As John Steele Gordon noted during the weekend, Democrats have been pummeling Mitt Romney about his tax plan, after a new study by the Tax Policy Center claimed it would raise taxes on the middle class. The latest dig came from President Obama, who called the plan “Robin Hood in reverse”:
“The entire centerpiece” of Romney’s economic plan is a $5 trillion tax cut, he said.
The president spoke of the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of Romney’s plan again. “It’s like Robin Hood in reverse — it’s Romney-hood.”
The crowd laughed and roared and whistled its approval.
“That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for a second term as president.”
Maggie Haberman notes some complaints about the study from the Romney campaign:
Romney’s campaign has argued the author of the report used to work in the Obama Treasury Department. Obama’s camp has noted it’s a nonpartisan think tank behind the study, and one Romney cited to discredit his primary rivals. Either way, ‘Romneyhood’ is going to be standard stump.
Obama needed to find a new class warfare attack on Romney after “you didn’t build that” flopped, and this Tax Policy Center study gives him the perfect prop for it. The Romneyhood message is simple and vivid: Obama wants to help the middle class, while Romney wants to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Yes, this is a very premature and possibly inaccurate reading of Romney’s tax plan (the campaign still hasn’t released many of the details). But from a political perspective, Obama’s attack is pretty powerful.
The vast majority of Americans self-identify as middle class, even if their household income is substantially higher or lower than the median income. The vast majority of Americans also dislike when their own taxes increase, no matter what political party they belong to. Obama’s message doesn’t just speak to liberals or low-income voters; it speaks to the vast majority of voters.
The TPC may have a liberal bias, but that’s not a strong rebuttal from the Romney campaign (particularly as the director is a former member of Bush’s Economic Advisory Council). The best way to clear this up would be to see some more specifics on Romney’s tax plan.