David Axelrod now says that Obama stumbled because he was taken aback by the "brazeness" of Romney's performance
. Axelrod says -- I think correctly -- that Mitt's statements were "...completely unrooted in fact. It was completely unrooted in the positions he's taken before."
I've been making a short video about the many lies told by Mitt Romney during the debate. This project hasn't been easy, because the fibs were so numerous, and because it isn't easy to make tax stuff comprehensible and fun to watch. And it's really
hard to come up with good visuals. (Stanley Kubrick once said that it should be possible to make a film out of any book or subject matter. Easy for him
to say. He never tried to create a movie about tax policy!)
Last night, I made one catch which no-one else seems to have noticed, except -- to a degree -- Igor Volsky, writing in Think Progress
. And even he didn't turn on all the lights. Let's begin by quoting Igor:
6) “I saw a study that came out today that said you’re going to raise taxes by $3,000 to $4,000 on middle-income families.” Romney is pointing to this study
from the American Enterprise Institute. It actually found that rather
than raise taxes to pay down the debt, the Obama administration’s
policies — those contained directly in his budget — would reduce the share of taxes that go toward servicing the debt by $1,289.89 per taxpayer in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.
I looked at that study. Not only does it not
say anything about Obama raising taxes on middle-income families -- it says, in fact, that Romney
will make people in that income bracket pay more. Substantially more.
And there's no way anyone can claim liberal bias, since the American Enterprise Institute is very (one might even say notoriously) conservative. It's the home of Michael Ledeen, for cryin' out loud.
First, you should understand that this study isn't about taxes in general. It's about the amount of taxes being used to pay for our debt. Over the years, people all over the world have purchased our Treasury bills because the interest rate is very attractive. Those sweet, sweet interest payments come out of federal taxes.
The AEI study looks at that one part of the overall tax burden and focuses on how the debt service payments are spread across all income groups. For now, I'm going to focus on the $100,000 to $200,000 group, because that's what Igor did. (Some of you will want to have an argument about which numbers best define the middle class. Let's thrash that one out on another occasion, all right?)
The results are remarkable. The story is told in two charts, labeled Table 5 and Table 6. Here's Table 5:
Now, if you are in the $100-200K range, this chart says that you are going to pay $3,742 annually over the course of ten years -- and remember, that's just
to pay interest on the national debt. Most of that debt was run up by Reagan, by Poppy Bush and by good ol' Dubya.
Understand: That number -- $3,742
-- is what those taxpayers will fork over (for that purpose, over that period of time) if if if
the status quo remains status quo.
Now let's look at how the number will change if Obama's proposed new tax policy is allowed to take hold...
Now people within the $100-200K tax bracket are paying a much lower annual figure over ten years -- $2,452
So why is there a difference between Table 5 and Table 6? Earlier in the AEI report, the authors clarify what they mean when they refer to the "Administration's Budget": If Obama has his way, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy will finally be rescinded, and the rich will again pay what they paid under Clinton.
The Bush cuts.
That is the difference.
And that was the one thing that Mitt Romney never brought up during the debate. Mitt has pledged to keep the Bush tax cuts in place.
A vote for Mitt is a vote to keep those cuts for the rich in place.
Mitt lied when he said that he would not raise taxes on the middle class. By keeping the Bush tax cuts, Mitt insures that the middle class will pay $1,289.89 more.
(That's Igor's math.) And remember -- we're talking only about the money that goes to service the national debt annually over the course of ten years. During that same time, the middle class will also be paying a lot more for a whole bunch of other stuff as well -- like Mitt's projected military build-up.
Here's a graphic I put together for my little video project. Not very subtle, I know. But it gets the point across:
I ask any interested or skeptical readers to double-check my reading of the AEI report. It's better if an error is caught here, in this blog post, than for a mistake to appear in my video (which, if all goes well, will appear here tomorrow). A blog post is short-lived while a video is long-lived.
Go ahead. Take me to task. Prove me wrong. I double dares ya!