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It’s Not the Gaffes that Matter, It’s the Plan

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Mitt RomneyRegardless of the many verbal gaffes Mitt Romney makes, which appear to echo his innate value system, what really matters is is economic policy. Bloomberg takes a look at Romney’s Believe in America economic blueprint.

The real problem with Romney’s remarks is that they bear little resemblance to his comparatively uncontroversial economic plan. According to the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, “Believe in America,” Romney’s economic blueprint, would impose fresh burdens on the poor, cutting anti-poverty programs while simultaneously depriving lawmakers of the money to repair the holes. As for the middle class, it is hard to argue that it is a primary “focus,” at least if you follow the money in the candidate’s plan.

A few examples. Romney would end tax credits for higher education, the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and other provisions enacted in 2009 to counter the recession. While taxes for many poor people would rise, taxes on the middle class would generally decline somewhat and taxes on the wealthiest would decline substantially. Romney would repeal health insurance for the working poor, repeal the estate tax and permanently extend the Bush tax cuts. The Tax Policy Center calculates that in 2015 Romney’s plan would generate an average break of $865,637 to the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers.

Romney’s plan would also put government on less solid footing. Compared with current federal policy, Romney’s plan would add an additional $180 billion to the federal deficit in 2015. Calculated by a more exacting standard — current law — his policies would increase the deficit by $600 billion. Nothing in the plan suggests that the middle class would be exempt from interest and principal payments on the extra debt accrued.

In other words, while he’s giving out huge tax breaks to the top 1%, cutting social services and the social safety net, and raising taxes on the poorest 20%, he’s adding $600 billion to the deficit. How can anyone say Romney’s economic blueprint is conservative?

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