Obama claim Romney tax cut would hurt middle class disputed

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Seizing on a new report that challenges Mitt Romney’s tax-cut claims, President Obama said Wednesday that the presumptive Republican nominee is trying to make middle-class families pay more “so that people like him” pay less.

The report from the Tax Policy Center said that in order to offset the revenue that would be lost from Mr. Romney’s proposed tax cuts, a series of the tax breaks that overwhelmingly benefit lower income earners would have to be taken off the books — a finding that matches Mr. Obama’s message that Mr. Romney is throwing the “middle class” under the bus to save the “rich” money.

“They found that if Governor Romney wants to keep his word and pay for this plan, then he’d have to cut tax breaks that middle-class families depend on to pay for your home — the home mortgage deduction — to pay for your health care — the health care deduction — to send your kids to college,” Mr. Obama said during a campaign event in Mansfield, Ohio.

Citing the report’s findings, the Democrat said that the average middle class family with children would face a tax increase of more than $2,000.

“To afford just one $250,000 tax cut for somebody like Mr. Romney, 125 families like yours would have to pay another $2,000 in taxes each and every year,” Mr. Obama said, eliciting boos from the crowd. “Does that sound like a good plan for economic growth?”

The Romney camp brushed off the attacks and the analysis, calling the Tax Policy Center’s study “liberal” and “biased,” while pointing out that it was co-authored by Adam Looney, a former Obama staffer.

The Obama campaign countered that another of the report’s co-authors, William Gale, worked with the Council of Economic Advisers for George H.W. Bush.

The Tax Policy Center is officially nonpartisan, though it is a joint project of the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution, and the Urban Institute, which was founded by the Lyndon Johnson administration.

Lanhee Chen, Romney policy director, said that the report is flawed because it does not take into account his boss’ plans to lower the corporate tax rate and reduce federal spending enough to balance the budget by 2020.

“The study ignores the positive benefits to economic growth from both the corporate tax plan and the deficit reduction called for in the Romney plan,” Mr. Chen said. “These glaring gaps invalidate the report’s conclusions.”

The Tax Policy Center’s analysis focused on Mr. Romney’s vow to cut individual tax rates by 20 percent across the board, eliminate the alternative minimum tax, the payroll tax, and the estate tax, otherwise known as the “death tax.”

“Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed,” the report says, “would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”

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