Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan in 5 Charts

He’s Ready to Hand Out Billions More to the 1 Percent

Five charts from Michael Linden and Seth Hanlon highlight why Mitt Romney’s tax plan is anything but “moderate.”

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers remarks at the Heritage Foundation in June 2009. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers remarks at the Heritage Foundation in June 2009. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

See also: Romney’s Fiscal Agenda for the 1 Percent by Michael Linden

Download the charts (pdf)

If you liked former President George W. Bush’s tax policies, then you’ll love Mitt Romney’s.

Republican presidential candidate Romney’s plan for federal taxation begins with a hefty portion of Bush-era tax policy: Permanently extend all the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003, including those that mainly benefit the extremely wealthy. Then Romney layers on a heaping batch of new tax cuts for the rich, including a full repeal of the estate tax—which is currently paid by only the richest 0.14 percent of estates—and a massive corporate tax cut.

The result is a tax code that asks even less of the rich than George W. Bush’s did.

Just like President Bush, Romney’s tax plan doesn’t come close to being fiscally responsible. Under President Bush, average annual tax revenue as a share of gross domestic product was the lowest it had been under any president since Harry Truman—just 17.6 percent of GDP. Romney’s tax plan would result in average revenues of only 16.5 percent.

Strangely, Romney’s tax plan has been described as “moderate” or “timid.” Compared to the full-tilt insanity of the plans of some of his fellow Republican presidential candidates (9-9-9! 15 percent flat tax!), it’s true that Romney’s plan appears more reasonable. But back here in the real world, Romney’s plan is an enormously irresponsible giveaway to the rich, boasting a tax cut for millionaires twice the size of President Bush’s. There’s nothing moderate about that.

The charts below illustrate five key points about Romney’s plan:

  • It would deliver twice as many tax cuts to the rich as did Bush’s tax plan.
  • It would pile on more tax cuts focused almost exclusively on the wealthy.
  • It would not balance the federal budget.
  • It would increase taxes for the middle class and working families.
  • It would leave all corporate tax loopholes and tax breaks intact.

Romney's tax plan

Clearly Romney’s plan doesn’t accomplish anything he claims it will: It won’t help middle-class families. It won’t balance the budget. And it continues to coddle the wealthy.

If he really wants to be moderate, he’s going to have to do better than that.

Michael Linden is the Director of Tax and Budget Policy and Seth Hanlon is Director of Fiscal Reform at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Download the charts (pdf)

See also:

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Michael Linden

Managing Director, Economic Policy

Seth Hanlon

Former Acting Vice President, Economy