"Romney, dude..."

Many politicians distort the truth for their benefit but Mitt Romney is rather unique in that he often makes statements that can so quickly and easily be proven false. The latest example resulted in Romney receiving the smack down from Erskine Bowles. From Bowles in the Washington Post:

This month, Romney said that his tax reform proposal is “very similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan.” How I wish it were. I will be the first to cheer if Romney decides to embrace our plan. Unfortunately, the numbers say otherwise: His reform plan leaves too many tax breaks in place and, as a result, does nothing to reduce the debt.

The “zero plan” our commission recommended offered both parties an appealing bargain: lower tax rates for everyone in return for sweeping reduction in tax loopholes of every stripe. Taxpayers and the economy would benefit from a vastly simpler tax code, and getting rid of loopholes would produce more than $1 trillion of the $4 trillion needed in deficit reduction. Our commission produced an alternative plan showing how much individual rates would need to go up, and who would have to pay for them, if lawmakers decided to preserve certain tax expenditures.

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So although I give Romney credit for pledging to reform the tax code to reduce loopholes, his current proposal will not take us to the promised land. Our commission’s tax plan broadens the base, simplifies the code, reduces tax expenditures and generates $1 trillion for deficit reduction while making the tax code more progressive. The Romney plan, by sticking to revenue-neutrality and leaving in place tax breaks, would raise taxes on the middle class and do nothing to shrink the deficit.

While I strongly disagree with Bowles regarding the wisdom of the policies he advocates, I do agree that any subjective look at his proposal and the incredibly vague tax policy outlines from Romney would show they have very little income besides being about taxes. The two tax proposals differ strongly in design and, most importantly, in focus.

The primary goal of the tax provision in Bowles’ and Alan Simpson’s deficit reduction plan was to raise additional revenue to reduce the deficit. Romney’s tax plan doesn’t try to reduce the deficit. Claiming your plan is very similar to another plan despite the fact that they both have completely different goals doesn’t pass the laugh test. It is like saying looking at a painting is very similar to watching a motion picture except for the whole motion thing.