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By refusing to be specific, Mitt Romney has made his tax and budget plans difficult to analyze and, of course, difficult to criticize. This might be by design though, of course, folks are trying to figure out what the Romney budget would mean for America. The Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and The Brookings Institution, says that for Romney to cut the corporate tax rate and to cut taxes on high earners, he will have to eliminate deductions that favor the middle class, in effect, raising taxes on everyone else.
President Obama is, rightly, all over this. Romney wants to raise everyone's taxes so he can cut taxes for the rich, says the president, quite plausibly. Romney can't refute it because, as with his personal taxes, he doesn't want to give out many details.
What I think would happen if Romney were elected is that he would not, in fact, do anything that would directly increase the middle class tax burden. He'd have to burn too many of his own supporters, dooming himself to one term, like George HW Bush.
I think, in the end, he would cut taxes on the wealthy and borrow to make up the difference, no matter what the effect on the deficit. Because, when it comes down to it, Republicans only care about the deficit if they can use it as a reason to say no to programs favored by Democrats. Otherwise, they don't care at all.
For Romney, success would only be measured by getting those tax cuts through. If, in the process, the economy improves and deficits are reduced, he will take credit for unleashing animal spirits and fixing the problem by cutting taxes. If the deficit explodes, he'll argue that it's temporary and that a boom is just around the corner.
I think that it makes political sense to follow the line that if Romney does everything he promises, it means he'll have to either raise middle class tax rates or eliminate deductions that middle class taxpayers use. But, in the end, I think Romney and the Republicans are way more irresponsible than that.
Then there's the question about why Republicans don't really care about debts and deficits. One reason might be that, for the most part, if you can get the economy growing and can avoid spending a trillion dollars on war, deficits take care of themselves. Basically, you're better off fixing everything else and trying to spend wisely. The other might be that their wealthier constituents are somewhat insulated from the potential negative consequences of unsustainable debt because they have mobile capital in a variety of currencies. But whatever it is, they don't care.
Debt and deficits are only useful to Republicans if they can frighten people into giving up Social Security and Medicare. Other than that, they don't care a bit.