Even as studies expose potential flaws with his tax plan, Mitt Romney is shutting down rumblings that his campaign is hedging on the notion that he can slash tax rates by 20 percent without lowering revenues.
“The governor’s plan calls for a 20% rate cut for all brackets, revenue neutrality, while ensuring that high-income earners continue to pay at least the same share of taxes,” a Romney spokesperson told TPM. “All of these goals are achievable, and the governor will work with Congress to enact tax reform that meets each of the goals he has proposed.”
The statement came in response to remarks this week from campaign adviser Kevin Hassett, who said that if Romney cannot make his math work, he’d set higher tax rates for high income earners instead of raising the burden on the middle class.
“If you think the base-broadeners don’t add up, if you think he can’t get to 28 percent, then the right thing that would happen, as you know, if you’re going to have a revenue-neutral reform, is that they would have a different change in rates,” Hassett said earlier this week.
The Republican nominee has faced skepticism from even conservative economists that he can cover the multi-trillion dollar cost of his rate cuts by closing loopholes only on incomes above $250,000, which both parties treat as the cut-off point for middle class. Adding to his problems is the candidate’s refusal to specify which deductions or credits he’d target.
In response to a nonpartisan Tax Policy Center study that found Romney’s tax plan “not mathematically possible,” the conservative economist Martin Feldstein wrote a paper that employed friendly assumptions for the candidate and yet found that taxes would need to be raised on incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 in order to pay for his rate cuts.
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.