Read Mitt’s lips: no new taxes on the middle class, no net tax decrease for high earners, no cuts in defense spending.
In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Mitt Romney stayed on message and continued to “hammer away” on what the Romney-Ryan ticket hopes will become their bumper sticker for the remaining weeks of the campaign: “It’s basically ‘You want more jobs? You want higher income? Then vote for Romney and Ryan,” said Romney.
In an effort to neutralize the Obama campaign’s narrative that their candidate is the champion of the middle class, Romney went further than in the past to stress that his across-the-board tax cuts are not designed to benefit the wealthy, though a number of independent studies have concluded that they would do just that.
“We’re not going to have high-income people pay less of the tax burden than they pay today. That’s not what’s going to happen,” he said. “High-income people are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions…otherwise they’d get a tax break. And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high-income taxpayers…and contrary to what the Democrats are saying, I’m not going to increase the tax burden on middle income families. It would be absolutely wrong to do that.”
Echoing charges from his running-mate Paul Ryan that Obama has put the country on the path to decline, Romney argued that his opponent’s reelection would mean four more years of chronic high unemployment, low wage growth, and a snowballing debt crisis that will bring a European-style debt calamity closer to America’s doorstep. He contrasted that with his own across-the-board tax cuts and pro-jobs policies, which he argues will cause the economy to come “roaring back.”
“There are many, many entrepreneurs as well as major corporations that are ready to jump,” said Romney. “But they are hoping to see the kind of conditions on the ground in this country, the pro-business, pro-jobs conditions, that suggest it’s a good idea to invest in America again.”
As in the past, however, Romney refused to offer specifics about where he would cut spending other than limiting some unnamed deductions for wealthy tax payers and offering Americans a less-expensive form of Medicare that would involve vouchers. Democrats quickly seized on that lack of detail; the Democratic National Committee shot reporters an email sarcastically headlined, "Specifics? Who Needs Specifics?"
Until he does offer specifics, the Romney-Ryan plan of across-the-board tax cuts and significant increases in defense spending will fail to pass the debt reduction test posed by former president Bill Clinton in his speech to the Democratic Convention: He called it arithmetic.