Fuzzy Math All Around

GOP Presidential candidate has been roundly criticized for putting forward a budget plan that doesn’t add up. His proposal to cut income tax rates by 20 percent across the board, when combined with other tax pledges (such as reducing the corporate tax rate and eliminating the AMT) would total an estimated $5 trillion, and there’s no way to pay for these changes simply by closing tax loopholes and eliminating deductions for the wealthy.

The Obama campaign argues Romney can’t make his tax plan revenue neutral without raising taxes on the middle class. Notes Philip Klein:

Obama has a point — Romney will have difficulty balancing the budget by his second term while walling off roughly two-thirds of the budget from cuts, and cutting tax rates by 20 percent without touching popular deductions. But if Obama wants to be a stickler for math, that opens up his own tax and spending claims to more scrutiny. In reality, it is mathematically impossible to protect popular programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from serious cuts and avoid massive deficits merely by raising taxes on the top 2 percent of taxpayers. Yet whenever Obama touts his “balanced approach” to the nation’s debt problem, this is exactly the plan he describes.

And, as Klein notes, the Obama campaign has no answer for this. The President’s claim to have a plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion in ten years is equally phony. So the President’s correct that Romney’s math doesn’t add up, but the President’s math is no better.

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