I just saw a short segment on CNN about Mitt Romney and all the tax loopholes he's supposedly going to close to make up for his tax cuts. It was admirably forthright, with nobody really cutting him any slack for his weasel words. Fortune's Andy Serwer was one of the guests, and the conversation revolved around his interview with Romney that was posted today. Here's the relevant question:
Specifically what tax loopholes would you close and what exemptions would you eliminate to make the revenue-neutral equation work?
Simpson-Bowles laid out a formula that shows that you can do just as I described. That you can bring down the rates, limit deductions and exemptions for people at the high end, and with additional growth that comes by virtue of the stimulative action you can reach a balanced budget. I will follow a model similar to Simpson-Bowles and work with Congress to identify which of the alternative methods we should apply to reduce deductions, benefits, and exemptions.
Just to be crystal clear here: Everyone knows this is never going to happen, right? If Republicans win in November, they'll extend the Bush tax cuts and then pass additional cuts of their own. After all, the economy is suffering! We need to put more money in the pockets of the job creators so they can create some jobs.
As for all those loopholes, well, that's going to need some study, folks. Can't be going off all half cocked on that kind of thing. And we never said our tax plan would be revenue neutral right away. It's really revenue neutrality over a ten-year window. That was always the plan. But don't worry. We'll get there.
But they never will. Republicans have been in control of the presidency and Congress plenty of times over the past two decades, and they've never shown the slightest interest in closing tax loopholes on the rich. They don't have any interest in doing it this time either. Even their own supporters know this. It's just smoke and mirrors to distract the press.
Everyone gets that, don't they?