Why Is Romney Afraid to Talk About Tax Cuts?
Here is what James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute suggests Mitt Romney should say in response to the Fed’s launching of QE3: “Like JFK and Ronald Reagan, we should cut tax rates on business and entrepreneurs and small business and the middle class.” It’s an old conservative refrain, and it’s worked like a charm—as politics, though not as policy—for three decades.
Here’s what the Romney campaign actually said: “We should be creating wealth, not printing dollars. As president, Mitt Romney will enact bold, pro-growth policies that lead to robust job creation, higher take-home pay, and a true economic recovery.”
A political sophisticate would know that these two statements say essentially the same thing. “Higher take-home pay” is code for “lower taxes.” But at this point Romney’s presidential bid isn’t about reaching political sophisticates. It’s about reaching knuckle-dragging hard-core conservatives and tuned-out political independents. For both groups, it’s better to spell things out, as Pethokoukos suggests. Why didn’t Romney spell out that he wants to lower taxes? This is, after all, a guy who doesn’t mind shooting his mouth off about imaginary craven White House apologetics before he knows the facts about the Libya killings, then doubles down, appalling even many of his fellow conservatives. Why be reckless there and cautious here?
This is the second recent instance I’ve noticed in which Romney has passed up an opportunity to articulate what has been, for a generation, the Republican party’s central (some would say only) idea: Let’s cut us some taxes! The first time was during the Republican convention, where Paul Ryan spoke of “tax fairness” rather than “tax cuts,”