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Experts agree: Romney would have to raise taxes on middle-class families

Mitt Romney won’t specify which tax deductions he’d eliminate because it would be politically “suicidal” to do so. But tax experts have run the numbers, including the experts that Romney cites to tout his tax plan. They agree: Romney would have to raise taxes on middle-class families in order to pay for his $5 trillion in tax cuts skewed toward millionaires and billionaires.

In fact, a Princeton study that Romney cites as evidence that his plan is viable actually found that Romney’s tax plan would only work if he raised taxes on middle-class families—like a police officer married to a nurse, for instance—making more than $100,000:

“Rosen’s analysis—and separate studies by the Tax Policy Center and Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University economist and once a top adviser to President Ronald Reagan—found that households with more than $100,000 in annual income could pay higher taxes, even with Romney’s promise to ‘bring taxes down for middle-income people.’”

The study found that Romney’s proposal—which promises a $5 trillion tax cut favoring the rich without any deficit increase—would only work if he eliminated tax benefits that middle-class families rely on, like the home mortgage interest tax deduction:

“The Republican presidential candidate has refused to say which tax breaks he would eliminate. Rosen’s illustration abolishes those for home mortgage interest payments, employer-provided health insurance, state and local taxes, charitable donations and the unrealized increase in the value of life-insurance policies for households with six-figure incomes.

“Even if you could maybe make it work in an abstract world, you can’t assume that all of these deductions will be eliminated, especially by a candidate who so far hasn’t identified one he’d do away with,” says Alan Viard, a former Treasury Department tax expert in President George W. Bush’s administration.”