About Those Romney Tax Studies

About Those Romney Tax Studies September 19, 2012

One of the mantras coming out of the Romney campaign lately is that five studies have shown that his plan to cut $5 billion in taxes, mostly from the wealthy, will boost the economy without increasing the debt. The Huffington Post looks at those “studies.”

A closer examination, however, calls into question the fact that there are even five studies at all. Last week, the Romney campaign passed along the five documents that the candidate had referenced on NBC’s Meet the Press. Three of the five are blog posts or op-eds (as opposed to academic literature), and two of those three are written bythe same author: Harvard economist Martin Feldstein.

Of the remaining two studies, one is the tax reform white paper authored by Romney-backing economists and paid for by Romney for President, Inc. (in an email to PolitiFact, the Romney campaign highlighted several Wall Street Journal editorials in place of the campaign white paper as the “fifth” study).

The final study, produced by Princeton University’s Harvey Rosen, backs the Romney campaign’s assertions by arguing that people will work more, accumulate more income, pay more taxes, and seek out fewer loopholes if their tax rates are lowered. But even that report has several nuances that complicate the candidate’s use of it.

Feldstein’s analysis requires that Romney eliminate a lot of deductions for those who make over $100,000 a year to make up for the lost revenue. But guess what? Romney has already said that he won’t do that. He says he absolutely will not raise taxes on “middle income” folks, but he defines “middle income” as below $250,000 (which isn’t even close, of course, but that’s another subject).

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