There is all sorts of bloviating and diatribing around the blogosphere about the Newest New New Mitt, the one who does not, under any circumstances, favor the wealthiest 1 percent. We know he doesn't favor the rich, because, why, he said so! His lips moved, the words came forth, and magically, Mitt became a champion of the middle class.
Pundits are flocking to the new shiny object to engage in an argument that, since one side is based entirely on a recent assertion we are supposed to take at face value (not cutting taxes for the rich, nu-huh!), has turned into a pie fight. Both sides are squared off, with one side screaming "You lie!" and the other side replying, "Nu-huh."
Let's cut through all of this with something simple and easy: evidence. Voters love evidence. We voters know we are the object of the amorous attention of politicians coming to court us with shiny objects like tax cuts and promises of new -- really, really new -- ideas. We know that politicians are prone to promises, and to pie fights over said promises. So, let's go to the videotape, shall we?
And you know what videotape I mean, right? The infamous 47 percent tape. Let's not cut and paste here, or play fast and loose. Let's look at the full context of the main argument that Mitt Romney laid out, step by step, in the part that got him into big trouble.
The main reason Romney gave for writing off the 47 percent was that "they will never vote for me." And why was Romney making this huge claim? Because Mitt himself sees the most important thing he has to offer, the linchpin of his campaign, as tax cuts. Since the 47 percent do not pay taxes, they cannot be convinced to vote for Mitt for love or money. Period. End of story.
Tax cuts are important to Mitt, and they are clearly important to Mitt's donors, who were paying 50 large per plate to sit in the presence of the man Who Would Cut Their Taxes. Romney appeals to them on that basis. Imagine if during the first presidential debate Romney had been in that same room with the donors. First Presidential Debate Romney would have told the folks there that he wasn't really going to cut their taxes:
"It might look like a 20 percent tax cut for you, but I am going to offset this tax cut. I will do this by cutting your loopholes, your precious, precious loopholes, through which you all have sheltered an enormous amount of your precious, precious cash. Loopholes that I myself have been using for decades. I won't say exactly what these will be, but you can use your imaginations. Loopholes for corporate jets, Cayman Islands loopholes, you name it, the First Presidential Debate Romney is closing those! All of you eating and drinking in this nice ballroom, well, you'll just have to suck it up. But vote for me anyway, even though you will not be paying a penny less in taxes when I am president!"
Let this sink in for a minute.
Now, go to the rationale behind cutting taxes in the first place. Romney has been selling the idea that cutting taxes leads to economic growth. Because... because of supply side economics! That is literally the only reason to argue that tax cuts, by their sheer healing power and might, can help create jobs. But if the tax-cutting love only goes to the Non-job Creators, and instead goes to the people Who Spend Their Tax Cuts Paying Off Credit Card Debt, there is no reason on God's green earth, even if God's green earth is the Planet Kolob, to cut taxes. The only reason left to cut taxes is simply to starve the federal government of funds, forcing the Congress to choose between funding Medicare and the defense budget, because we sure as hell are not going to be able to fund both.
So, let's recap: Mitt Romney, caught in a secret tape recorded behind closed doors speaking to his biggest donors, explains that the only reason to vote for Mitt is to get lower taxes. This means he expects to lower the taxes of all the folks in that room, right? And there is no reason to support tax cuts for Non-job Creators if you believe in supply side (otherwise known as trickle-down) economics. The only way to link tax cuts with job growth is to buy in to the theory of supply side economics.
Let's end the pie fight over whether or not Mitt is lying when he says he's not going to lower taxes for the wealthy because of those unspecified off-setting cuts in loopholes. The Romney campaign can assert this until they turn red-state red. Let's just all go to the videotape.