Several GOP 2012 presidential hopefuls have released tax plans that clearly deliver the lion’s share of their benefits to the very richest Americans. Both former pizza magnate Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, through their embrace of flat income taxes and their elimination of all investment taxes, would deliver huge tax breaks worth millions of dollars to those at the top of the income scale.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, is trying to claim the mantle of defender of the middle class, saying during a GOP debate that “if I’m going to use precious dollars to reduce taxes, I want to focus on where the people are hurting the most, and that’s the middle class. I’m not worried about rich people. They are doing just fine.” During an interview yesterday with WTVT in Tampa, Romney even claimed “I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich”:
You’re buying into President Obama’s line and the Democratic Party line that my party is the party of tax cuts for the rich. That just doesn’t happen to be the case. The policies I’ve put forward are tax cuts for the middle-class . I’m proposing no tax cuts for the rich.
Romney’s claim is simply absurd on its face. His tax plan consists of $6.6 trillion in tax cuts, the vast majority of which goes to the wealthy and corporations. In fact, Romney dedicates an entire section of his economic plan to discussing elimination of the estate tax, which only the very richest households in the country ever have to pay (since, right now, an estate must be worth more than $5 million to pay any estate tax at all). Currently, more than half of the estate tax is paid by the richest 0.1 percent of households.
Meanwhile, Romney’s claim that his tax plan cuts taxes for the middle-class has little basis in reality. A ThinkProgress analysis found that the vast majority of middle-class households would get no benefit from Romney’s tax plan, since its based on a capital gains tax cut when most middle-class families have no capital gains.
Romney’s tax plan, while not as generous to the rich as those of his competitors, still delivers its benefits to the top while ignoring those in the middle who haven’t seen their income rise in years. He might try to deny it, but the proposals that he’s put on paper make it very clear where his priorities lie.