Hunting for a tax plan, votes and more polls
The Kansas City Star
Romney’s taxing plan
We can all agree taxes are complicated. But GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has made following his tax ideas a game of hide and seek.
A year ago, Romney proposed no tax cuts for the rich, an extension of the Bush tax cuts, elimination of capital gains taxes for those making under $200,000, lower corporate taxes and no estate tax.
By last February, in a heated primary race, he tacked harder right, ladeling on another 20 percent rate reduction for all, with promises to not add to the deficit by eliminating unspecified tax loopholes and deductions.
Immedidately, a nonpartisan tax center screamed foul, saying that plan would benefit the wealthy and hurt the middle class.
Last April, Romney told donors he would “probably” eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on second homes for high-income Americans, as well as deductions for state and local income taxes.
In August, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center argued that eliminating deductions for high-income payers wouldn’t be enough to pay for the tax rate cuts and would add to the deficit. The center said the corporate tax rate reduction, without eliminating corporate deductions, would cost middle class taxpayers $2,000 to keep revenues neutral.
Conservative Romney adviser Martin Feldstein disputed the Tax Policy Center figuring. But Feldstein’s math “excludes the corporate tax cut, redefines middle class and overstates savings that could be gained from the elimination of upper-income tax breaks,” according to Travis Waldron, of Americans United for Change, a liberal outfit.
By early fall, a couple of conservative tax experts at the American Enterprise Institute admitted the plan wouldn’t work. Romney continued to skirt naming a single loophole or deduction he would close.
This month, Romney floated a new idea to cap the deductions each taxpayer can use at $17,000 — which also reportedly falls short of paying for his tax-cut plan.
More recently, the cap idea leaped to either $25,000 or $50,000. The Washington Post said a $50,000 cap would be virtually irrelevant because even taxpayers in the top 1 to 5 percent averaged only $43,208 in deductions.
Most recently, Romney told the Des Moines Register editorial board he will need “flexibility” to make his tax plan add up.
It’s urgent Americans hear specifics. Anyone at next week’s presidential town hall meeting willing to take on this question and not settle for evasion?
A hunting we will go
Politicians are hunting for votes this fall. Naturally, that also means they are trying to arm themselves with images as real, big-game hunters. Or some such nonsense.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster recently received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. He immediately touted it, saying, “As attorney general, my job is to protect and defend the rights of all Missourians — and this includes their right to bear arms.” Amen to that. Thank goodness there hasn’t been a serious effort to take guns away from Missourians in, oh, decades.
Koster was the only Democrat in a statewide race to get the NRA’s blessing. Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, secretary of state nominee Shane Schoeller and state treasurer nominee Cole McNary also are backed by the pro-gun group.
The group made no endorsement in the governor’s race, ignoring Democrat Jay Nixon’s photo-op penchant for hunting and fishing.
U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin also has the backing of the NRA for his pro-gun views during his time in the House of Representatives. In recent months, though, with his “legitimate rape” remark and other gaffes, Akin has been more successful in shooting himself in the foot than bagging a lot more voters.
A poll on polls
Love polls? Hate them? You decide in this week’s Political Fracas (what else?) poll.
Americans are being inundated with the results of more opinion polls than ever in 2012, from the presidential race on down.
A few weeks ago President Barack Obama seemed assured of re-election.
But now a Mitt Romney surge is getting the headlines. Still, there’s great debate about what all this means.
What’s your view on polls?
Don’t pay attention to them. The only poll that matters occurs on Election Day.
They are at least interesting because they show how a specific political horse race is playing out.
They matter greatly. They influence everything from how much money candidates receive to voter turnout.
Go to Midwest Debate at kansascity.com/opinion to record your choice and tell us why in the comments section.