Romney and the VAT

posted at 9:50 am on December 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

See what happens when we take a couple of days off for the holidays?  We missed this interview with Mitt Romney talking about tax policy with the Wall Street Journal, and which may create some mild headaches for the frontrunner in the next few days.  The wide-ranging interview touched on many issues as well as campaign themes and the “vision thing,” to use a phrase that hearkens back to the first Bush presidency.  Romney wants to push a theme of reform, and in that vein talked about his ideas for comprehensive tax reform, a subject that has the possibilities for wide bipartisan support — or for political disaster, depending on what kind of reform one proposes.  He tried to stick to broad, general principles, but the WSJ pinned him down on the idea of a consumption tax:

What about his reform principles? Mr. Romney talks only in general terms. “Moving to a consumption-based system is something which is very attractive to me philosophically, but I’ve not been able to sufficiently model it out to jump on board a consumption-based tax. A flat tax, a true flat tax is also attractive to me. What I like—I mean, I like the simplification of a flat tax. I also like removing the distortion in our tax code for certain classes of investment. And the advantage of a flat tax is getting rid of some of those distortions.”

Since Mr. Romney mentioned a consumption tax, would he rule out a value-added tax?

He says he doesn’t “like the idea” of layering a VAT onto the current income tax system. But he adds that, philosophically speaking, a VAT might work as a replacement for some part of the tax code, “particularly at the corporate level,” as Paul Ryan proposed several years ago. What he doesn’t do is rule a VAT out.

Amid such generalities, it’s hard not to conclude that the candidate is trying to avoid offering any details that might become a political target. And he all but admits as much. “I happen to also recognize,” he says, “that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn’t been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you’re gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election.”

That also seems to explain his refusal to propose cuts in individual tax rates, except for people who make less than $200,000, which not coincidentally is also Mr. Obama’s threshold for defining “the rich.”

The VAT is political dynamite, as Romney well knows, for a number of reasons.  Europe relies on both VATs and income taxes for individuals and corporations, which has fueled government expansion and allows for easy revenue increases by tax-hiking politicians — to which we will return in a moment.  Nancy Pelosi floated the idea two years ago of an additional VAT to fund ObamaCare, which had conservatives seeing red at the time and which no doubt helped paint the midterms red in 2010, in at least some small part.

On the other hand, a number of conservatives prefer the Fair Tax as a replacement for the income tax, and the Fair Tax is arguably a version of a VAT, at least in practice.  The difference between that and Pelosi’s proposal was that Pelosi did want it layered onto the existing tax system, because she wanted a lot more revenue to fuel big-government programs like ObamaCare.  Fair Tax proponents want to eliminate the personal income tax before imposing the consumption-based Fair Tax, which sounds very similar to what Romney proposes to do, only doing so on the corporate income tax instead of the personal income tax.

Jim Pethokoukis says that conservatives should keep an open mind, as such a switch would promote the kind of job-creating investment that the US is missing now:

Yet Romney is certainly correct that the U.S. tax system should reduce the current bias against investment. Many economists on the left and right would agree that America has consumed too much and invested too little in recent years. Many studies have suggested that replacing the income tax system with a consumption tax could boost economic growth over the long-run by 5 percent or more, increasing tax revenue by 1 percent of GDP via that increased growth — not by increasing the tax burden. Some economists here at AEI like the idea of the Bradford X tax, a graduated consumption tax that eliminates investment taxes.

You can have a value-added tax that is economically efficient, pro-growth but does not have the transparency issues that Norquist and other small-government advocates worry about.  Many flat taxers, for instance, like the 19 percent Hall-Rabushka flat tax, a plan which has served as the model for many flat tax proposals. As with the X tax, businesses under a Hall-Rabushka system would deduct cash wages from the cash flow on which they calculate the VAT.

Romney is right that Ryan has proposed replacing the current corporate income tax with a business consumption tax in his Ryan Roadmap. The plan says a BCT would “enhance the international competitiveness of U.S. businesses and put the economy on solid footing to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

As long as a consumption tax is a) transparent and b) not just slapped on top of the current tax code, it is definitely worth considering as a critical way of boosingt U.S. growth.

Daniel Mitchell at Forbes says any VAT would be a disaster, and an entree to big-government financing no matter how it’s structured:

For those who are not familiar with a VAT, it is a version of a national sales tax, but imposed at every stage in the production process and embedded in the price of goods and services. Perhaps more important, it is despised by everyone who wants to limit the size of government. …

Simply stated, this is an awful tax. If it ever gets implemented in the United States, the battle will be over. America will descend to European-style stagnation, eventually leading to fiscal crisis.

Any politician that supports a VAT (or even hints at supporting a VAT) should not be allowed anywhere near the White House. That applies to Mitt Romney. And it should be the rule for Paul Ryan as well.

Mitchell offers this video from his Econ 101 series, first launched when Pelosi proposed the idea of adding a VAT:

However, this objection — as Mitchell states in the beginning of the video — is based on adding a VAT, not replacing an income tax with a VAT. Mitchell acknowledges that a VAT system “does less damage per dollar collected” than income taxes, and that replacing the income tax with a VAT would make those arguments “persuasive.”

Would it work?  Perhaps not, and be sure to watch the whole video for the shortcomings of VAT systems, but I’m not sure it’s as anathema as some people have treated this statement.  I’m open to ideas that aim at promoting capital investment and getting government out of the income stream if it can be done effectively and with stringent limitations on tinkering.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Romney said if he had a VAT that it would replaced CORPORATE taxes, not be an additional tax.

haner on December 27, 2011 at 9:55 AM

NO NO NO NO to a VAT.

gophergirl on December 27, 2011 at 9:55 AM

I’d take a VAT in replace of what we have now. On top of what we have now? Get outa here.

LaughterJones on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Romney is the wrong guy for the wrong time for all the right reasons. The only difference between Romney and Obama is….well, I’m not sure anymore.

belad on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

will not repeal ObamaCare
will not repeal Gays in Military
will not cut spending
will not curb illegal immigration
will not defund Planned Parenthood
will not put brakes on the EPA

and he’d like a VAT on top of all that

CONSERVATIVE?

….”You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

lm10001 on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Romney…VAT?
FU2Mitt!

KOOLAID2 on December 27, 2011 at 9:58 AM

WAR!

AP vs. ED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eph on December 27, 2011 at 9:59 AM

will not repeal ObamaCare
will not repeal Gays in Military
will not cut spending
will not curb illegal immigration
will not defund Planned Parenthood
will not put brakes on the EPA

and he’d like a VAT on top of all that

CONSERVATIVE?

….”You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

lm10001 on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Same with Gingrich, except even weaker on the illegal immigration and EPA front (Pelosi ad).

haner on December 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM

“Value Added Tax.”

What a cute name.

TimBuk3 on December 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

lm10001

Right on…

CrazyGene on December 27, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Once again, these are the choices for our Republican nominee??

Rush said it best, if you don’t like the choices, write in 5 letters:

P A L I N

ChuckTX on December 27, 2011 at 10:05 AM

will not repeal ObamaCare
will not repeal Gays in Military
will not cut spending
will not curb illegal immigration
will not defund Planned Parenthood
will not put brakes on the EPA
lm10001 on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

You have what to back you up?

rich801 on December 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM

I would consider a VAT only if it accompanied a massive chainsawing of the current tax code. I mean fundamental and comprehesive alteration beyond recognition. Otherwise, it will suffer mission creep, just as the original income-tax code did.

cane_loader on December 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM

….”You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

lm10001 on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Dude, grab your wheelbarrow.

Darksean on December 27, 2011 at 10:07 AM

There are indeed some very good arguments for a VAT or Fair Tax. Romney is NOT who I want to hear it from. Nor Gingrich for that matter. The first thing I’d be open to is a politician I trust to follow through (fantasy?) saying,”First we send an amendment to the states to repeal the 16th Amendment, then we this (these) versions of a new VAT or Fair Tax on consumption.”
Right now, Perry, Santorum or Bachmann are the only ones who could say that that would get my attention.

cartooner on December 27, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Romney is the wrong guy for the wrong time for all the right reasons. The only difference between Romney and Obama is….well, I’m not sure anymore.

belad on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

I would take Romney as a stop-gap measure to get us part-way out of the ditch.

The thought of four more years of 0bama makes my blood turn cold.

One thing about Romney, as opposed to the other candidates, is that he looks like a president, seems moderate, and comes across as safe and articulate to the average undereducated voter.

I still support Gingrich out of the remaining candidates, because I think that he is electable, and he would be more radically destructive to the status quo. But Romney may have more overall appeal.

Again, as long as I can wake up on Nov. 8, 2012, knowing that 0bama is evicted, I can stomach Romney. Heck, if it were guaranteed to send Barry Soetoro packing, I’d be tempted to name my first-born, “Willard.”

cane_loader on December 27, 2011 at 10:11 AM

After thinking about it, if there is a strongly conservative House and Senate, Romney can be neutered into nothing. The same goes for Newt…neuter the Newt!

If Congress defunds everything, which ever RINO is in the WH will be taken care of. The current House leadership, I hate to use that word when there isn’t any, is the epitome of RINO jellyfish.

belad on December 27, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Good luck getting rid of the income tax, Mitt.

Punchenko on December 27, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Value Added Tax.”

What a cute name.

TimBuk3 on December 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

FIFY

Long haired country boy on December 27, 2011 at 10:13 AM

No VAT. Period. A consumption tax instead of income tax? Yes. Almost any consumption tax except the VAT.

Any politician that supports a VAT (or even hints at supporting a VAT) should not be allowed anywhere near the White House. That applies to Mitt Romney. And it should be the rule for Paul Ryan as well.

This.

petefrt on December 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

The VAT is a horrible idea. It is one of the things that has crippled Europe. The VAT is a “hidden” tax that increases the price of everything. It basically taxes and retaxes everything produced at EACH STAGE of production.

The VAT is the statist’s wet dream. Note that no one proposes the elimination of any other taxes to be REPLACED by a VAT, they want VAT on top of EXISTING income and sales taxes!

Government is already spending more than 25% of GDP (and rising). Historically, that number has been 15-18%. Our problem is NOT under taxation, it’s OVERSPENDING!

wildcat72 on December 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Step 1: Repeal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.

Step 2: Enact the Fair Tax H.R. 25 curently in the House Ways and Means Committee.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR00025:

Then move on to something else.

dhugh on December 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

If you want a VAT then support an amendment to remove every other source of funding, including fees for any forms or use of government services, from the US Constitution and limit the VAT to a maximum of 3% during wartime and 1% all other times and may only be applied once in the supply chain.

Yeah that would starve government.

That is the point.

If they can’t make what they ALREADY HAVE WORK then they cannot be trusted with ANOTHER form of tax while leaving the rest of them available as Constitutional powers. Legislation is not enough on this. Make the sale to the American people and Amend the Constitution and do it the right way.

ajacksonian on December 27, 2011 at 10:17 AM

No VAT. Period. A consumption tax instead of income tax? Yes. Almost any consumption tax except the VAT.

Any politician that supports a VAT (or even hints at supporting a VAT) should not be allowed anywhere near the White House. That applies to Mitt Romney. And it should be the rule for Paul Ryan as well.

This.

petefrt on December 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Exactly. I support a national sales tax as a replacement for ALL federal taxes. It is the fairest tax of them all, because no one can avoid it. And it allows you to make as much as you can, SAVE as much as you can, and invest. You only pay when you buy stuff.

Plus, there’d be little or no reason to have an IRS. There wouldn’t be tax returns filed by every individual. There would be little need for paperwork because it would be very simple: the sales tax is a set percentage and that’s that. You’d crush that bureaucracy right there.

wildcat72 on December 27, 2011 at 10:17 AM

America has its own VAT system—it’s called liberal progressive spending policies designed to REQUIRE TAX INCREASES.

Rovin on December 27, 2011 at 10:18 AM

If they can’t make what they ALREADY HAVE WORK then they cannot be trusted with ANOTHER form of tax while leaving the rest of them available as Constitutional powers. Legislation is not enough on this. Make the sale to the American people and Amend the Constitution and do it the right way.

ajacksonian on December 27, 2011 at 10:17 AM

+ 1,000 :-)

Punchenko on December 27, 2011 at 10:19 AM

You don’t enact a VAT tax, for whatever purpose, because it let’s the camel’s nose under the tent. Look at the original income tax rate for goodness sake.

All you really need to know is that the DemoRats have wanted a VAT tax, along with Romney’s Marxist healthcare plan, for decades.

We are better off giving Obama a second term. At least then we know that the Republicans will oppose a VAT tax on partisanship grounds. If we elect “Che Romney,” the RINOs will go along with his visions of VAT taxes and big government, thus reenacting the Bush years.

Typhonian on December 27, 2011 at 10:20 AM

The VAT — another crazy European idea that our self-appointed aristocracy keeps trying to foist on us. Finally, someone has noticed that the American advocates of this banditry really mean to institute VAT while retaining the insane tax system we already have in place, and not to replace the current tax system with it.

“But they do it in Europe!” cry our deepdomes. (The same selling point was used to foist socialized medicine on us.) I think most of us have noticed that Europe isn’t in such hot shape these days; they are finally running out of “other peoples money” even though our beloved King Barack has agreed to bail them out with other peoples’ (Chinese peoples’) money.

The VAT will just be a faster way to destroy the American economy — what’s left of it — an with it, America.

Scriptor on December 27, 2011 at 10:21 AM

The Forbes guy has it right. A VAT is a blank check for big spending pols (that is all of them) and is a blight on Europe. As is pointed out it is charged at EVERY STAGE OF PRODUCTION. Of course varying amounts are claimed back by producers until the consumer gets the entire bill as usual.

Flirting with the flat tax I am open to. But VAT? Absolutely NOT!

CorporatePiggy on December 27, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Value Added Tax, Fair Tax, National Sales Tax…none will work without the repeal of the 16th Amendment FIRST!
If we don’t do that, then we’ll just have another layer of federal taxes.

cartooner on December 27, 2011 at 10:23 AM

“But they do it in Europe!” cry our deepdomes.
[snip]

Scriptor on December 27, 2011 at 10:21 AM

What is this word? I have never heard it before. Curious!

cane_loader on December 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Did anyone even read the article. He says nothing about a VAT for you. Unless you pay corporate taxes..to replace the income tax. Talk about a dog whistle. VAT VAT..bad bad (I agree, but read the damn article.)

bluealice on December 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Romney’s campaign just had a really creepy looking woman(?) on FOX claiming that Romney is the only conservative in the race.

The FOX guy interviewing her asked bout direct quotes from Mittens of a few years ago when he described himself as a moderate Progressive; The spokesrobot wouldn’t answer that either time he asked, could only talk about Gingrich sitting on the couch with Pelosi.

We are so screwed.

LegendHasIt on December 27, 2011 at 10:25 AM

On the other hand, a number of conservatives prefer the Fair Tax as a replacement for the income tax, and the Fair Tax is arguably a version of a VAT, at least in practice.

This.

Simply being associated with VAT is what kept Mitch Daniels out of contention. People misread and misunderstood him when he said he could support a VAT as long as it accompanied a flat tax.

JetBoy on December 27, 2011 at 10:25 AM

If we elect “Che Romney,” the RINOs will go along with his visions of VAT taxes and big government, thus reenacting the Bush years.

Typhonian on December 27, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Heh, “Che Romney” — I like that. :-)

Yeah, I’m pretty much done with Bush governance and the follies that came with it.

Punchenko on December 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Mitt Romney is being shoved down that throat of Republican primary voters.

I don’t trust him.

He won’t reveal his money bundlers, his tax returns,
Romney removed and replaced the hard drives in the computers in his Governor’s office and wiped his administration’s electronic communications from state servers when he left office.

There is no documentation to show it but moving up the primaries in New Hampshire & Florida and caucuses in Nevada & Iowa has always been known to favor Romney because he has been running for President for, at least, 5 years. This has given him more time to collect money, people and ammunition against anyone else who might run against him. In addition, the Republicans in charge of who gets on the primary ballot in Virginia changed the rules in November 2011.

What decisions in other states will be made at the last minute to assure Romney’s primary win?

If he becomes the Republican Nominee for President in 2012, how many dirty tricks will be used in the General election? If he wins the General election, how much credence can we give to his policy statements during this election when they are so different that the way he has governed in the past?

I have had doubts about him since I learned that he would not accept assistance from the Boy Scouts for the Olympics. It gives the impression that he is a control freak and couldn’t/can’t control volunteers. His “I am a hunter” doesn’t pass the smell test. He supported the Brady Act.

DarrelsJoy on December 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM

We are so screwed.

LegendHasIt on December 27, 2011 at 10:25 AM

At least there’s the military to keep Obama in check for another four years. :-(

Punchenko on December 27, 2011 at 10:27 AM

The guy who has been running for President the last 6 years @25%, an also ran from 2008 & who’s own name is synonymous with ‘serial career political loser’ seriously lacking in enough social intelligence to advance his stagnant low level “ceiling”, is being propagandized by the establishment GOP and it’s surrogate penhead (pinhead) pundits in newsrooms all over the country as the “inevitable electable” candidate to face Barack Obama. I see nothing viable to this moderate Democrat running with a pseudo-R next to his name other than a very sizable bankroll, which is fueling this whole “electable” myth to begin with to be sure. He’ll say anything to get elected. Anything. His past positions, or positioning, before every single political race he has entered confirm this.

The guy who gives millions of voters a window into his coreless political soul, “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals”, to “Rick, I’ll bet you $10,000″, to [paraphrased] let the [Nevada] housing market bottom out, to “yes Wolf, that [Mitt] is my real name”. I don’t buy into the ‘next in line entitlement’ theory that he is the best the GOP has to offer. 75% anybody but Romney is the real “frontrunner” in this primary season and has been for some time.

I sure wish Michele Bachmann would have gone after Mitt Romney in the same manner that she delivered against Newt Gingrich in that last debate. ABR crowd wants to see him held to the fire so to speak, rout out his inconsistencies and pro-left leaning agenda that he has either spoken well of or has actually implemented. Not the GOP’s best~

sunshinek67 on December 27, 2011 at 10:30 AM

I am not supportive of the VAT (I felt that was a basic problem with Cain’s 999 as well), but Romney’s position is a conservative one: replace a bad tax system with an alternative. Now, note he was not proposing it, but was answering a general question. I think it was a reasonable answer by him.

neoavatara on December 27, 2011 at 10:31 AM

What is this word? I have never heard it before. Curious!

cane_loader on December 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

That’s because it’s a very old fashioned (circa 1920′s or the like) slang term for intellectuals, or policy wonks, particularly those who are the supercilious, swollen-headed types. I picked it up somewhere and thought it was amusing.

Scriptor on December 27, 2011 at 10:32 AM

If only Mitt and his supporters would go after Democrat ideas and Obama the way they have gone after the Conservative candidates that have attempted to stop his nomination. Sigh. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that once he is nominated he will want to sing Kumbaya with the independants and moderates and refrain from attacking the One?

txmomof6 on December 27, 2011 at 10:32 AM

but will it blend?

Dannyp8262 on December 27, 2011 at 10:32 AM

This is interesting

Americans Deserve the Best: Top Ten Republican Candidates for President in a Brokered Convention – Big Government

Fallon on December 27, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Heh, “Che Romney” — I like that. :-)

Yeah, I’m pretty much done with Bush governance and the follies that came with it.

Punchenko on December 27, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Then you may use it, without attribution, and with impunity.

Typhonian on December 27, 2011 at 10:33 AM

This debate is not worth arguing until there is universal agreement to repeal the 16th amendment. Getting rid of the income tax authority and infrastructure is the argument we should be having, THEN we can debate what to replace it with. Once the repeal amendment goes to the states, there will be plenty of time to agree to the income tax’s replacement.

cartooner on December 27, 2011 at 10:34 AM

If only Mitt and his supporters would go after Democrat ideas and Obama

Have you listened to him speak? Or are you just quoting hyberbole?

bluealice on December 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Step 1: Repeal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.

Step 2: Enact the Fair Tax H.R. 25 curently in the House Ways and Means Committee.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR00025:

Then move on to something else.

dhugh on December 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

OOPS. The above link did not work. Try this one.

http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_bills

dhugh on December 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Gridlock is the best option if Obamney wins the primary. Screw Willard Romney and his big Government VAT idea. The idea is to reduce the size of Government, not expand.

jjnco73 on December 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM

We used to be the country that exported good ideas.

Now we import failed ideas.

Hope and change.

NoDonkey on December 27, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Did anyone even read the article. He says nothing about a VAT for you. Unless you pay corporate taxes..to replace the income tax. Talk about a dog whistle. VAT VAT..bad bad (I agree, but read the damn article.)

bluealice on December 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Yeah, I read the article. If you accept the premise that Corporations actually pay taxes themselves, this idea makes sense on the surface. Reality though, is that Corporations collect taxes….from their customers. Does anyone doubt that a VAT on Corporations will be paid by us as consumers? This is the problem with Mittens’ (the so called Conservative) premise. We would pay this tax.

ManWithNoParty on December 27, 2011 at 10:37 AM

mmmmmmmmmmmm…can you smell what the Mitt is cookin’?…a jumbo platter of big government with a side of wallstreet dressing….mmmmmmmm mmmmmm mmmmm

thedevilinside on December 27, 2011 at 10:38 AM

I want swamp_yankee to be in this thread to show off it’s idiocy.

A preview from yesterdays Romney thread:

Did Romney say he supported a VAT tax?

Yes or No

portlandon on December 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM

No.

“He says he doesn’t “like the idea” of layering a VAT onto the current income tax system.

swamp_yankee on December 26, 2011 at 1:05 PM

portlandon on December 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM

…his stagnant low level “ceiling”, is being propagandized by the establishment GOP and it’s surrogate penhead (pinhead) pundits in newsrooms all over the country as the “inevitable electable” candidate to face Barack Obama.

sunshinek67 on December 27, 2011 at 10:30 AM

I share your sentiments, but I can tell you that Republicans (establishment or otherwise) only wish they had pundits in newsrooms across the country. They don’t. Dems, yes, not Republicans.

cartooner on December 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

if it can be done effectively and with stringent limitations on tinkering.

Ed, do you have any idea how huge that “if” is? I had to be five miles back to see the whole thing.

swinia sutki on December 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Mitt Romney is being shoved down that throat of Republican primary voters.

To put it mildly. Which is why I intend to write in Sarah Palin’s name in the (Florida) Primary. This will have absolutely no effect on the election (unless a few million people get the same idea) but it is my way of giving the finger to that celebrated clot of moderates, independents and “moderate” Democrats who are we are told chafing at the bit to vote for Mitt. Sure. All 25% – to 28% of them. Even Sarah’s numbers weren’t that low, even after non-stop sandbagging by the DNC, aided and abetted by the GOP establshment.

As someone said, Mitt is just Obama in whiteface.

Scriptor on December 27, 2011 at 10:42 AM

I would take Romney as a stop-gap measure to get us part-way out of the ditch.

cane_loader on December 27, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Get us out of the ditch? He would dig it deeper!

rickv404 on December 27, 2011 at 10:46 AM

I live in Europe and these maggots here are always raising the VAT. In Poland it will be 23% effective Jan 1,2012.

celtic warrior on December 27, 2011 at 10:47 AM

The VAT is political dynamite, as Romney well knows, for a number of reasons.

That’s not a very fair approach to this topic, Ed. Romney is talking philosophically and very carefully about different tax reform models. He very clearly expresses concern about a VAT being layered over other taxes, and merely suggests that there might be a place for that in corporate taxation, but all in the context of tax reform.

That is not political dynamite, unless the person lighting the fuse is retarded.

Jaibones on December 27, 2011 at 10:48 AM

A VAT tax to replace the corporate tax structure leaves too much power in the hands of the politicians (who stink on ice). It’s too close to Washington picking the winners and losers all over again by tweaking who gets taxed and by how much. Why not just cut the corporate tax rate to 15% like Canada for starters and see how that plays out for a year or two? I don’t like what I see in Europe to trust anything ‘good’ about a VAT and how politicians play with it.

Bob in VA on December 27, 2011 at 10:52 AM

We still don’t know what the heck Romney believes or would do as POTUS. We just have to take his word for it that he is supah smart, and everything he does will be awesome.

bitsy on December 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

As someone said, Mitt is just Obama in whiteface.

Scriptor on December 27, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Or, as someone else said, he’s Slobama. Same place, slower pace.

swinia sutki on December 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

There’s no place in our system for a VAT of any sort. Once we get a VAT, it’s all over.

SlaveDog on December 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

cartooner on December 27, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Oh, I can list a few…Ann Coulter for one, maybe one of the more notable big mouths. Then there’s Jennifer Rubin, whom I affectionately refer to as the WaPo’s bathroom toilet blogger, for two. Andrea Tantaros from The Five just penned a nice little Romney marriage with Republicans hit piece in the NY Daily News; paper worthy of housetraining a new Christmas puppy :)

sunshinek67 on December 27, 2011 at 10:55 AM

ChuckTX on December 27, 2011 at 10:05 AM

that’d be real smart, write in someone who is busy hawking reality shows. rush has really gone off the rails here the last few months.

chasdal on December 27, 2011 at 10:59 AM

*Harks* back. Not *hearkens* back.

Hark = “To return to a previous subject or point.”

Hearken = “Pay attention or listen to.”

See? Not so hard.

Maybe soon people will figure out the difference between it’s/its. And drop its’ from their vocabularies.

JoseQuinones on December 27, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Every time I begin to resign myself to Romney, I learn something like this.

I hate our choices. With Gingrich, however, despite these flirtations with Pelosi on the couch and with Romney on Romneycare and taking money from Fannie and Freddie, I don’t think he’d be co-opted by the left once in office, conceding that the left is smarter than the right. Romney, on the other hand, seems to favor so many liberal positions and arguments.

Someone above said that there’s little room between Romney and Obama. I agree. And it’s why I think Romney will get trounced by Obama. I see Romney as a double-talking, less principled, and weaker version of Evan Bayh. When November 2012 comes, voters will see no difference between Romney and Obama, so they’ll keep the affirmative ax-shun hire knowing he’ll be gone in four years.

Speaking of Bayh, I think I’d feel better if he were the GOP nominee than if Romney ends up being the nominee.

BuckeyeSam on December 27, 2011 at 11:01 AM

If only Mitt and his supporters would go after Democrat ideas and Obama

Have you listened to him speak? Or are you just quoting hyberbole?

bluealice on December 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Yes as a matter of fact I have. He is a very smooth talker who says Obama is the problem and doesn’t understand the economy and he does. However, IMHO actions speak louder than words. He will not denounce RomneyCare and that speaks more to me than all his empty words about understanding the economy better than Obama.

txmomof6 on December 27, 2011 at 11:02 AM

If mittens is the nominee, I will not vote for president, I will work to fill the house and senate with real conservatives and pray for the best. I really don’t like mittens he isn’t even O lite. Same person different color!

angrymike on December 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Sorry but Romney is just a white Obama with a real birth certificate. He is mentioning the flat or fair tax because he knows Ron Paul is for it and so are most americans right now. Why are we for it? Well I for one as a property owner am tired of paying for the guy with 9 kids who lives in an apartment and pays nothing for his kids schooling. I am tired of paying for all the illegal hispanics and their social sucking ways.

RAIDER on December 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM

We pay a large number of hidden fees and taxes now.

How about making those visible?

Personally if it could be made transparent a VAT might be the fairest form of taxation.

Speakup on December 27, 2011 at 11:06 AM

As someone said, Mitt is just Obama in whiteface.

Scriptor on December 27, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Or, as someone else said, he’s Slobama. Same place, slower pace.

swinia sutki on December 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Slobama – yup – with Romney we’ll be guided in the same direction, just get to the desired destination later.

I can visualize a consumption tax at the final point of purchase, but not ever a VAT at any point, unless you really love the socialist European economic model that has worked so very well.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 11:10 AM

We pay a large number of hidden fees and taxes now.

How about making those visible?

I like that. I recall at one time at gas stations in California, posted on or near the gas pump, was a breakdown of all the taxes included in the price of a gallon of gas. Funny thing, sometime in the ’90s, that information disappeared, about the time prices per gallon escalated above $2-3. Obviously government mandated so a consumer couldn’t be constantly reminded how much of the price of a gallon of gas was being siphoned off to government.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Uh-huh, to be totally expected from the former governor of Taxachusetts.

IndeCon on December 27, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Obama will not even touch VAT with a ten inch pole.

Romney is a communist

liberal4life on December 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM

If you actually read the interview, it’s clear Romney was taking a look at REPLACING some parts of the corporate tax code with a VAT. He even said specifically “I don’t like the idea” when asked about simply adding a VAT tax.

I honestly don’t see what is so controversial with being open to reform instead of being married to the current ridiculous tax code, how American corporations are taxed is an incredible disadvantage compared to the rest of the world.

The NotRomney coalition is getting really desperate right now to push “Romney wants a VAT”.

BradTank on December 27, 2011 at 11:28 AM

The NotRomney coalition is getting really desperate right now to push “Romney wants a VAT”.

BradTank on December 27, 2011 at 11:28 AM

VAT is a European concept and should never be mentioned by an American running for President

liberal4life on December 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Sorry but Romney is just a white Obama with a real birth certificate…Well I for one as a property owner am tired of paying for the guy with 9 kids who lives in an apartment and pays nothing for his kids schooling. I am tired of paying for all the illegal hispanics and their social sucking ways.

RAIDER on December 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I like the cut of your jib, sir. And you’re absolutely correct; he’s for ALL the same liberal nonsense as Obummer, just slightly diluted.

VAT is a European concept and should never be mentioned by an American running for President

liberal4life on December 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM

My goodness, something I can agree with you on 110%!

The VAT would be a total disaster here in the US; the cultural and economic differences between us and Europe are staggering. It would be like trying to run Super Mario on a Macintosh.

MelonCollie on December 27, 2011 at 11:36 AM

A Flyer going out in early primary states:

Have a look:

http://buddysblog.typepad.com/.a/6a0134873aa66a970c0162fe7a41b1970d-pi

coach1228 on December 27, 2011 at 11:36 AM

A VAT along with getting rid of or radically changing the progressive tax code would certainly get more skin in the game for half the country who skates. It’s not necessarily a “liberal” notion.

AYNBLAND on December 27, 2011 at 11:36 AM

He said he doesnt like the idea of a VAT in the current system. And if one was implemented, he would want it to replace an existing part of our tax code. The guy understands economics and knows what it would do to the economy if he just added a VAT without taking anything away…

Lets try not to make it into something it isnt.

UBuffaloBulls on December 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

A VAT along with getting rid of or radically changing the progressive tax code would certainly get more skin in the game for half the country who skates. It’s not necessarily a “liberal” notion.

AYNBLAND on December 27, 2011 at 11:36 AM

You’re confusing the VAT with something like the Fairtax. The former is a disastrous idea that plays a shell game with taxes, with a trickle-down effect that clobbers final consumers the hardest.

MelonCollie on December 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

The NotRomney coalition is getting really desperate right now to push “Romney wants a VAT”.

BradTank on December 27, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Or another way to look at it, the ProRomney coalition is getting has been really desperate right now to push Romney….

sunshinek67 on December 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

http://buddysblog.typepad.com/.a/6a0134873aa66a970c0162fe7a41b1970d-pi

coach1228 on December 27, 2011 at 11:36 AM

That link provides the greatest irony of all in this primary season. Romney, regarded by the establishment as the GOP’s best, the “inevitable electable” reconciled with this “flyer”, factual self-conflicting statements of positions from his decades long career as a serial political loser. What.A.Joke.

sunshinek67 on December 27, 2011 at 11:45 AM

I hereby propose that Ed Morrisey never be allowed to post about Romney again. Jazz and Tina do a much more objective job.

Crefonso on December 27, 2011 at 11:46 AM

A VAT is a major loser. As a former ex-pat, I’ve seen what it has done to commerce and industry in Europe, especially Scandinavia.
A flat tax
(11% – 18%, depending on how many government departments are allowed to exist and what entitlements programs will be tossed)

Is the best way to go.
Pick a number, NOT another tax cloaked in “soak the rich”.

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

And we have yet another vague Presidential candidate. The last time a candidate was this vague he ran on “hope & change.” We all see how that has worked out. Give specifics already!

Ten on December 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Or, as someone else said, he’s Slobama. Same place, slower pace.

swinia sutki on December 27, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I’m just sick of it.

Sick of people saying (generic rino)==0bama

Any of our candidates will nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court. In the long run, that is what will return us to constitutional government.

Go ahead, let Obama control the Court. That will be the end of America.

mockmook on December 27, 2011 at 11:49 AM

VAT is a European concept and should never be mentioned by an American running for President

liberal4life on December 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM

He didn’t “mention” it out of the blue, he was specifically asked by the Wall Street Journal about a VAT tax, and he said “he didn’t like the idea” of adding one but was open to LOOKING at REPLACING parts of the current tax code with some sort of consumption based model like Paul Ryan has proposed.

BradTank on December 27, 2011 at 11:50 AM

I agree with just about everybody here. Mitt is nothing more than a RINO. Once elected, he will morph into an Obama-lite. Write in PALIN. Force her to run.

gasmeterguy on December 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

will not repeal ObamaCare
will not repeal Gays in Military
will not cut spending
will not curb illegal immigration
will not defund Planned Parenthood
will not put brakes on the EPA

and he’d like a VAT on top of all that

CONSERVATIVE?

….”You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

lm10001 on December 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Got it in just in time – top comic post for 2011.

noeastern on December 27, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Corporate VAT something to consider? Wonder what Romney’s position is on offshore tax havens?

While in private business, Mitt Romney used shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying US taxes, federal and state records show.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/12/19/romney_utilized_offshore_tax_havens_to_help_investors/

momoftxmomof3 on December 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

I didn’t like Cain for supporting the corporate VAT; so why am I supposed to like Romney; for it now? Neither claimed to want it on top of the current system, but that is exactly what you will get without a constitutional amendment forbidding the feds from combining a VAT with an income tax. Anyone who fails to recognize that simple fact is unfit to be president.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Did anyone even read the article. He says nothing about a VAT for you. Unless you pay corporate taxes..to replace the income tax. Talk about a dog whistle. VAT VAT..bad bad (I agree, but read the damn article.)

bluealice on December 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Just WHO do you think PAYS those taxes?

ANSWER: Everyone who buys a product of that corporation.

dominigan on December 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Sick of people saying (generic rino)==0bama

Any of our candidates will nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court. In the long run, that is what will return us to constitutional government.

Go ahead, let Obama control the Court. That will be the end of America.

mockmook on December 27, 2011 at 11:49 AM

In my opinion, Romney is actually worse than Obama. He will morph the only party that has a chance of taking this country off of the statist trajectory into Statist Party II. Then who will keep us from turning into Greece? If you replace LBJ with Nixon, you don’t get the problems fixed – you get Carter. A GOP congress will work to stop Obama, see, e.g., Clinton, but will work with Romney to expand the state, see, e.g., Bush, GW.

And I expect SCOTUS Justice nominations in the mold of Souter, Stevens, etc. if Romney is president. At least that’s what his 25% GOP nomination record in Massachusetts would suggest.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Romney and the VAT

Someone should write a musical version to the tune of “Bennie and the Jets”.

zmdavid on December 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

I’m just sick of it.

Sick of people saying (generic rino)==0bama

Any of our candidates will nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court. In the long run, that is what will return us to constitutional government.

Go ahead, let Obama control the Court. That will be the end of America.

mockmook on December 27, 2011 at 11:49 AM

No they won’t. Bush senior gave us the wonderful David Souter, and….

Romney WILL TOO!

He is a progressive, it is that simple.

I will not vote for him or Huntsman because they are progressives.

It is not taking a chance by letting Obama defeat Romney. They are of the same cloth, both silver spoon pampered big government technocrats.

Why do you new people who were let in by Townhall try to defend the indefensible?

Cut it out. You are really looking foolish.

Eventually an anti-Romney candidate will coalesce and that is who we vote for whether that ends up as Newt, one of the Ricks, Michele, or a late entering Palin.

By the way, in case nobody understands the GOP Primary delegate numbers, the March proportional delegate awards, and that starting April it is winner-take-all, a candidate could get in as late as mid to late February. All they have to do is seize the momentum before April 1st and it is there’s.

Romney would be a huge step to the end of the United States and to put us on the road to European socialism with its secularis and defenselessness against Islam. Combine that with an open border which Mitt will make sure of and it’s game over.

KirknBurker on December 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Cut spending and taxes by 25% this year and every following year until the government is doing only it’s moral job: night watchman protecting our property and contracts, and defending us from criminal nations.
That means individuals fund their own education, energy, housing, roads, transportation, health-care, retirement funds, recreation, construction, automobiles, etc., etc. Do you see the pattern?
Once more, say it with me: government equals police, courts, and military. individuals equal everything else.

WyattsTorch on December 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Did anyone even read the article. He says nothing about a VAT for you. Unless you pay corporate taxes..to replace the income tax. Talk about a dog whistle. VAT VAT..bad bad (I agree, but read the damn article.)

bluealice on December 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Spoken like a true liberal – corporate taxes aren’t paid by the people? Pure brain-dead leftism.

And a VAT only makes logical sense in a corporate tax context. Who pays the VAT taxes in all of the countries that have them? The companies where the value added work is done. To say that the VAT for corporations is okay, but not for individuals means that you have no idea what a VAT is, or how it works.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Romney would be a huge step to the end of the United States and to put us on the road to European socialism with its secularis and defenselessness against Islam. Combine that with an open border which Mitt will make sure of and it’s game over.

KirknBurker on December 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Yep. If Romney is the nominee, better to lose in 2012 and pray that we an make it to 2016.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM

That means individuals fund their own education, energy, housing, roads, transportation, health-care, retirement funds, recreation, construction, automobiles, etc., etc. Do you see the pattern?
Once more, say it with me: government equals police, courts, and military. individuals equal everything else.

WyattsTorch on December 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

I’d also like to see individuals (bankers) price and pay for their own risk rather than socialize risk and privatize profit. (I.e., no more bailouts and corporate give aways.)

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Comment pages: 1 2