A Clear Choice On Taxes: Progressive Obama or Regressive Romney

Bill Scher

After the 2010 tax cut deal between President Obama and congressional Republicans, some on the left presumed Obama was giving up on ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. But I argued at the time that he was simply playing for time while facing a hostile House, and 2012 would feature a straight-up debate on whether to keep them or not.

Now there is no question about it. President Obama has thrown down the gauntlet, drawing attention to Mitt Romney’s commitment to cut taxes even more for the wealthiest Americans.

Obama is for letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire on schedule at the end of this year, returning the top rate to where it was in the 1990s, 39.6%. He also wants the capital gains tax to increase from 15% to 23.8%

Romney is for cutting the top tax rate even more than Bush, down to 28%.

And abolishing the estate tax on multimillionaire heirs.

And cutting corporate taxes from 35% to 25%, without specifying any loopholes he would close to raise offsetting revenue.

And giving multinational corporations a “tax holiday” on their overseas profits.

And keeping the capital gains tax absurdly low for the wealthy (while eliminating it for those earning below $200,000, people who generally don’t earn much capital gains.)

And Romney would increase taxes on the working poor and middle-class. As the Tax Policy Center explains: “Tax provisions in the 2009 stimulus act and subsequently extended through 2012 would expire. These include the American Opportunity tax credit for higher education, the expanded refundability of the child credit, and the expansion of the earned income tax credit (EITC).”

We were told in the Bush years that cutting taxes for the wealthy was simply cutting taxes on “job creators” who would certainly use the money to create jobs. Yet Bush ended up with the worst jobs record on record,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Now Romney doesn’t just want to copy Bush. He wants to give the wealthy even more than Bush, and he wants to take back President Obama’s attempts to give the middle class and working poor needed relief as they try to stay afloat in the aftermath of the Bush financial crisis.

No poll-tested, focus-group gray areas here. Voters will have a clear choice between a more progressive tax code and a more regressive one.

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