The biggest item with which Team Obama was able to come out swinging following last week’s presidential debate (except for something about Mitt Romney being too “aggressive” and possibly trying to cheat on live television) was playing up their hilariously-contrived claim that Mitt Romney’s plan for ‘$5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy must necessarily raise taxes on the middle class or increase the deficit’ — a claim with which Robert Samuelson took umbrage:
To justify its $5 trillion figure — the estimated tax loss over a decade — the Obama campaign had to cherry-pick Romney’s proposal and the TPC analysis. It had to ignore any revenue raised by reducing tax breaks and assume that, faced with a conflict between the rich and the middle class, Romney would automatically side with the rich — as opposed to shielding the middle class from any tax increase. On Wednesday, Romney promised to protect the middle class.
The TPC report was widely interpreted as saying Romney would have to raise taxes on the middle class. It didn’t, says the TPC’s Howard Gleckman. It simply pointed out that he couldn’t keep all “his ambitious campaign promises.” He’d have to make choices and modifications. So what else is new?
Despite its highly imaginary derivation, Obama has continued to use the figure on the stump and the campaign has touted it as point-of-fact fodder (even though, when pressed, the logic starts to fall apart, heh), so the Romney camp is finally hitting back with an ad of their own disputing Team Obama’s numbers:
Unfortunately, the $5 trillion figure sounds sufficiently startling that Team Obama will probably keep using it (which means we should probably also respond with the significantly more frightening one of $16 trillion waiting in the offing), and we’ve still got another month of these campaign exaggeration/distortion/deception reindeer games with which we’ll all have to contend.