Friday, October 12, 2012

About those six studies

During yesterday's debate, Paul Ryan pointed to six "studies" which supposedly validated Romney's math on tax cuts.  This analysis by Josh Barro at Bloomberg shows that all six do nothing of the sort.  One miscounts the effect of eliminating the deduction for municipal bonds.  Another makes similar arguments and also suggests that a lower top income limit to still be "middle class".  Two more differ from Romney's proposal by including people making between $100,000 and $200,000, a group of people making 24% of all adjusted gross income, in the group to lose deductions and pay for tax cuts for everyone else.  The fifth makes an error in calculating the effect of Romney's plan to eliminate the estate tax.  The last one ignores revenue lost by Romney's proposal to elminate the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax and makes unlikely assumptions on economic growth.

The strongest part of Barro's analysis is the conclusion:
Finally, I would note one item that the Romney campaign does not cite in support of its tax plan: Any analysis actually prepared for the campaign in preparation for announcing the plan in February. You would expect that, in advance of announcing a tax plan, the campaign would commission an analysis to make sure that all of its planks can coexist. Releasing that analysis now would be to the campaign's advantage, helping them put down claims like mine that their math doesn't add up. 
Why don't they release that analysis? My guess is because the analysis doesn't exist, and the 20 percent rate cut figure was plucked out of thin air for political reasons without regard to whether it was feasible.

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