President Obama seized on a new nonpartisan study suggesting Mitt Romney’s tax plan would raise taxes on most Americans in order to cut them for the very rich, accusing his opponent of favoring millionaires over the middle class.
“Folks making $3 million a year or more, would get a quarter of a million dollar tax cut,” Obama said at a rally in Mansfield, Ohio. “But listen, it gets worse: under my opponent’s plan, who do you think gets the bill for these $250,000 tax cuts? You do.”
Saying “you do not have to take my word for it,” Obama pointed to a new study by researchers at the Brookings Institution and Tax Policy Center, including former economic advisers to both Obama and President George H.W. Bush, that examined Romney’s plan. As the president noted, the report concluded that even if Romney financed his reforms by eliminating existing tax breaks for the wealthy first, the resulting changes would still raise taxes on the average American family making under $200,000 a year by $2,000 while cutting taxes for the average American household making $3 million or more by close to $250,000.
“Here’s the thing: he’s not asking you to contribute more to pay down the deficit, he’s not asking you to pay more to invest in our children’s education or rebuild our roads or put more folks back to work,” Obama said. “He’s asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut.”
Romney’s campaign said in a statement the study was from a “liberal” group, although they did not specifically dispute its individual findings. Instead they accused Obama of raising taxes on American companies by letting the top Bush tax rates expire as he proposes, citing a study by business advocacy groups.
“President Obama continues to tout liberal studies calling for more tax hikes and more government spending. We’ve been down that road before - and it’s led us to 41 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement. “It’s clear that the only plan President Obama has is more of the same. Mitt Romney believes that lower tax rates and less government will jump-start the economy and create jobs.”
Correction: A previous version of this post described one of the study’s co-authors as a former economic adviser to George W. Bush. The co-author, William Gale, served on George H.W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. TPM regrets the error.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.