Show Us The Math

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 10 2012 @ 12:30pm

Trip Gabriel calls attention to the tax policy ad war between Team Romney and the Team Obama. Derek Thompson thinks liberals are on shaky ground:

Mitt Romney has proposed cutting federal income tax rates by 20 percent, a change that, on its own, would lower revenue by almost $5 trillion over the next 10 years. But he's also proposed cutting tax spending by the same amount; keeping today's low rates for families making less than $250,000; and keeping the current tax burden on the highest earners. These proposals cannot all be true at the same time, according to analysis from the Tax Policy Center. In fact, the Romney tax plan is something of a myth.

But liberals risk constructing a parallel myth when they suggest that Romney's plan would cut taxes by $5 trillion when in fact his proposal is to cut taxes by zero dollars. If you don't believe his plan, then you don't believe his plan. If you think he's lying about his plan, then you think he's lying. But there's a big difference between saying Mitt Romney's lying/has proposed a fantasy tax plan and saying Mitt Romney's tax plan cuts taxes by $5 trillion. The first is opinion. The second is false.

That's a debater's point, it seems to me, as it seemed to one of Derek's commenters. Romney has firmly pledged to cut taxes by $5 trillion over 10 years, and increase defense spending drastically, while retaining traditional Medicare as a permanent option for seniors present and future, and rules out ending either the mortgage deduction or the charitable deduction to make up for the lost revenue. Even someone with my bad math skills knows that's an impossibility. But when a candidate presents such a mathematical impossibility as an actual proposal, he is lying through his straight, white teeth and broad, shameless smile.

Previous Dish coverage here and here.