President Obama and Mitt Romney mixed it up during Wednesday debate in Denver over the Republican nominee’s tax plan, with Romney denying that he would raise taxes on the middle class and Obama charging him with trying to cover up his faulty math late in the race.
Obama charged, as independent non-partisan studies have indicated, that Romney’s plan to cut income tax rates by 20 percent would result in either a net tax increase on middle class families or an explosion in deficit spending.
“I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut — I don’t have a tax cut of the scale you’re talking about,” Romney said. “My view is that we ought to proide tax relief to the middle class. … High income people are doing just fine in this economy, they’ll do fine whether you’re president or I am.”
But Obama countered that Romney has refused to specify which deductions and tax breaks he would eliminate to counterbalance the 20 percent rate cut, which Romney claims would not reduce overall revenues.
“Well, for 18 months he’s been running on this tax plan, and now five weeks before the election, he says his big bold idea is ‘never mind,’” Obama said. “And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only effect high-income individuals to avoid raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It’s math — arithmetic.”
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.