While speaking in Iowa yesterday Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had this to say about Democratic tax plans, “There’s a fundamental difference. Our democratic friends think that the best thing that you can do for our future is to give more money to the government. And my view is the best thing you can do economically for our future is to invest in our future by investing in enterprises… We create more economic vitality by our people investing than by having our government to do it.” I am not sure what Romney is talking about here. The Edwards plan is based around middle class tax cuts. I don’t know where government investment enters into it.

Romney also had this to say about the Edwards tax plan, “You ought to be able to save your money and you ought to have a special tax rate [on your savings]… the tax rate ought to be absolutely zero. … [Edwards is] going to announce today that he’s in favor of a plan that let’s you save $250 tax free. That’s not going to pay for college, or retirement, or a car – maybe a bike…” These remarks prompted a statement from Edwards today that said, “Every time another radical Republican running for president speaks, the American people are reminded of how out of touch with economic reality they are. Example A: Mitt Romney.”

Edwards continued, “Romney, who is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, should be ashamed for attacking my economic plan, but it’s not surprising he is. I want to rewrite our tax code to make it fair and help hard-working Americans save some money to give them a better shot at the American Dream. Mitt wants to make sure that the wealthiest Americans just keep getting wealthier and let everyone else pick up the scraps. Mitt’s all about more, more, more for the people who already have the most – and that’s just wrong. The truth is Mitt Romney shouldn’t pay lower taxes on the money he makes from his money than middle-class families pay on the money they make from hard work. Neither should I. We’re both incredibly fortunate and we should pay our fair share.”

The remarks by both Edwards and Romney represent a political debate over taxes that has been going on over taxes for over 15 years now. Although Romney is trying to get into the way back machine and paint Edwards as a 1960’s big government liberal, his point is that nobody should pay higher taxes, including the wealthy. While this is a nice theory, in practice it results in the tax burden being shifted either to the middle and lower classes, or from the federal to the state and local levels. We all know that politicians in both parties can’t cut spending, so tax cuts across the board result in huge deficits. What Edwards is proposing is the populistic and mainstream Democratic idea that the wealthy should pay their fair share.

Tax cut plans appeal to voters in cycles. Voters love the idea of lower taxes, but they find it unfair when taxes are cut for everyone, and those with the most wealth end paying less than everyone else. After this occurs an argument that the rich should pay their fair share gains in popularity, and the result is a more middle class based tax cut. Whether you think Edwards is correct, or you side with Romney probably depends on where you are on the economic ladder, and which side of the political fence you sit on. My guess is that after years of Bush tax cuts, momentum is probably with the Democrats on this issue. Gas prices, and price increases in general have made pocketbook issues very popular again, and pocketbook issue have always been a Democratic strength.

Romney’s statements

Edwards statement 

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse


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