Personally, I thought the president was equally incisive and together in the first debate. But obviously the media has its own frame to fill, and shouting down others and bullying seem to be the "presidential" qualities du jour. It plays to Mitt Romney's strengths, but saddens and disturbs me. This after a period when we heard so much about the badness of bullying. How ironic.
Anyhow, Mr. Romney made a statement that was very important. Not new, but I hadn't heard it quite so clearly before:
"But your rate comes down and the burden also comes down on you for one more reason, and that is every middle-income taxpayer no longer will pay any tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. No tax on your savings. That makes life a lot easier.[Editor's note.. the comments below provide significant context to this quote, in that Romney added that his no-investment tax promise applies only up to middle-income taxpayers.]
And I will not -- I will not under any circumstances, reduce the share that's being paid by the highest income taxpayers."
If Obama were paying attention, he might have answered with something like:
"Mr Romney just said that in his plan, taxes on capital gains, investment income, and dividends would be eliminated. What would that do to his own taxes? Right now, under the Bush tax cuts, Mr Romney pays about 14% in taxes, which is lower than most middle class families and which I regard as disgraceful. Under his own plan, he would pay zero in taxes. Zero in taxes, because pretty much all his income is investment income.
Now there is no way to make up for this with deductions, credits, and loopholes, because he would already be paying zero taxes. Deductions and loopholes would have no effect. Extrapolating out to everyone in his position, again, there is no way to make up all his proposed tax gifts to the rich with deductions, credits, and loopholes.
Mr. Romney may be doing quantum mechanics or something. Frankly, I don't understand a lot of complicated math. But if you use arithmetic, there is no way to make all this add up. No way to make up for the enormous and explicit tax gifts Mr. Romney proposes for the rich with any amount of deductions, credits, and loopholes.
And I believe it is insulting to you as listeners and citizens that Mr. Romney stands here and says otherwise, without having the detailed plan and math to back him up. His statements about making sure the rich pay their share are pure hot air, contrary to everything the modern Republican party stands for, and to everything he said during the campaign up until a few days ago.
Add in the elimination of the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax, and, when you are looking at Mr Romney, you are looking at a future of the rich in America getting richer and the poor getting poorer, in perpetuity. Of Mr. Romney and people like him, stomping on the face of the average American, forever."
- Colbert had an insightful analysis of Romney's debate tactics and tax plan.
- Late addition- Salt Lake City Tribune endorses Obama.