Last month, median household income fell by about $500, and since Obama became president, income is down over $4,500. But under Mitt Romney’s 20 percent tax-cut plan, if he truly believes it and follows through with it, a married couple making $70,000 a year would save over $2,000. And take-home pay for a middle-class married couple earning about $140,000 -- with their tax rate dropping to 20 percent from 25 percent -- would increase by over $7,100. Obama has no such middle-class tax cuts.
So why would Governor Romney tell an Ohio crowd on Wednesday that they shouldn’t “be expecting a huge cut in taxes, ’cause I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions.”
What is that all about? What kind of message is he sending? Is it pro-growth take-home pay? Or is he pulling back and hedging his bet?
I wrote in my last column about the potential benefits of the Romney plan. And I suggested that Romney should give specific examples of higher take-home pay from his tax cuts. And then I suggested that he draw a red line for middle-income taxpayers, and say “you will not lose you’re your deductions.” In other words, send a true growth message. And make it clear, not muddied.
This afternoon, one of the most senior people in the Romney-Ryan camp called me to say that Mitt misspoke, and that I should give him a mulligan. This person told me there’s no pull-back on the pro-growth tax-cut message, no new overemphasis on debt, and no departure from the Reagan-Kemp tradition.
Okay, even though I’m a tennis player, I’m willing to give Mr. Romney a mulligan. But I’ll say this: The growth message has to be
Lower marginal tax rates. Higher middle-class take-home pay to offset lost income under Obama. More family financial resources. More growth and more jobs.
This doesn’t have to be so hard.