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Mitt Romney thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts. We’re talking tax policy, and try as he might, the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of his plan is the rock in the road he has to get around.

Let me smash-cut to William Gale, at Brookings:

In a recent paper I wrote with two colleagues, we showed that a revenue-neutral plan that met five specific goals that Governor Romney had put forth (reducing income tax rates by 20 percent, repealing the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, and capital income taxes for middle class households, and enhancing saving and investment) would cut taxes for households with income above $200,000, and — as a result of revenue-neutrality — would therefore necessarily have to raise taxes on taxpayers below $200,000.

This was true even when we bent over backwards to make the plan as favorable to Romney as possible. We considered an unrealistically progressive way of financing the specified tax reductions. We accounted for revenue feedback coming from potential economic growth estimates as estimated by Romney advisor Greg Mankiw. We even ignored the need to finance about a trillion dollars in Romney’s proposed corporate cuts.

Our conclusion was not a prediction about Governor Romney would do as president, it was an arithmetic calculation: all of the promises couldn’t be met simultaneously without resorting to tax increases on households with income below $200,000.M

This is an important thing to remember as you consider the criticism of Romney’s tax plan. Those who have evaluated it have bent over backwards to assume the best about Romney’s tax plan. Time and time again, it’s been found to be innumerate. Bloomberg’s Josh Barro did his level best to put down the final verdict on the matter last week:

I said Romney’s tax plan is mathematically impossible: he can’t simultaneously keep his pledges to cut tax rates 20 percent and repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax; broaden the tax base enough to avoid growing the deficit; and not raise taxes on the middle class. They say they have six independent studies — six! — that “have confirmed the soundness of the governor’s tax plan,” and so I should stop whining. Let’s take a tour of those studies and see how they measure up.

The Romney campaign sent over a list of the studies, but they are perhaps more accurately described as “analyses,” since four of them are blog posts or op-eds. I’m not hating — I blog for a living — but I don’t generally describe my posts as “studies.”

None of the analyses do what Romney’s campaign says: show that his tax plan is sound.

Read the whole thing: that’s precisely what the six “studies” that Romney has touted as support of his plan have said.

Barro concludes, thusly:

Finally, I would note one item that the Romney campaign does not cite in support of its tax plan: Any analysis actually prepared for the campaign in preparation for announcing the plan in February. You would expect that, in advance of announcing a tax plan, the campaign would commission an analysis to make sure that all of its planks can coexist. Releasing that analysis now would be to the campaign’s advantage, helping them put down claims like mine that their math doesn’t add up.

Why don’t they release that analysis? My guess is because the analysis doesn’t exist, and the 20 percent rate cut figure was plucked out of thin air for political reasons without regard to whether it was feasible.

The problem for Romney remains: his tax proposals either blow out the budget, or force a tax hike on middle-income earners.

— Jason Linkins

If President Barack Obama strikes you as a little off his game tonight, you might take a look at one thing that’s way off the agenda: a mini-war that broke out between Syria and Turkey earlier today.

That might sound remote, but the U.S. is actually deeply entrenched in the now 18-month civil conflict in Syria, and most American resources — supplies for the rebels, aid for refugees, intelligence assets — are being marshalled through Turkey, just to the north.

Even so, the Obama administration has been working to tamp down tensions, and keep the conflict from spilling into a larger regional war. (That is part of why the U.S. has resisted calls to create a “safe haven” for Syrian rebels along the Turkish border.) Today, however, events overtook plans: the Syrian military fired mortars that ended up in a town on the Turkish side of the border, and Turkey replied with air strikes.

“This is a gesture, not a war,” one regional expert told the Washington Post. But NATO had to meet (Turkey is a member of the coalition), and there’s no doubt the tense matter took up a bit portion of the president’s day.

— Joshua Hersh

HuffPost reports:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney slammed the start of the Democratic National Convention in an interview on Wednesday, referring to the Charlotte proceedings as a “celebration of failure” and going after Democrats for removing the word “God” and reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel from their platform language.

“I think their having removed purposefully God from their platform suggests a party which is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of American people,” Romney said in an interview with Fox News. “I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize.”

Click here to read more.

Romney Criticizes Democratic National Convention, Party Platform

Um, Mittens?

You’re speaking for the party that has openly endorsed rapists and their acts of rape, the unconstitutional taking-away of every American woman’s reproductive rights, preventing LGBT Americans from getting married, adopting children, buying a home together, denying people health insurance due to “pre-existing conditions,” firing LGBT Americans due to their sexual orientations, and supporting fetus rights rather than the rights of their mothers.

Sounds like your party is the one who left God, his principles, and his teachings.

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)

HuffPost’s Luke Johnson reports:

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), a longtime surrogate of President Barack Obama, used his unique vantage point as governor of Massachusetts to attack the record of his predecessor, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“Mitt Romney talks a lot about all the things he’s fixed. I can tell you that Massachusetts was not one of them,” Patrick said to applause. “He’s a fine fellow and a great salesman, but as governor he was a lot more interested in having the job than doing the job.”

Click here to read more.

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich went back and forth over Gingrich’s comment that the Palestinians are an “invented people.” Toward the end of the exchange, Romney attempted to use the issue to paint Gingrich as someone who, as president, would shoot from the hip and whose lack of discipline would cause problems for the U.S. abroad and hurt the nation’s foreign diplomacy.

“If I’m president of the United States, I will exercise sobriety, care, stability, and make sure that in a setting like this, anything I say that can affect a place with rockets going in, with people dying, I don’t do anything that will harm that process,” Romney said of Israel.

“And therefore before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, ‘Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do? Let’s work together because we’re partners. I’m not a bomb-thrower, rhetorically or literally,” Romney said.

Gingrich, who could be seen winking to someone in the audience as Romney talked, turned the contrast around and used it to his own advantage, and in the process effectively called Romney “timid.”

“I think sometimes that it’s helpful to have a president of the United States who has the courage to tell the truth,” Gingrich said, arguing that then-President Ronald Reagan went around his national security advisers to call the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and “overruled” the State Department to utter his famous “Tear down this wall” line.

“Reagan believed the power of truth, restated to the world, reframed the world,” Gingrich said. “I’m a Reaganite. I’m proud to be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth, even if it’s at the risk of causing some confusion, sometimes with the timid.”

Jon Ward

No names were mentioned when the candidates were asked whether voters should consider marital fidelity in making their choice for president. But it was no accident that Newt Gingrich looked a bit uncomfortable as each of his opponents took a turn at answering.

Rick Perry said he “made a vow to my wife and a vow to God” and that was “even stronger than a handshake in Texas.” When ABC’s George Stephanopolous asked if infidelity made a politician more likely to break faith with the voters, Perry responded, “If you will cheat on your wife, cheat on your spouse, why not cheat on your business partner?”

Rick Santorum said that marital infidelities are “not a disqualifier” but are “certainly a factor” and that in electing a leader, “trust is everything.”

Michele Bachmann, in a Newt-onian flourish, cited the Federalist Papers, saying that what is needed in a president is not wealth, education or position. “It is what is the measure of the man, or, in this case, woman. Will they keep their word? Will they be a man or woman of integrity? That’s what they cared about. … Who are you really? What’s your core?” she said.

Then it was Gingrich’s turn. “Well, first of all, it’s a real issue,” he conceded, noting that voters “have to have a feeling this is a person they can trust. … People have to render judgment.”

“I’ve said I made mistakes,” he added as the TV cameras showed his third wife, Callista. He then suggested that given that he is now a 68-year-old grandfather, it might be time to move on. “I’m delighted at the way people have been willing to look at who I am,” said Gingrich.

Andrea Stone

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