How Out of Touch is Mitt Romney?

Filed in National by on September 15, 2012

Mitt Romney is so out of touch, he thinks the middle class earns $200,000 to $250,000 a year. Another nail in the coffin that is Mitt Romney’s presidential aspirations.

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I said that there are five different studies that point out that we can get to a balanced budget without raising taxes on middle income people. Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policy are these. Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle-income people. So no one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is $100,000 middle income?

MITT ROMNEY: No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less. So number one, don’t reduce– or excuse me, don’t raise taxes on middle-income people, lower them. Number two, don’t reduce the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest. The top 5% will still pay the same share of taxes they pay today. That’s principle one, principle two. Principle three is create incentives for growth, make it easier for businesses to start and to add jobs. And finally, simplify the code, make it easier for people to pay their taxes than the way they have to now.

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Comments (42)

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  1. jason330 says:

    We are at the point that even zombie Fox Newsers are like, “What the f*ck?” I predict Rusty Dils will be here to throw in the towel in the next few days.

  2. puck says:

    Republican billionaires should stop supporting Romney and spend their money buying Democrats instead. It would be cheaper and less stressful.

  3. nemski says:

    It boggles my mind that Romney thinks this. It is truly amazing. Hell, even Stephanopoulos pegging the middle class at $100,000 was surprising. But he was probably just baiting Romney anyway.

  4. SussexWatcher says:

    $250K is Obama’s middle-class cut-off, too: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/romney-middle-income-200k-250k-152818009.html

    I agree that even $100K is ridiculous, but let’s be fair.

  5. nemski says:

    SW saying that the tax cuts will be for $250K or less is not the same thing as saying that $250K is middle class. The $250K number and less used by the Obama Administration signifies 98% of the population.

  6. jason330 says:

    Why isn’t Stephanopolis calling Romney on this part? “The top 5% will still pay the same share of taxes they pay today.”

    Romney hasn’t provided a single loophole that he’ll close and every economist who looks at thsi says that any loophole closures will impact the middle class more than the wealthy.

  7. SussexWatcher says:

    From the article:

    Obama also has set his definition for “middle class” as families with income of up to $250,000 a year.

    How is that different from Romney?

  8. nemski says:

    The article is wrong.

  9. geezer says:

    SW is correct; Obama and Romney both set their cut-offs at the same absurdly high number.

    As it happens, about 4% of American households (not individuals) take in $200,000/year and up. I don’t know anybody in the real world who thinks being in the 96th percentile puts them in the middle of the pack.

    The reason for the fiction is that nobody in the US wants to think of himself as anything but middle class. Given that situation, it’s best to debate not over the meaning of the phrase but in the effects of policy at various income levels.

  10. Jason330 says:

    Everyone feels middle class because expenses rise to meet income. I’ll bet Mitt Romney feels like he is living windfall to windfall every now and then.

  11. Jason330 says:

    Everyone thinks that they are middle class because expenses rise to meet income. I’m sure Mitt Romney feels like he is just scraping buy windfall to windfall some years.

  12. SussexWatcher says:

    Yeah, bullshit. After a certain point, the only reason expenses rise is if you’re a greedy SOB who needs a second home / boat / car because you want to show off your shit.

  13. puck says:

    Middle class has a traditional definition based on lifestyle. Two cars, two kids, one house, summer vacation, health insurance, you can afford to send your kids to college, you earn enough to pay bills each month with a little left over for modest savings but no more. To be upper middle class, same deal but you get a bigger house, better neighborhood and maybe a better vacation. The only thing that has changed in that definition since the 1950s is now both spouses have to work to make the same income.

    I don’t accept the floating definition that says middle class is wherever the middle ends up after wealthy Republicans have looted wages, benefits, and pensions.

  14. Steve Newton says:

    @SW: After a certain point, the only reason expenses rise is if you’re a greedy SOB who needs a second home / boat / car because you want to show off your shit.

    What bullshit.

    I wouldn’t know about boats, but we have three cars (four drivers), the newest of which is a 2009 that we bought this year, the oldest of which is a 2004 with 132,000 miles, I keep the rustbucket in the driveway just to make the neighbors jealous.

    Eight years ago we bought a condo as an investment for a retirement place. We have to rent it out to pay the mortgage. Why? Because we overpaid in an effort to impress the neighbors?

    No, because food prices have continually risen, as have gas prices–both in part thanks to idiotic ethanol mandates from the government, and although we carpool to work my gas bill has doubled in the past four years. Let’s not talk about the electric bill. Because college tuition is rising far faster than inflation, but both of us who work in higher ed have had one raise each in the past six years. Because my house, which was built in 1989, needs a new roof (the neighbors were not impressed by the pots under the leaks in the kitchen).

    Get a clue.

  15. SussexWatcher says:

    “After a certain point” being the operative words there, dumbshit.

  16. Steve Newton says:

    yeah, SW–and you of course get to define “the certain point.”

    Don’t try to back down now.

  17. nemski says:

    For SW:

    From the White House blog dated July 9, 2012:

    Today the President called on Congress to extend the middle class tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year.

    Extending middle class tax cuts to Americans earning less than $250K is NOT the same thing as calling Americans who earn less than $250K middle class.

    It’s not my fault that your sources have reading comprehension problems.

  18. Dave says:

    If the number is 250K, I’m ok. Of course Romney’s plan is to eliminate the mortgage deduction which will certainly put a crimp in the housing market and do a number on a lot of middle class families.

  19. SussexWatcher says:

    I did not define the amount of income because that does differ from person to person and family to family. I’m not an expert on income and equality. I was not seeking to provide a definition or start comparing financial situations.

    My point was addressed to Jason’s assertion that expenses keep rising with income. Once we have those basic things – the house, the small savings, the health insurance, the kids in college, the multiple cars for multiple drivers, etc.- we don’t need to add more stuff. But the rich add things like second homes, multiple cars for one person, investment properties not for retirement but to produce more income … Their expenses keep rising not for legitimate reasons, but because they want to show off their wealth and play with more toys while the rest of us work our butts off to save a little money to patch our roofs.

    Get it?

  20. SussexWatcher says:

    Nemski: Ever consider that you’re the one with comprehension issues? The post you cite says the opposite of what you think it says.

    If the tax cuts are for the middle class, and they cover households earning up to $250,000, then households earning up to $250,000 are middle class. By definition.

  21. socialistic ben says:

    nemski. If the tax cuts cover everyone up to and including 250k, that will include people making less… like people making between 40 and, we’ll say 80… i/e the REAL middle class. It doesnt make the 250k earners… the top 8% honorary middle class. no one is saying that. it’s just a stupid blog argument over semantics.

  22. puck says:

    SW… $250K is sort of an arbitrary number, because you have to draw a line somewhere. $250K might be a little bit generous, if you are trying to only focus on the middle class. And it’s partly political, acknowledging that some ~$200K earners resolutely think they are middle class.

    But the $250k isn’t an attempt to define the middle class. It’s just that it’s easier to call it middle class tax cuts rather than “Middle-class-plus-a-little-bit-of-the-upper-income-class” tax cuts.

    If you don’t think $250K is middle class, wait a few years and it will be. I personally think it should be indexed, possibly to some kind of living wage formula. But it has been hard enough to implement the $250k-only tax cuts. In 2010 it should have been a slam dunk. It was like throwing a ball at the ground and missing.

    It also acknowledges the Republican objection about S-Corps. But an S-Corp consultant who pays himself $250K salary is doing damned well, considering he expenses his car, gas, computer, phone, Internet service, health care, cell phone, office supplies including probably school supplies, tolls, travel, restaurants, you name it.

  23. SussexWatcher says:

    @nemski: My condolences to your brain cells for their loss.

  24. Steve Newton says:

    @SW Get it?

    I get it: you think wealth is illegitimate. You think that beyond a certain point people should not be allowed to spend on what they want. You don’t get that their spending also creates economic demand.

    You generally believe that there should be some form of taxation designed to prevent such excess, like the sumptuary laws on old Massachusetts, but having been called on it you are too cowardly to specify where that line is, and withdraw into the defense of only offering social commentary.

    Got it.

  25. SussexWatcher says:

    No, I think that it’s ignorant to believe that expenses rise with income at every level. After a certain point, they stop being legitimate needs and start becoming greed-driven wants. That’s the illegitimate part I mentioned. Sorry that your comprehension skills are up there with nemski’s.

  26. Liberal Elite says:

    @puck “Republican billionaires should stop supporting Romney and spend their money buying Democrats instead. It would be cheaper and less stressful.”

    The trouble with Democrats is that once bought, they don’t stay bought. Republicans are a more reliable commodity, since there seems to be no conscience to kick in.

  27. nemski says:

    LOL Liberal Elite. Though greed seems to be fuel that runs the engine of the GOP.

  28. Liberal Elite says:

    @SW “After a certain point, the only reason expenses rise is if you’re a greedy SOB who needs a second home/boat”

    Do you have any idea of what fuels the economy of Sussex County?

  29. SussexWatcher says:

    Chickens.

  30. Liberal Elite says:

    @SW “Chickens.”

    As long as some drunk doesn’t cut the power…

    http://www.sussexcountyonline.com/business/index.shtml
    “Agriculture has long been the backbone of Sussex County’s economy, but in the past two decades, tourism has played a major role in driving the county’s financial fortunes, particularly along the Atlantic coast.”

    People with second/third/fourth houses, and boats.

  31. puck says:

    Do you have any idea of what fuels the economy of Sussex County? …People with second/third/fourth houses, and boats.

    The point is that they can still keep their boats and surplus homes even after their taxes are raised a little to save America.

  32. Steve Newton says:

    @puck after their taxes are raised a little to save America.

    Exactly how much is a “little” and how much will “save America”?

    I can never seem to get anybody to answer that question.

  33. puck says:

    I don’t know, but to make sure we do no harm, let’s go back to the Clinton-era tax rates, which had the economy humming, and nobody was complaining about taxes. We were too busy counting our money.

    When you are troubleshooting a system, one of the first things you do is restore the system to its last known good state.

    I don’t know if that will work but if it doesn’t, at least we can continue the discussion while deficits are headed down.

    My hunch is that the Bush tax cuts pushed us past some tipping point of optimal taxation and now supply side tax cuts are just draining the economy. We need to get back on the other side of the tipping point.

  34. SussexWatcher says:

    @LE: And I’d just as soon 90 % of em packed up and went the hell back where they came from.

    In reality, most of the growth down here has been retirees, many in trailer parks. They might have a golf cart, but no boat.

  35. Liberal Elite says:

    @SW “And I’d just as soon 90 % of em packed up and went the hell back where they came from.”

    Only 90%?

    What’s the 10% you like? The ones who aren’t liberals?

  36. Dave says:

    Well, I hope I am in the 10%. I bought new home. Does that count? I don’t own boat though because there are only two times when you are glad to have a boat, when you buy it and when you sell it. So, I mooch off other people who have boats.

  37. John Galt says:

    @Puck

    The Clinton tax rates has nothing to do with the economy. What Clinton benifited from (as did Reagan) was the Fed printing money in order to try and stimulate the economy and people finding a place to invest their money. In the case of Clinton it was the dot com bubble and Reagan it was the housing bubble.

    The problem is bubbles bust. Just as now the Fed is printing money faster then we can cut down trees but the next bubble hasn’t emerged. When it does banks will lend out more money then can be paid back and banks will falter and the whole cycle repeats.

    Reagan and Clinton did not do anything to create a roaring economy. The Fed pumped cheap fiat currency into the economy and people were under the illuison of having money. High inflation and another bust is on its way, count on it.

  38. Steve Newton says:

    @puck: When you are troubleshooting a system, one of the first things you do is restore the system to its last known good state.

    That boat has sailed, two wars ago plus massive expansions of homeland security spending, defense spending, unpaid Medicare prescription plan etc etc. Bush and Obama didn’t just preside over tax cuts (and, yes, Obama gets credit because he extends them every time), they also presided over massive spending increases.

    Check the record: the military budget went DOWN under Clinton, and spending on Medicare and Medicaid stopped growing as fast as it had previously or would again. In other words, the Clinton tax rates were part of a completely different set of assumptions about government spending than today. Going back to those tax rates will do little if the government does not figure out a way to get the budget under control.

  39. puck says:

    Going back to those tax rates will do little if the government does not figure out a way to get the budget under control.

    I think it will do more than a little. But even if it only does a little, hey – a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

    Obama DID cut the unpaid-for Medicare prescription plan, and is on his way to cutting expenses across the board including defense. But now Republicans are trying to beat him over the head with it.

    Medicaid expense is of course a function of unemployment and low wages (and long-term care). The solution is jobs, not cuts. Cutting Medicaid benefits won’t solve anything.

    Restoring the 1990s tax cuts isn’t simply about collecting more money. I think the Bush tax cuts especially on investment taxes were so extreme they fundamentally changed business behavior. At 1990s rates of 25% (capital gains) and 39% (dividends), one of the biggest tax avoidance tactics used to be hiring and re-investment. But now at 15% for both, taxes are hardly a consideration.

    Remember, a business can give itself a tax cut any time it wants by hiring people.

    When we raise the investment taxes back, we will get back the tax-avoidance behaviors that used to drive hiring and investment.

  40. puck says:

    “In the case of Clinton it was the dot com bubble and Reagan it was the housing bubble.”

    The dot-com bubble was brief and came at the end of the decade, after years of healthy growth and shared prosperity. Reagan’s employment surge was relatively brief and was driven by borrow-and-spend.

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