Monday, September 10, 2012

Jennifer Rubin's Taxing Falsehoods


SIMON MALOY/Media Matters for America

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is facing a torrent of criticism from Democratstax analysts, and even a stray conservative or two over the lack of specifics in his tax proposals. But as per usual, there is one person who's standing by Romney, ready to fabricate any excuse she can in defense of the GOP candidate: Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, who is defending Romney's lack of detail by arguing (falsely) that President Obama doesn't have a tax plan.
Romney finds himself in this situation after both he and running mate Paul Ryan appeared on Sunday morning news shows and repeatedly declined to identify the tax loopholes they'd close to pay for the steep tax cuts their plan would put in place.
Rubin, who recalibrates her opinion on the specificity of Romney's tax plan depending on how it better serves Romney's interest, argues today that Romney's level of detail is less important than Obama's alleged failure to release a tax plan:
The media have accused Romney of being nonspecific about his tax plan. (At least he has both an individual and corporate one; the president does not.) He explained: "I can tell you that people at the high end, high-income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. Those -- those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise, they'd get a tax break. And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention. I am not reducing taxes on high-income taxpayers. I'm bringing down the rate of taxation, but also bringing down deductions and exemptions at the high end so the revenues stay the same, the taxes people pay stay the same. Middle-income people are going to get a break."
This won't fly with the media (the same people who never ask Obama where his tax plan is or where his entitlement reform plans are), which will continue to press him for details.
For the moment, let's set aside the spectacle of someone with a Washington Post byline criticizing the media for wanting too much detail. The assertion that President Obama has not released a tax plan is flatly untrue.
It's right here, as part of the president's FY 2013 budget proposal. The Tax Policy Center has a whole section of its website devoted to the tax provisions contained therein. You can critique Obama's plan, disagree with it, argue that it has insufficient detail, but you can't say it doesn't exist.
With regard to corporate taxes specifically, the president released a plan in February for overhauling the corporate tax code, which one can read here. It calls for cutting the corporate tax rate and closing specific loopholes and tax expenditures (for instance, taxing carried interest as income and ending "last in, first out" accounting).
Again, one could critique this plan to their heart's content. You could call it "terrible," a "corporate tax hike," "picking winners and losers," "an explicit revenue increase," and even "mind-numbing." In fact, that's exactly what Jennifer Rubin called this plan on February 22 -- the plan she now says doesn't exist.
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