Monday, August 6, 2012

Details, Distraction & Duct Tape

Over the weekend, if you were like many Americans, you were likely watching many great stories from the Olympics. American Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian ever, and the Williams sisters won gold on the tennis court. The U.S. women's team volleyball and beach volleyball teams also continued their gold medal runs. South African Oscar Pistorius - a double amputee - also made history, running amongst the so-called able-bodied for the first time in Olympic history.

On a more somber note, you may have also seen the grim story coming from Milwaukee, where yet another multiple shooting claimed the lives of seven people, outside a Sikh house of worship.

What we bet most Americans didn't catch was the latest whining and name-calling distraction techniques by members of the Republican Party on the Sunday talking heads shows. What was missing from their attempt at distraction was barely a word of details about either Mitt Romney's tax plan, or his tax records.

It's almost as though Mitt's been muzzled by his handlers - though we think it's more Mitt muzzling himself.

The truth about why we're not hearing more details from Mitt Romney on his tax ideas is actually quite simple: If Romney told the American people the truth about his tax plan, he'd have to admit there is no mathematical way to make it work.

The Tax Policy Center released a tested model that proved Mitt's math doesn't work - and showed all kinds of other problems too.

The best quick rundown of Romney's problems with his plan to change our tax structure came from Ezra Klein last week. As Ezra noted, the Romney campaign's claims that the tax policy center figures are biased are provably false. Further, as multiple reliable sources have confirmed, Romney's plan to give the massive kinds of tax breaks to the rich is mathematically impossible. It can't be achieved without also raising taxes on everyone, gutting government services for all but the richest Americans, or a combination of both.

That means either Mr. Romney and his team are lying, or they are incapable of the mathematical skill needed to properly manage the economy.

If you assume that not every one of Romney's advisors is an idiot, then you must accept that Mitt is lying about his tax plan and he knows it. Which leads us to Mitt's own tax problem, and his fight with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Romney and the Republicans continue to say that Reid's most recent comments - that Reid has a source that can confirm Romney did not pay taxes for multiple years over a decade - are mere lies. What the terrified and disrespectful Republicans who keep attacking Romney continue to avoid is an uncomfortable truth. Dana Bash, a CNN reporter with a fairly solid reputation, also says she has an unnamed source who can confirm Reid's assertion about Romney. While we anxiously await further information from those sources, there is a faster way to solve this dispute.

As many on the left, and even a significant number on the right have agreed, if Mr. Romney wanted the focus off his own personal tax history, all he would have to do is follow the example set by his father, and release his tax returns - which would end the debate. That would immediately prove if Romney is the liar his other actions make it appear that he is, or whether Harry Reid is indeed the liar that Romney and Company claim him to be.

For now, however, Mitt's mouth - and his records - remain sealed.

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