Mitt Romney is hardly the first Republican presidential candidate to assure Americans that cutting taxes and ending regulation will bring joy to the nation.
Mr. Romney keeps his economic platform pretty fuzzy, with good reason. The more he spins his story, the more evidence there is that it’s a fantasy.
Mr. Romney has said, for instance, that he can cut marginal tax rates by 20 percent, eliminate the estate tax and the alternative minimum income tax and end capital gains taxes for middle-income Americans without reducing the amount of money flowing into the Treasury.
The answer, he said, is getting rid of certain loopholes. He won’t say what those are, of course...
But a recent study by the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, found that there aren’t enough loopholes to balance the loss of revenue, and concluded that Mr. Romney’s proposal would lead to significantly lower taxes for the rich, and a higher tax burden on middle- and lower-income taxpayers.
The Romney campaign attacked the study because one of the authors worked for the Treasury Department under Mr. Obama. Another worked for President George H.W. Bush, but—for the sake of argument—I’ll concede the point: A study by people who work for a candidate or used to work for one is, as the campaign policy director, put it, “just another biased study.”
What, then, are we to make of a paper released by the Romney campaign on Tuesday claiming that cold data show the recovery has been really slow, that Mr. Obama’s stimulus policies made it worse and that Mr. Romney’s plans would reverse the trends. After all, the authors, Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, John Taylor and Kevin Hassett, are associated with the Romney campaign. Oops.
Granted, the paper cites the conclusions of other economists – some of whom are not associated with Mr. Romney—but when Ezra Klein of The Washington Post asked these economists “what they thought of the Romney campaign’s interpretation of their research,” they all “responded with a polite version of Marshall McLuhan’s famous riposte. The Romney campaign, they said, knows little of their work. Or of their policy proposals.”
I highly recommend you read the article here. But the basic point is that the Romney paper misrepresents those non-affiliated economists. Their conclusions were either the opposite of what Mr. Romney’s gang of four economists said they were, or the studies had nothing to do with the economic problems at issue.
George H.W. Bush once called it voodoo, as true an insult today as it was then. Unless like Mr. Romney and his biggest donors, you’re so rich that you can’t feel the pins.