The Romney and Obama tax plans: West Chester 8/3/12

On August 3, Obama headquarters in West Chester hosted four speakers who took issue with Mitt Romney’s tax proposals, as recounted in “Democrats rallying for Obama tax plan” by Michael N. Price, Daily Local News, 8/4/12, taxes have risen to the top of campaign issues, thanks in part to a recent report by a non-profit specialized in tax analysis:

…The event came just days after the non-partisan Tax Policy Center issued a report highlighting the potential effects of Romney’s proposed tax plan. According to the study, Romney’s plan would extend the 2001-03 tax cuts, eliminate taxes on the investment income of most taxpayers, and reduce corporate income taxes. The plan would also eliminate the estate tax and repeal the taxes enacted by the 2010 health care reform legislation.

While the plan would call for reducing individual income tax rates by 20 percent, it would also allow tax provisions from the 2009 stimulus plan to expire. Democrats say those provisions, which include tuition reimbursements, child credits and the expansion of the earned income tax credit, are pivotal to the economic recovery of middle class families….

From my own notes on that August 3 press conference:

1) Chester County Democratic Chair Michele Vaughn introduced the July 3 event at Obama Headquarters, 533 E. Gay St., noting that whereas Obama has cut taxes on the middle class by an average of $3,500 per family in his first term, the Romney plan would increase middle class families’ taxes some $2000 average a year, similarly to what happened in Massachusetts as a result of his tax “reforms” there.

Since, I think, no one dares admit they are raising a tax rate now (and Romney won’t admit that, to plug revenue gaps, he did it in Massachusetts or that Reagan did it in the US), so the Romney increase on the middle class would be accomplished by cutting tax deductions that help the non-rich and calling it “closing loopholes” and “simplifying the tax system.”

2) Delaware Governor Jack Markell then stressed that as a very strong middle class state, hard-working people,” PA has a lot to lose from a shift from Obama’s to Romney’s tax plan. Obama, he said, stresses investing in education, job training, and police. Later, in response to reporters’ questions about Republican assertions that lowering taxes on the wealthy and corporations would encourage “the job creators” and that decreased tax revenues would be made up from cuts in expenses, Markell twice insisted: make them get specific.

That is (I am interpreting), Romney needs to be prodded to say: Who will create decent jobs in the US? What policies would encourage them to do so? Whose taxes will increase if those of the wealthy decrease? What extant programs would be cut and by how much? Till those questions are answered, we are back at the 2008 Hope and Change phase, which doesn’t work any more.

3) West Chester resident Karen Wilson-Lynch recounted how Obama’s tax policies to date have already helped her own family, notably by enlarging college tuition as a partial tax credit and by making federal higher ed loans more available.

As she did, people need to pay attention to how laws affect them. I think people are finally focusing on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for their families; they are starting to do the same for tax policies. Voters who pay attention can make reasonable decisions at the polls.

4) Manan Trivedi, candidate for the 6th Congressional District, said that as a physician he is used to examining evidence, and experts who have done that with tax proposals have concluded that the Romney plan would raise taxes on the middle class. Already many veterans can’t find jobs; they need tax help, not tax increases.

The middle class are the real job creators, because they purchase the goods and services our businesses produce. Without the middle class, there would be no mmillionaires and billionaires. Especially when employment is still hurting, the Romney tax plan would turn the American Dream into a nightmare.

Finally, he said, Obama “gets education” and “If you want to see what society will look like 20 years from now, look at education.”

So, Democrats locally, and no doubt much more widely, are quickly capitalizing (to use a Romneyesque term) on the Tax Policy Center report, which I will examine with further background in my next post.

Two other reason Romney is on the defensive now about taxes, at least among the 99%, are his reluctance to release his own tax returns and the fact that, for the one year he did release a final tax return (2010), he paid a markedly lower tax rate, 13.9% of taxable income, than most of us. I’m also going to look at that in a separate post.

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About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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