Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Politics

President Barack Obama headed to Florida with study showing Mitt Romney's tax plan hurts middle class

President Barack Obama travels today to Orlando, where he'll challenge Mitt Romney on what's normally considered Republican ideological turf: debt and taxes.

Obama got considerable help — and new stump speech material — on Wednesday from a new study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that showed those earning more than $1 million could save about $87,000 in taxes under Romney's plan, which reduces income tax rates by 20 percent across the board.

But those who earn less than $200,000 would actually see their taxes increase by as much as $1,339 under Romney's plan, the study estimated, because they could lose popular tax breaks for employer health insurance, mortgage interest and state and local taxes.

Obama's campaign hours later released a Florida-centric companion report, based on a previous Tax Policy Center analysis, that estimated Romney's plan would raise taxes on 7.6 million Florida households.

Romney's campaign disputed the reports and took issue with the Tax Policy Center's methodology because it didn't factor in the savings in Romney's proposed spending and it didn't analyze the positive economic effects of reducing corporate taxes.

Romney's policy director, Lanhee Chen, criticized one of the report's three authors, who had previously worked in the Obama White House.

"This is just another biased study from a former Obama staffer that ignores critical parts of Governor Romney's tax reform program, which will help the middle class and promote faster economic growth," Chen said in a written statement.

The Romney campaign hasn't always criticized the Tax Policy Center, which it cited in a November email for providing an "Objective, Third-Party Analysis."

Nor did the Romney campaign provide more details about specific spending cuts or the types of tax write-offs or subsidies it would eliminate to make Romney's tax plan revenue neutral and not add to the budget deficit.

While Romney has attacked Obama over tax increases in the federal health care law and deficits under the president's watch, Obama has steadily stepped up his attacks on Romney for failing to disclose multiple years of personal income tax returns.

Stump speeches, interviews and a barrage of new television ads highlight Obama's overarching strategy: Paint Romney as an out-of-touch millionaire whose policies will help the rich at the expense of the middle class.

"He's asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut," Obama said Wednesday in a campaign speech in Ohio, referencing the Tax Policy Center study.

Romney aides said the president will have trouble persuading voters to believe the Republican is less trustworthy than the president, who promised to cut the deficit in half but failed.

The Tax Policy Center analyst who came under fire, Adam Looney, said the study isn't partisan. It was written with two other experts and was reviewed at the center, which is directed by a former economic adviser to Republican President George W. Bush.

"This isn't bias. These are numbers," Looney said. "It's pretty plain math. It really is just algebra."

Looney acknowledged that the study didn't examine Romney's proposed spending cuts, in great part because Romney hasn't specifically proposed them. Nor did the study analyze the effects of corporate-tax cuts because it assumed that the big business tax cuts Romney proposed would not add revenue to the budget.

Romney's campaign, however, pointed to a study from another group, the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation, which estimated that a 10 percent corporate tax cut would increase average wages by 9 percent.

But the campaign couldn't provide any analyses or studies of its own showing what effect a potential wage increase would have on Romney's plan.

Looney countered that major corporate tax cuts in the past didn't show the "substantial growth effects" being touted by Romney's campaign.

The core of the Tax Policy Center's analysis sought to examine the "tradeoffs" between Romney's proposal to cut income taxes and the revenue he could gain from broadening the base of the tax code by eliminating tax breaks and preferences.

In that light, the study said, Romney's plan to cut tax rates by 20 percent "would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers."

Romney's tax reform plan keeps Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, while Obama proposes eliminating those tax cuts on households earning more than $250,000 a year. Romney also wants to slash corporate taxes, eliminate the estate tax and keep investment taxes from increasing.

Romney has indicated the plan would pay for the $360 billion in annual tax cuts by eliminating tax breaks and with spending cuts. His campaign pointed out he would shave 5 percent from the nondefense federal budget his first year.

That could save about $145 billion. Where would the other $215 billion come from? The campaign won't say yet.

In the absence of those specifics, the Tax Policy Center report — and the Florida-specific paper from the Obama campaign — said all scenarios lead to a net tax increase for the vast majority of taxpayers.

Here's why: The rich pay more taxes and the major tax preferences disproportionately help the middle class relative to their incomes.

As a result, Romney's tax plan could produce a $86 billion tax shift from higher-income earners to lower- and middle-income earners, the Tax Policy Center report states.

Those earning $1 million or more would get an average tax cut of at least $87,000 and those who make more than $200,000 would get a tax cut of at least $1,800. All others would see their taxes go up. Those earning between $75,000 and $100,000 face increases of $884 and those earning $100,000 to $200,000 would see increases of $1,339.

Comments
Trump criticizes rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi

Trump criticizes rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi

Trump criticizes rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi
Updated: 1 hour ago
To understand homeless people, Tampa photographer spent 18 months meeting with them

To understand homeless people, Tampa photographer spent 18 months meeting with them

TAMPA — On Jim’s arm was a tattoo of a hinge with screw holes indicating where the recovering addict used to inject heroin.Fernando liked to belt out songs he wrote about a love he lost when he fled from Cuba.Timothy had a dog he refuse...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Elizabeth Warren angers prominent Native Americans with politically fraught DNA test

Elizabeth Warren angers prominent Native Americans with politically fraught DNA test

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's release of a DNA test, which suggested a lineage to a distant Native American ancestor, has roiled the indigenous community frustrated about the seizure of cultural and social
Updated: 9 hours ago
Trump calls Stormy Daniels 'horseface,' cheers judge's dismissal of defamation suit

Trump calls Stormy Daniels 'horseface,' cheers judge's dismissal of defamation suit

President Donald Trump celebrated the dismissal of a defamation suit brought against him by adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, calling Daniels "horseface" on Tuesday and vowing to retaliate against he
Updated: 9 hours ago
Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

GIBSONTON – A new north-south road is coming to relieve traffic along U.S. 301, but making way for it promises some short-term traffic headaches for a South Shore region already stymied by congestion.The new road would run more than four miles...
Published: 10/16/18
Judge throws out Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Trump

Judge throws out Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Trump

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit from adult film actress Stormy Daniels that claimed President Donald Trump defamed her when he suggested she had lied about being threatened to keep quiet about their relationship. Federal District Judge ...
Published: 10/15/18
Candidates for Pinellas commission race pause to help with natural disasters

Candidates for Pinellas commission race pause to help with natural disasters

As Election Day nears, the candidates for Pinellas County Commission have shifted from campaigning to helping residents deal with the aftermath of natural disasters.Democrat Amy Kedron held a town hall meeting and helped draft policies for businesses...
Published: 10/15/18
Trump calls on blacks to ‘honor’ him with votes, then praises Confederate general Robert E. Lee

Trump calls on blacks to ‘honor’ him with votes, then praises Confederate general Robert E. Lee

LEBANON, Ohio - President Donald Trump praised the Confederate general Robert E. Lee whilst asking African-American voters to "honor us" by voting for him at an Ohio rally which included an unexpected and provocative monologue on America’s Civil War ...
Published: 10/13/18
Carlton: Playing politics when a hurricane’s coming? There oughta be a law

Carlton: Playing politics when a hurricane’s coming? There oughta be a law

Maybe Florida needs a new law. The Disaster Decency Bill, we could call it.Because given the current political divide wider than the Gulf of Mexico, we might need it to mandate what has long been a tradition of coming together in the face of disaster...
Published: 10/12/18
MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur will speak to USF students during a live panel in front of USF's Marshall Student Center on Friday from 2 to 3 p.m.
Published: 10/12/18