You say poring over the U.S. tax code -- including Mitt Romney's proposed tax policy -- doesn't exactly sound like an exciting weekend for you and your significant other? Well, fear not: We've done the work for you.
The Romney-Ryan tax plan, in a nutshell? It cut taxes on the uber-rich, raises taxes on middle-income and lower-income Americans and cuts federal programs in the U.S.'s modest social safety net.
Simply put, the Romney tax plan is the Bush tax plan on steroids. Romney wants to cut income tax rates by 20 percent, and running mate Paul Ryan wants a top tax rate of 10 percent for married couples filing jointly on their first $100,000, and a 25 percent income tax rate for income higher than $100,000 -- two ideas that would primarily benefit upper-income adults and the uber-rich.
Romney's plan would also eliminate the estate tax. Ryan -- perhaps trying to outdo his running mate and help Romney's bottom line at the same time -- would eliminate the capital gains and dividends taxes, and make a selected amount of other capital income tax-free! Consider this: Under Ryan's plan, Romney's ridiculously low 13.9 percent 2010 federal income tax rate would have been lowered to about zip! Zilch. Nada. That's about $21 million in income for Romney in 2010, and almost no federal taxes paid! Meanwhile, middle-class and working-class Americans would be taxed at double-digit income tax rates. Way to go, Ryan! Your plan takes the already problematic U.S. tax code and makes it even more regressive -- redistributing even more income and wealth from the poor and middle-class to the rich -- in a reverse-Robin Hood scheme.
The Romney-Ryan Budget
Further, Romney and Ryan haven't talked too much about the impact of their tax policy on the U.S. budget deficit. Oh, Romney and Ryan have argued that their tax plan would increase U.S. GDP growth (debatable), and create 12 million new jobs (doubtful), but as far as balancing the federal budget -- they haven't said much.
In fact, Romney and Ryan have barely mentioned balancing the federal budget on the campaign trail because their plan doesn't do it -- and the proof is obvious enough: the Congressional Budget Office, Congress' independent, non-partisan budget watchdog, scores all budgets. You can evaluate the Obama administration budget plan (baseline) by clicking here. According to the CBO baseline projection, the Obama administration's fiscal 2012 budget will end the year with a $1.17 trillion deficit; fiscal 2013, a $612 billion deficit, if the so-called fiscal cliff automatic budget cuts, including "sequestration," and tax increases take effect.
But the CBO can't score the Romney-Ryan budget plan. Do you know why? Romney and Ryan refuse to submit it.
We'll repeat the above: Two major-party candidates for U.S. president and vice president, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, refuse to have their budget plan evaluated and scored by the CBO.
Further, Romney's and Ryan's refusal to submit their budget to the CBO for evaluation and scoring is tell-tale proof that their tax plan would balloon the budget deficit. In other words, it would make the U.S. deficit situation worse, not better, while providing another needless tax cut for millionaires and billionaires.
Equally troubling: Romney proposes no cut in U.S. military spending. On the contrary, Romney, incredibly, wants to increase military spending -- this after two controversial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost more than 6,600 lives of U.S. armed services personnel and more than $1.37 trillion. (All military spending for these wars was borrowed.)
Point: It is impossible for the Romney-Ryan budget to cut taxes and increase defense spending and achieve a balanced budget -- and that's probably the main reason they won't let the CBO score their budget. If they let it do so, the American people would see how the Romney-Ryan plan cuts taxes massively on the rich and upper-income groups, while keeping the tax burden of ordinary Americans the same, and simultaneously vectoring the budget deficit to even higher levels.
The honorable and fair thing for Romney and Ryan to do would be to let the CBO evaluate and score their tax plan and budget. The American people need that CBO evaluation to make a fair assessment regarding which candidate, President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney, has the tax plan that's responsible and that balances the federal budget.
Absent that, one has to view the Romney-Ryan tax plan and budget based on the (limited) information they've provided to date: It cuts taxes primarily on the uber-rich and upper-income adults, forces more of the fiscal burden on middle-income and working-class Americans, guts the U.S.'s social safety net, and increases the budget deficit substantially.
In other words, if you liked President George W. Bush's tax and fiscal policies, you'll probably love Romney's.