Re "Romney plan ups taxes on many," Sept. 15
In a recent interview, Mitt Romney stated that although rich people's tax rates would go down under his administration, their tax burdens would remain the same by eliminating loopholes. When asked to name a single loophole that he would eliminate, he demurred. Instead, he repeated the revenue-neutral idea.
He owes the public a detailed explanation of his plan. Because he is intimately familiar with the two tax returns that he has made public, I recommend that he be asked to release a sample tax return that alters his real return using his proposed rules.
My study, summarized in this article, examined the feasibility of Romney's tax reform goals: reducing all income tax rates by 20% while raising the same amount of revenue as the current tax code without increasing the share of the tax burden borne by the middle class. My study shows that under reasonable assumptions with respect to the reform's effect on taxpayers' behavior, the Romney plan is feasible.
My study does not conclude that the Romney plan would require elimination of most deductions enjoyed by those making more than $100,000. Eliminating or scaling back tax preferences would be required but could be directed at taxpayers with incomes of $200,000 or more.
Assertions made by Romney's political adversaries that his proposal is mathematically impossible are wrong.
The writer is a professor of economics and business policy at Princeton University.
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