It’s the Arithmetic, Stupid
Mitt Romney has been touting his tax *plan* under which he proposes to reduce rates 20% across the board but keep the whole thing revenue neutral by eliminating certain unspecified deductions which benefit higher income taxpayers. He has been undeterred by the fact that the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has not been able to figure out a way to make this formula work as stated and in fact noted that it would result in big tax cuts for the wealthy and higher taxes for the middle class. But the refusal of the Romney campaign to actually explain or identify all the majik math (just trust us!) is AOK because he has six (6) nonpartisan, independent factoid laced studies backing up his assertions.
Except that he, uh, well, doesn’t.
Chris Wallace, of all people, showed some journamalistic chops on Sunday by challenging Romney adviser Ed Gillespie on the reality of these “studies”:
More and more mainstream outlets are pointing out that they [the “studies”] fail to validate [the math’s] soundness. And on Sunday Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie was challenged on Fox News by Chris Wallace, who questioned whether the studies are really nonpartisan.
“Those are very questionable. Some of them are blogs. Some of them are from the AEI [American Enterprise Institute], which is hardly an independent group,” Wallace said. “One of them is from a guy who is — a blog from a guy who was a top adviser to George W. Bush. These are hardly nonpartisan studies.”
“These are very credible sources,” Gillespie said.
Rilly? You decide.
Of the six studies, two are blog posts by the conservative American Enterprise Institute; one is a report by the Republican-friendly Heritage Foundation; one is a paper by Princeton professor and former George W. Bush adviser Harvey Rosen; the fifth and sixth are a Wall Street Journal op-ed and blog post by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein, an adviser to the Romney campaign.
In addition the studious studiers had to supply some arithmetistical contortions of their own to make the conclusions sorta come close to where they’d like. I think that’s called “cheating” or something. Fire breathing dragons don’t like cheaters!
UPDATE: Below the fold Colbert asks the key question.