In a wide-ranging interview with Time Magazine, Mitt Romney declined to say which deductions he would eliminate from the tax code in order to make his plan to cut tax rates across the board revenue-neutral.
"I know our Democrat friends would love to have me specify one or two so they could amass the special interest to fight that effort," Romney told managing editor Richard Stengel when asked to specify which deductions he would eliminate. He then launched into a general discussion about ways to limit deductions, saying the choice would be made "in consultation with Congress" -- in other words, after the election.
He added that he would maintain the mortgage-interest deduction, health care and charitable contribution deductions, the first two of which are the most expensive. All three deductions are popular.
Romney has been specific about which deductions he would limit -- in private. In April, he told donors that he would probably eliminate the second-home mortgage interest deduction and limit state and local property tax deductions for high-income earners, according to NBC News.
The problem is, those deductions don't come close to covering the costs of his tax plan. Eliminating those deductions might raise $40 billion a year over the $400 billion per year that the Romney plan would cost, according to The New York Times.
A much-publicized study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed Romney's tax plan and concluded that if he wanted it to be revenue-neutral, he would have no choice than to limit the more popular and expensive deductions, therefore raising taxes on middle-class earners. Romney has dismissed that study, calling it "garbage."
In the interview with Time, he maintained that he would not raise taxes on middle-class earners and said that cutting taxes would encourage economic growth, an idea the TPC dismissed, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates.
"Politically, I think that would help him," Paul said in a interview with <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78599.html#ixzz20w7ycTBE" target="_hplink">Politico</a>. "In the scheme of things politically, you know, it looks like releasing tax returns is what the people want."
"I have no idea on why he has restricted the number to this point," <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57474352/pressure-mounts-on-mitt-romney-to-release-more-tax-returns/?tag=socsh" target="_hplink">Lugar said</a>.
"I don't know why... he didn't get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest," Will said on ABC's "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/15/george-will-mitt-romney-bain_n_1674513.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HP%2FPolitics+(Politics+on+The+Huffington+Post)" target="_hplink">This Week</a>." "He's done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots that's impolitic."
"He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy," Kristol said on "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/15/mitt-romney-tax-returns_n_1674325.html" target="_hplink">Fox News Sunday</a>." "You gotta release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two."
"I just believe in total transparency," Bentley told <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/07/gop-governor-calls-on-mitt-romney-to-release-additional-tax-returns-and-show-he-has-nothing-to-hide/" target="_hplink">ABC News</a>. "In fact, I was asked today that question -- do you think that Governor Romney should release his tax returns? And I said I do. I said, I release my tax returns. I may be the only public official in Alabama that does, but I release mine every year and I just believe that people should release their tax returns. And if you get them out and just get past that, it just makes it so much easier."
When asked on "<a href="http://www.nationaljournal.com/2012-presidential-campaign/barbour-romney-should-release-more-tax-returns-20120710" target="_hplink">The Situation Room</a>" if Romney should release more returns, Barbour said, "I would. But should it be an issue in the campaign? I don't think it amounts to diddly."
"If there's nothing there, there's no 'there' there, don't create a there,'" Steele said on MSNBC.
"Tax returns the next problem. Releasing returns under pressure: more weakness, more pain," Frum <a href="https://twitter.com/davidfrum/status/224509505973661696" target="_hplink">tweeted</a>.