This op-ed is in response to an International Business Times column, "Romney's Tax Plan: Bush's Tax Plan On Steroids," published Sept. 9, 2012.
The Obama campaign and the president's Democratic allies have been pushing a particularly disappointing bit of fiction on the campaign trail lately. They claim that Gov. Mitt Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class. If this seems unlikely, there's a reason.
The president's claim is patently false.
Let's start with something that is undeniably true: Our nation's tax code is a mess. It is far too complicated. It is burdensome to business. It kills jobs. It keeps our nation's industries from maintaining the kind of competitiveness that we need to thrive in a global marketplace and create good jobs in the United States.
That our tax code needs reform, no one disputes. And yet few politicians have been willing to put forward a serious proposal for tax reform. One need to look no further than the top politician in the land, President Barack Obama. Not only has the president not pursued tax reform over his last four years in office, he has put forward no new plans to do so should he win re-election. Tax reform requires political courage, and proposing reform of our labyrinthine tax code invariably invites attacks from political opponents, as well as those who have a vested interest in seeing the system remain as it is.
Romney knows this all too well. He has proposed a far-reaching, fundamental reform of our bloated tax code. He would cut taxes across the board, reducing rates by 20 percent. At the same time, he would reduce or eliminate deductions that allow wealthier Americans to lower their tax burden. While their rates would go down, high-income earners would see the share of the taxes they pay remain the same.
Indeed, the greatest beneficiaries of Romney's tax reform plan would be middle-class Americans and small businesses. They would see their tax burden reduced. Such an action will spur the sort of economic growth we need if we are to have meaningful job creation that actually brings down the unemployment rate -- currently above 8 percent for 43 straight months, the longest period since the Great Depression.
Some have asked which particular deductions for the wealthy would be cut. Such a simple question ignores the complexity of our current tax code. Everything should be on the table, and it will require compromise and debate to hammer out the particular details of what deductions for the wealthy go and which ones stay. What is important now is to set out a framework for actually accomplishing tax reform instead of just talking about it.
It's unfortunate that the Obama campaign and its Democratic allies -- and even this paper -- have seen fit to push falsehoods about Romney's plan to reform our tax code. As is so often the case, it seems that it is easier to tear down the plans of another instead of putting forth positive proposals. That has been the way of Obama during his term in office. It's no surprise that he is employing such a strategy in his election campaign as well.
But the American people deserve better, and that is precisely what Romney is offering them. If he is elected, we will finally accomplish what every American knows we need -- true, fundamental reform of our tax code that will lead to economic growth and job creation.
Marsha Blackburn is a Republican Congressman representing Tennessee's 7th District.