The Romney Hood myth exposed
posted at 11:47 am on August 9, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
At a fundraiser in New York in July, the president told a group of supporters who had paid $40,000 apiece for an hour of his time:
This phase of the campaign I think you’re seeing a lot of negative ads and a lot of contrast ads, although when people start saying how terrible it is I just have to remind them to take a look at what Jefferson and Adams had to say about each other, and democracy has always been pretty rough and pretty messy.
Never mind what Jefferson and Adams had to say. Instead, take a look and listen to what Obama had to say. Actually, less than a half hour after he decried negative campaigning in this video recorded on April 23, 2008, he jeeringly derided opponent John McCain, distorting the man’s words. It should come as no surprise that Obama is running one of the ugliest campaigns in history this time around.
Of course, his campaign staff will tell you that some of the mud being slung is beyond their control. When asked to denounce one particularly outrageous ad that falsely pins a cancer death on Mitt Romney, they will insist that the spot was crafted by a third-party group. What’s more, his advisers claim, they “don’t know the specifics” of the increasingly dubious back story, even though the ad’s star, a former plant worker named Joe Soptic, was featured in one of their own ads. Besides, as Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said yesterday, “The important point here is that Mitt Romney’s campaign is based solely on his experience as a corporate buyout specialist, and while he has been quick to claim he created jobs, he refuses to accept responsibility for the jobs that were lost and workers that were impacted.”
LaBolt hasn’t commented on another bit of campaign lore—that Romney’s economic plan gives the super-rich a tax cut, the middle class a haircut. Obama, easing into his favorite role of ridiculer-in-chief, has even fashioned a nickname for his opponent: “Romney Hood,” Robin Hood in reverse. It is his favorite current caustic laugh line on the campaign trail.
Even the left-leaning John Avlon writing at The Daily Beast notes a problem with the Romney Hood meme, which “unintentionally underscores Obama’s own tax problem—namely that his core rationale for raising taxes on the rich seems rooted in concepts of ‘fairness’ rather than arguments about shared sacrifice or investment in national greatness. It is a social-justice argument rather than an economic one.”
But don’t expect Obama to part with this moniker soon, not when he has “the facts” on his side. Not when he is able to say, seemingly without fear of contradiction, that under Romney’s plan “folks making $3 million a year or more would get a quarter-million dollar tax cut” while hard-working Americans earning much less would see their taxes increased by $2,000. But “you don’t have to take my word for it,” he says, trotting out the standard carnival barker’s spiel. He then proudly points to a nonpartisan study by the Tax Policy Center, which he says proves unequivocally that Romney is looking out for himself and people like him.
Much of the liberal media have jumped on the bandwagon as well, even though the study contains the proviso, “We do not score Governor Romney’s plan directly as certain components of his plan are not specified in sufficient detail.” That doesn’t stop the liberal think tank from plowing ahead, analyzing “features of the Romney plan that aren’t even in it,” as a Wall Street Journal editorial notes.
In a nutshell, Romney’s proposal is to cut 20% off the tax rate of anyone who pays income taxes. In a graduated system like ours, the higher the tax bracket, the larger the cut. The plan proposes to finance these cuts by “broadening the tax base” through a reduction or elimination of deductions and loopholes—a burden imposed mostly on higher-income earners. These measures, the Romney campaign posits, would spur economic growth, which is current stagnating at 2%.
Obama’s plan, by contrast, raising taxes on the rich, would neither stimulate the economy or pay down the debt. If anything, it would echo the redistributionist rhetoric that he let slip in his brief exchange with Joe, the Plumber, in 2008 and then vigorously denied.
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