FactCheck.org, an independent fact-checking organization, highlighted several claims from the Democratic National Convention’s first night of speeches that it called “dubious or misleading.” But a closer examination of at least one of those claims leads to the conclusion that FactCheck.org needs to check its own facts instead of relying on baseless promises from political candidates.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro cited a well-known study from the Tax Policy Center when he stated that Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s tax plan would “raise taxes on the middle class.” FactCheck.org, however, found that claim to be misleading because Romney “has promised he won’t” raise middle-class taxes:
The keynote speaker and others claimed the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, would raise taxes on the “middle class.” He has promised he won’t. Democrats base their claim on a study that doesn’t necessarily lead to that conclusion.
FactCheck.org is right that Romney’s plan “doesn’t necessarily” raise taxes on the middle class, but it is absurd to base that conclusion on the candidate’s promises. Romney has, indeed, promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. But he has also promised that his tax plan will maintain current revenue levels.
Those promises, by any measure, are totally incompatible, something the Tax Policy Center study made abundantly clear when it found that Romney couldn’t possibly raise enough revenue to maintain current revenue levels by closing tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy. Thus, Romney’s plan will either add to the deficit or raise middle-class taxes, unless he forgoes his 20 percent rate reduction altogether.
Add in TPC’s updated study of Romney’s corporate tax plan, which the campaign clarified won’t use revenue gained from closing loopholes to offset revenue losses from his income tax cut, and it becomes even more likely that the middle class will see its taxes increase under Romney.
If Romney keeps his promise to maintain current tax levels for the middle class, he’ll have to break his promise to maintain current revenue levels. If Romney keeps his promise to maintain current revenue levels, he’ll have to substantially raise taxes on the middle class. Either way, if Romney becomes president and his tax plan becomes law, one of the promises will have to be broken, an obvious fact that FactCheck.org decided not to include in its analysis of Castro’s speech.