments about ways and means — which amount to progressivism — need apply. This is about rights, liberty, and property, and with them, choice and prosperity.

  19. Isn’t that opening the door for the Magical Commerce Clause™ to create more mischief?

    I’m all for a flat 10%, no indexing. I am accustomed to not getting things done my way, so I won’t hold my breath.

  20. I like it JHoward.

  21. 10,000 lobbyists hate your guts though…

  22. Isn’t that opening the door for the Magical Commerce Clause™ to create more mischief?

    In post-America, I don’t think we’ll have any stomach for such mischief.

    I’m all for a flat 10%, no indexing.

    The hours of your personal life spent on providing for yourself are the purview of govt to tax? How so?

  23. 10,000 lobbyists hate your guts though…

    It does have its benefits.

  24. No, no. We’re talking about the same thing, JHo: sales tax. A flat 10% with no indexing for Federal, State, County, City what have you.

    The services provided to the above will have to come from the 10%, forcing them to live within their means.

    This of course will never happen.

  25. We’re talking about the same thing, JHo: sales tax. A flat 10% with no indexing for Federal, State, County, City what have you.

    Got it.

    Although 10% doesn’t begin to fund this government, though, and that is also part of the point to a single national sales tax. It thoroughly rearranges everything in fiscal America, of course, and will be a perceived huge impact on the sales of goods and services while it frees up vast opportunity and productivity elsewhere — a zero sum thing fiscally but a reformation in classically liberal terms.

    Which is one reason it’ll never ever happen.

    So bring on post-America. Either we’re sane again rooting around the ruins…or we’ll not be going around saying we’re free anymore, lying to ourselves about really being captives.

    The USSA. One step closer to a new land and a new people.

  26. I really don’t have a problem with a reasonable($<10%) income(or profit) tax. I could even listen to arguments for property taxes on commercial property(not residential or fallow). With those exceptions, any thing else besides a sales tax is immoral. Or maybe I should say moralistic. Either way.

    Still, I think the tax code only incidental to our larger problem. That is, we the people are being ruled by tyrants.

  27. So bring on post-America.

    This is where I’ve gotten to. Nothing is going to change until everything changes and I don’t mean changing presidents.

  28. LBascom, in addition to being perhaps the most inefficient tax (if we allow a subjective argument on relative merits, which we should not) the personal income tax is certainly among the most immoral. The hours of your personal life spent on providing for yourself are not the purview of govt to tax.

    Yet this principle is nearly as sacrosanct to the right as reducing corporate taxes is. This is wrong.

    We need to understand that we live in a full-on corporate State. It is terminal to the individual’s rights, liberties, and properties.

  29. “So bring on post-America.”

    *points* It’s that way…

  30. This, PW’ers is worthy of its own post….somewhere. OT and threadjack alert ( I shall bear your scorn if needs be.)

    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/02/28/georgetown-co-ed-please-pay-for-us-to-have-sex-were-going-broke-buying-birth-control/

    This is a certain kind of American moment. “Please use public funds, or the threat of the law, to ensure that I can have unfettered access to my preferred form of birth control.” It is the selfish demands of the nanny state stooge meeting the levers of power.

    The meta levels of irony seem to escape this one, about her CHOICE to have a certain kind of physical relationship, about the CHOICE of birth control and her CHOICE to be relatively impoverished for three years.

    It would be silly to point out that rubbers cost a lot less than $1k a year, or other sorts of sex are free, right?

    It would be helpful if someone in the

  31. I was cut off

    “It would be helpful if someone in the Georgetown Law community pointed this out, no?”

  32. Rick Santorum doesn’t sound so crazy now, does he?

  33. “the personal income tax is certainly among the most immoral”

    I just don’t see it. I’m all for constitutionally limited government, but there are important and necessary things government must legitimately do, and we all benefit from. We all should all bare some responsibility for what the government provides, community services, legal recourse, foreign affairs(including the military) and the like.

    I think it wise for everyone to have skin in the game, and military funding(for example) not be vulnerable to the fluctuations of consumer spending.

  34. Someone, Pablo?, a few weeks ago pointed out that Birth Control pills are $10 per month at Walmart. Georgetown costs what? $40,000+ per year.

  35. Of related interest to Roddy’s link.

    Even if you don’t agree, it’s worth scrolling through for Taranto’s gibe at David Brooks.

  36. I’ll be happy to send an extra-large bottle of aspirin to Georgetown. That should cover, what, 250 women for a couple semesters, I’m thinking.

  37. The trouble with the sales tax (fair tax?) is that once you yank the taxes off the back end and put them on the front end, you totally sink imports. We can’t yank the taxes off the back end of those products, but we’ll still tax their sale.

    I doubt the importing governments are nimble enough to switch to fair tax to accommodate us.

  38. Really, geoff. If her bc is costing her $3K over the course of law school, what is the burden?

    $1K per 12 month year =$83.33. Or she can get them free at the law school clinic. Or, isn’t she on the parents insurance until she’s 26? Ask them to cover her co-pays like they do everything else for her entitled ass. (see what I did there?)

  39. “the personal income tax is certainly among the most immoral”

    I just don’t see it. I’m all for constitutionally limited government, but there are important and necessary things government must legitimately do, and we all benefit from. We all should all bare some responsibility for what the government provides, community services, legal recourse, foreign affairs(including the military) and the like.

    I think it wise for everyone to have skin in the game, and military funding(for example) not be vulnerable to the fluctuations of consumer spending.

    That argument are general and subjective, LBascom. Tax provides those things.

    Personal income tax need not. To repeat, there is something morally perverse and something grossly inefficient, plus something deeply legally hazardous and something frightfully cowed and bowed about personal income tax under penalty and pain of law.

    Tax use of the ecomony. Tax sales. It’s efficient, visible, represented, fair, legally and personally unemcumbered, and it is classically liberal.

    The history and trajectory of the involuntary income tax is such that I’m concerned just writing the words in this day and age pointing out what’s wrong about its Orwellian repercussions. It’s part and parcel of the Communist principles of personal enlistment in involuntary progressive machinery.

  40. put in a flat tax and hack the fed gov’t down to that size

  41. The trouble with the sales tax (fair tax?) is that once you yank the taxes off the back end and put them on the front end, you totally sink imports.

    Carts and horses. But sure, and there are a hundred more situational — subjective — arguments against a fair sales tax.

    Consider: The trouble with imports having sunk US manufacturing is that the sales tax (fair tax) on the front end becomes that much more difficult today when the corrupted economic world the back end now runs in can’t endure them since yesterday.

    Your scenario is in fact an outcome that owes itself in part to asinine taxation policies going back a hundred years.

  42. One less rino to poach.

  43. Well, I won’t argue against a fair tax for what we have now, but I have a hard time seeing an income tax less moral than a consumption tax, once you’ve accepted the morality of taxes in the first place.

    Progressive tax, fair tax, flat tax, I don’t really care…IF tax expenditures are tied to 18% of GDP and there was a balanced budget amendment with teeth.

    If the bastards could be restrained to budgets, I’m sure they would discover the Laffer Curve sooner or later .

  44. Let the hare hire the hairy
    Have the bear bare some leg
    Send the whoers to whore the houri
    And the poor to pore the keg.

  45. Yeah, that was me, geoffb. But it was $9.00.

    So, how about the lobsterpot hoochie calling it quits?

  46. $1K per 12 month year =$83.33. Or she can get them free at the law school clinic.

    Nope. Georgetown is Jesuit.

    The Student Health Center (SHC) is a service provided by Georgetown University Hospital for students at Georgetown University, a Catholic and Jesuit University. As such, the physicians, nurse practitioners, and staff of the SHC abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.*

    But she can get a thousand Trojans for $375. If that doesn’t cover her, she needs to save her whoring for when she’s a professional.

  47. I thought law school was supposed to be pretty grueling and required a tremendous amount of study or I’ve been lied to by all the law students I knew in grad school. She must be a quick study to have so much free time to spend with her feet in the air.

  48. She must be a quick study to have so much free time to spend with her feet in the air.

    I think her law school concentration is “rainmaking.”

  49. She should definately check into that deal on raincoats that Pablo linked.

  50. It’s just funny to think of a woman who has the potential to earn six figures automatically upon graduation decrying what is about $84 a month. Has she seen what food and drink–especially drink–costs in her neck of DC? You know she’s already in for $45k a year, right?

    More to the point, it is a #Occupy level of self-regard to suppose that we are supposed to feel sorry for a woman who has latex condoms available for nearly free

  51. Miss Law Student probably pays more than that for mochacinos in a week. If she wants someone else to pay, she needs to cultivate a sugardaddy.

  52. But she can get a thousand Trojans for $375. If that doesn’t cover her, she needs to save her whoring for when she’s a professional.

    If she can’t get her many gentleman callers to happily cough up 37 cents per session (“Here’s a buck, gimme three!”), she’s doing it wrong.

    Two words, hun’: “tip jar”

  53. The guy she’s fucking at the moment pays the bar tab, Roddy. Clearly, you’re out of touch.

  54. I would have asked her if she were “working” her way through law school, if I’d been on the commitee.

    If I were a guy, I’d have asked her what she was doing later.

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