The Wall Street Journal reports,
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, seeking to emphasize his deficit-cutting ambitions, is warning Americans that his tax-cut plan might not decrease their tax bills as much as they expect.
Amid a push by the campaign to remind voters of big deficits, Mr. Romney on Wednesday told an Ohio crowd that while he would work to lower tax rates on businesses and individuals, they shouldn’t “be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions.”
The campaign is still exploring options to broaden the taxable-income base, which would mean limiting or cutting deductions and credits for certain taxpayers. Mr. Romney has previously said those limits would likely apply to Americans whose adjusted gross income is more than $200,000 a year.
Still exploring? At this stage of the game? And remind me where I heard this idea before: “Don’t worry. If you make less than $200,000 per year, you won’t see a penny in tax increases.” Right. Romney is playing the same card Obama did in 2008, when conservatives blasted Obama for it.
Now, in political bizarro-world, conservative candidates use the same taxation arguments liberals did four years ago, and liberal candidates blast the Republicans for believing in “top-down economics”:
“My opponent and his running mate are big believers in top-down economics,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday in Ohio. “They basically think that if we just spend another $5 trillion on tax cuts that favor the very wealthiest, then … prosperity and jobs will rain down on everybody else. The deficit will magically go away, and we will live happily ever after.”
Mr. Romney’s response to those charges has been hamstrung in part because he hasn’t specified which deductions he might eliminate to ensure that tax revenue doesn’t fall. In addition, his advisers have assumed that the economic growth they believed would stem from tax cuts also would raise revenue, lessening the impact on the deficit.
But in recent days, Mr. Romney has worked to clarify that his plan wouldn’t actually reduce tax revenue, at least not much, thereby not affecting the deficit as much as Democrats allege.
Of course, the WSJ says, this “shift” is classic Romney, telling his latest audience what they want to hear: “The shift comes as the Romney campaign sees an opening among independent voters, who remain deeply concerned about growing levels of government debt.”
To hear how this week’s pro-tax revenue Romney plans to appeal to hard-core fiscal conservatives, tune in next week, we can suppose.