President Obama’s new budget proposal invests in middle-class Americans and in small businesses while asking that the wealthiest few pay their fair share in taxes—but Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum insist the President’s plan is nothing more than a budget-busting attack on the wealthy.
On Fox and Friends this week, Romney said, “I’m not going to look to find a way to reduce the share paid by the very highest income people. The president wants to see if he can’t punish some people.”
Santorum called the budget “preposterous, not only in overall funding but in priorities. If we do not get our spending under control, we will have turmoil in the streets.”
A closer look at their own economic plans reveals that Santorum and Romney hold one very similar priority—creating benefits for the wealthy at the expense of middle-class Americans. Here’s a look at exactly who wins, who loses, and what goes bust under Romney’s and Santorum’s visions.
Corporations, big banks, and the wealthy win:
Santorum: Not only would corporations and the wealthy see significant cuts to their tax rates under Santorum’s plan, but they’d maintain all of their tax preferences and even see a few expanded. Santorum also promised to repeal President Obama’s Wall Street reforms, which cracks down on risky practices on Wall Street and puts an end to too big to fail banks and taxpayer funded bailouts.
Romney: In 2015, Romney’s plan to eliminate capital gains taxes, cut corporate tax rates, and eliminate estate taxes would add $180 billion more to the deficit than is added by extending the Bush tax cuts. And while many middle-class families would pay more, millionaires would receive an average tax cut of $145,568. Romney also insisted that “we don’t need the [Wall Street reform law] and I will get rid of it if I’m president of the United States.”
Middle-class Americans lose:
Santorum: Santorum’s plan would cut tax rates for some families with children. But as the Tax Policy Center notes, it would simultaneously slash funding for programs that assist these very same households. Not only would he freeze spending for social programs like Medicaid, housing subsidies, food stamps, education, and job training, but Santorum also commended congressional Republicans for passing their “cut, cap, and balance” legislation that would necessitate deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare without allowing for any tax increases.
Romney: On top of adopting the congressional Republicans’ “cut, cap, and balance” plan as its centerpiece, Romney’s economic plan would also effectively increase taxes on middle-class Americans who make less than $40,000. Those making between $10,000 and $20,000, as a group, would pay an average of $191 more in taxes. Married couples making less than $50,000, as a group, would see an average of $125 tax increase. Knowing the difference $40 can make in someone’s budget, a $100 tax payment will certainly create a greater burden on the very people Romney has said he’d help.
The budget busts:
Santorum: The Tax Policy Center points out that because Santorum’s plan “cuts rates significantly but does not eliminate tax preferences—and even expands a few—it would very likely add trillions of dollars to the federal deficit.”
Romney: Romney’s massive tax cuts for the wealthy would add $180 billion more to the deficit in 2015 beyond what is already added by extending the Bush tax cuts. And rather than bolstering important sectors of the economy, one leading economist notes that his plan would require cuts to the social safety net that are “utterly draconian.”
Santorum and Romney share more than just disapproval of President Obama’s plan to prioritize the middle class. They share a similar vision for benefiting the wealthy few at the expense of everyone else.