By Daniel Gardner
Harry Reid, Democratic Senate Leader, lied when he said Mitt Romney had paid no income taxes the past 10 years. Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, lied when she said she didn’t know Joe Soptic and when she said Romney had committed a felony. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, DNC chairwoman, lied when she said she had been misquoted by a conservative newspaper reporter. Now the Obama campaign is saying Romney lied during the first debate when he corrected President Obama’s characterization of his tax plan … a characterization Romney himself said he would not vote for.
Here’s the straw man Obama and his team have constructed: Romney is giving rich folks $5 trillion in tax cuts, and to pay for it he’s going to raise taxes on middle class families more than $2,000. He also hates teachers, clean air, clean water, and puppies. He’s a bad man.
The Obama campaign is outraged that Romney doesn’t agree with their characterization of his tax plan. If you’ve listened to any of Obama’s gossip since the first debate you’ve heard about the $5 trillion giveaway to rich folks, but likely have not heard about any other part of Romney’s tax plan since that’s not part of Obama’s talking points.
First of all Romney says he wants to cut everyone’s income tax rate by 20 percent and he promised during the debate he would not raise taxes on the middle class as charged by President Obama. Secondly, Romney said his tax plan would be revenue neutral because he would wipe out deductions in the tax code to maintain the same level of revenue.
In other words, even though Romney would cut income tax rates, most taxpayers would still pay about the same amount they’ve been paying. Rich folks would likely pay more because they have always taken advantage of more deductions than the rest of us.
At this point in the argument the Obama folks are asking which deductions Romney plans to cut, and Romney has been very clear saying he’ll work with Congress to cut whatever deductions are necessary to make the plan revenue neutral. This is where the lies come in. Who’s really lying here?
President Obama and his team have been saying Romney wants to cut taxes on rich folks (true) and raise taxes on the rest of us to pay for it (false). Who in the world would run on such a plan? Obama’s straw man is literally unbelievable. Yet, Obama continues to preach the same straw man in all his stump speeches and his acolytes have stuck with this story as they reiterate talking points to reporters.
So far President Obama’s campaign strategy has focused on characterizing Romney as a mean old felonious rich guy who wants to make his rich friends richer and make the rest of us pay for it. Only Kool-Aid drinkers will believe this lie.
On the other hand President Obama has been relatively quiet about his plans for the next four years saying he’ll continue doing what he’s been doing. He’s basically offering voters four more years of the same thing we’ve had the past four years. No wonder his campaign strategy is founded upon killing Romney. Who would vote for four more years of the same lousy economy?
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. Contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com .