Mitt Romney

Would Mitt Romney Have Wanted to Raise Taxes Too?



now he won't get the chance

Here we go again. The Bush era tax cuts (now a decade old and counting) are set to expire again. They were originally set to expire in 2010, but Congress and the president agreed to extend them for two years because a) the economy wasn't doing so well then (and, as Peter Suderman noted earlier, it's not doing so well now either) and b) it would be after the election. And now here we are; President Obama began campaigning for tax hikes soon after being re-elected last week.

What would Mitt Romney have done? Unfortunately it may not be just an idle question. The president's already claimed "the majority of voters agreed" with him on higher taxes, more voters, even, he said, than actually voted for him. On election night, Obama promised to reach out and try to work with Mitt Romney. Romney probably shouldn't hold his breath waiting for that opportunity to materialize; nevertheless, if the president got Romney's endorsement on some specific plan, he could claim he's got the support of all the voters, even as something like 70 percent of eligible voters did something other than vote for Obama on election day.

The dean of Columbia's Business School, Glenn Hubbard, a former Romney advisor, did his part to help clear the path to higher taxes for the president, arguing in the op-ed pages of the Financial Times that the first step to negotiating the coming fiscal cliff is to, you guessed it, raise taxes on the rich ("to raise average (not marginal) tax rates on upper-income taxpayers," as Hubbard put it). He did acknowledge "taxing the rich" can't fund the entitlement state and that a larger government would necessitate across-the-board tax hikes. How… comforting? The federal budget is at about $3.7 trillion a year and growing. It was half that as recently as 2001. And now the economic advisor for the Republican's 2012 standard bearer has laid out a way to higher taxes (or "revenue raising" in DC newspeak).

Bonus points: Hubbard also suggested a "universal consumption tax".

not actually dukakis

Apropos: The 1988 SNL skit "Dukakis After Dark," where Lloyd Bentsen (played by Matthew Modine) asks Michael Dukakis (played by Jon Lovitz) "now that it's all over, you can tell me, you were going to raise taxes weren't you?" to which Dukakis responds  "Oh you bet I was, through the roof! But now I won't get the chance." George H.W. Bush won the 1988 election, and despite America reading his lips, he raised taxes just like Dukakis would've.

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  1. “My people are little people. Little swarthy people.”

  2. I like the “70 percent of eligible voters did something other than vote for Obama on election day.” Now that’s a mandate.

    1. It’s clear that a supermajority of supermajorities blessed Obama’s holy endeavor via voting.


    2. And people scoff when I say voting just encourages them.

      1. I don’t think Obama is going to be very discouraged that less than 30% of eligible voters voted for him

      2. You aren’t the only one to say this. So did PJ O’Rourke’s grandma.

  3. Do you know who else proposed a universal consumption tax?

    1. Mel Torme?

    2. Tuberculosis?

    3. Milton Friedman?

  4. “Would Mitt Romney Have Wanted to Raise Taxes Too?”

    Yes. Or maybe he would have devalued U.S. currency.

  5. Tulpa is not going to be pleased

  6. OT: The baseball writers got it right with David Price for AL Cy Young, now they just need to do the right thing and give Kershaw is second in a row for the NL.

    1. I want to see Dickey win it just so a knuckleballer gets some love.

      1. He did, probably for that reason even though Kershaw’s numbers were the best across the board. Wins are overrated stats, it’s all about ERA, WHIP, and Ks.

        1. ERA and WHIP are better stats, but overrated too. I’d have preferred Verlander over Price as he was more than a bit better (as was Kershaw, but it’s nice to see the knuckleballer get some love and they were closer than Price / Verlander), but I’m not going to cry about it either way.

          Hey, at least a closer didn’t win.

  7. I am going to stop by a place where hipsters socialize, strike up some casual conversation, find one who agrees with progressive taxation, and punch him or her in the mouth.

    1. Just put some roofies, xtc and viagra in the PBR on tap there and watch them rape one another when they experience urges they have never had before.

  8. Obama is just patriotic enough to raise taxes. You know he is. He held off raising any taxes on the middle class his first term, but now that there’s a mandate, I don’t see he has a choice.

  9. “George H.W. Bush won the 1988 election, and despite America reading his lips, he raised taxes just like Dukakis would’ve.”

    Because Bush decided that being bipartisn was a smart move and gave in to the Dem Congress demands that higher taxes were necessary. Somehow Reason writers seem to buy into the Imperial Presidency when discussig these types of issues. What the Cogressional leadership was demanding does not seem to factor into the narrative.

    1. And Bush helping raise taxes doesn’t seem to factor into it for you, it’s all someone else’s fault.

      1. Perhaps you weren’t around at the time. Bush didn’t ‘help’ raise taxes. The democrats who controlled congress attached tax increases to every bill – forcing a veto and effectively shutting the government down. The press was with them – accusing the President of being obstructionist and shutting the government down. In the face of growing discontent among the electorate, he caved and compromised on tax hikes. They immediately began reporting how Bush lied and raised taxes.

        For those who are amazed at the water-carrying going on for Obama in the press, recall that just a few years after the Bush shutdown (where the standard in the press was that the buck stops with the president on government shutdowns) the Clinton administration announced that they were going to shut down the government to get what they wanted from the Gingrich congress. They then proceeded to shut the government down. Although they were the same people who told us of the Clinton plan to shut the government down and blame it on Gingrich, the press carried their water for them and told us all how evil Gingrich was for shutting down the government and closing national parks.

        In both cases the majority of the American people eventually agreed with the press.

        1. I was around. Bush paid lip service to Reagan policies without ever embracing them. We always suspected that he sucked, and he proved it.

          He went from the highest approval ratings ever to losing re-election to a slimy unknown Governor from Arkansas.

    2. Presidents are (or should be) held to the promises they make. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Even if they can’t do whatever they want, they can veto whatever they want to.

  10. Would Mitt Romney Have Wanted to Raise Taxes Too?

    Who cares? Romney isn’t President, and never will be.

    1. Correct, Santorum is the relevant GOPer here.

      1. Shut up sock puppet.

      2. Re: Palin’s Buttwipe,

        Correct, Santorum is the relevant GOPer here.

        Relevant for you, it seems, as so far you’ve been the only one bringing him up anywhere. So much so, it makes one wonder…

        1. To be fair, buttplugs are very likely to bring up Santorum.

    2. But he has been for the last 4 terrible, terrible years.

  11. Hey, maybe this will get make it into Taranto’s “Answers to Questions Nobody Is Asking”

    1. Taranto does like to throw the occasional bone to the magazine where he interned.

  12. Just to be clear: A consumption tax is not a VAT. The latter is applied at every step of a product’s life, from raw material to retail sale, the former being levied only at the retail point of sale.

    I’m a proponent of getting rid of virtually every federal tax (personal income, payroll, corporate, excise, inheritance, etc.) in favor of a flat percentage charged on retail transactions. It’s transparent, it’s even-handed, the tax code will no longer be a tool of social engineering and the IRS isn’t poking its snout into our affairs anymore.

    Cato published a policy paper on it nearly 20 years ago.

    1. A VAT is a consumption tax.

      1. That’s true, but as not all birds are robins, not all consumption taxes are VATs.

        1. And as all birds are not robins, all Robins are not birds.

          Right, Boy Wonder??

        2. Tax imputation, how does it work?

    2. …the tax code will no longer be a tool of social engineering and the IRS isn’t poking its snout into our affairs anymore.

      Which is precisely why the feds will never go for it. Those are features to them, not bugs.

      1. Likely true, but I don’t expect politicians to do this unless it’s very popular. It’s our job to make it popular.

    3. Yeah, so instead we just get the government arbitrarily deciding which purchases qualify as retail and which are magical non-sales that are exempt from the tax.

      No oppurtunity for logrolling there at all.

      1. It’s a debate that I’d welcome. It’s pretty clear-cut right now which are retail and which are not. Why would a new federal consumption tax muddy the waters?

        1. But Dragon is right in that Congress would use that debate as a vehicle for graft and corruption. The states already do that. They exempt some things and not others, give tax holidays.

          1. That’s already done with the tax code, and in a very opaque manner. It’s a risk with any tax, frankly, but I’d insist on a sales tax applicable to all retail sales of goods, even houses.

        2. It’s pretty clear-cut right now which are retail and which are not.

          It sure as hell ain’t. Every state with a sales tax has different ideas about which purchases are taxable.

          1. These disputes can be settled the old fashion way: large campaign contributions stuffed in a shopping bag left in a dumpster.

            Or the new fashioned way: lots of $199 contributions from ‘Mickey Mouse’ using prepaid credit cards.

      2. Yeah, so instead we just get the government arbitrarily deciding which purchases qualify as retail and which are magical non-sales that are exempt from the tax.

        No oppurtunity for logrolling there at all.

        This isn’t some magical hypothetical that we can scratch our chins and wonder what might be… it’s happening, right now. Certain food items aren’t taxed to as not to be regressive to poor people.

        There’s always a chance of logrolling here. Liquor is taxed in my state at 20%… because liquor and children.

        However, I’d rather have logrolling over what retail items get taxed and at what rate, instead of the government digging into my income, and deciding what’s income or not. That way lies all manner of immoral government machinations. I shouldn’t be forced to sell an item I receive from my parents’ estate because I can’t afford to pay the taxes on it. Because that hunk of metal and wood is “income”.

        1. I’m really coming around to this point of view lately. Sure, any tax is going to be fucked with in silly attempts at social engineering. But at least no one has to pry into your personal finances in doing so with a consumption/sales tax.

    4. All federal funding should come in the form of lotteries.

      1. It would at least be voluntary…

        1. There is a ‘penalty’ for not buying a lottery ticket.

          1. I believe the word is penaltax

    5. There will be just much lobbying, corruption, and special favors on a sales tax. Dont’ kid yourself.

    6. Income taxes really should go. The invasion of privacy that they require is just too much.

  13. “George H.W. Bush won the 1988 election, and despite America reading his lips, he raised taxes.”

    And that’s why I registered as a libertarian.

    1. Marrou ’92! My first LP vote.

  14. You just don’t understand. The reason we had all that growth back in Clinton’s go-go ‘nineties was high personal income tax rates!

    Any fool can see that.

    1. Exactly. And lowering tax cuts caused the housing bubble.

      1. Um… tax rates

  15. LOL,I am SO glad the American Sheeple were able to see through Romneys lIES! The Sheeple are not as naive as Romney thought they were.

    1. Oh, anon-bot, it’s like you are channeling Rachel Maddow!

    2. OK moderators, you seem to have canned the tagtann account. Now it’s time to can the vootann account. Make these spammers work harder.

      1. Better be careful. It’s already mastered sarcasm. Can’t be long now before it becomes self aware.

  16. OT: “Pinks All Out” – I can’t quit you.

    *cooks up moar popcorn*

  17. “No, fuck you, cut spending.”

    1. This right here.

  18. “California’s deficit shrinks to $1.9 billion”…..037701.php
    All cheer!
    Nothing in the article; I’m betting this ignores the retirement costs. So, I’m only $20 in the hole this week, ignoring the $2K credit card bill coming due next week?

    1. I’m waiting for the shocker in the near future when the new 13.3% California State Income Tax on “high-earners” fails to bring in the $6 billion they expected.

      Who would have thought all those wealthy people would have just moved out-of-state?

      Then will come the real hand-wringing from our single-party government, and it will be a lot harder to blame the non-existent Rs this time. And suddenly there won’t be anyone actually making money left to tax either.

  19. In October 1969, 84 percent of Americans opposed legalizing the use of marijuana, 12 percent thought it should be legal. Thirty-two years later in October 2011, Gallup found for the first time Americans broke the 50 percent threshold favoring legalizing the drug.

    Kinda gives ya hope for libertarianism, don’t it?

    1. Oops, wrong thread. But enjoy.

  20. And here I thought I was joking about Reason blaming everything Obama does the next four years equally on Romney just to be balanced. Sheesh.

    True to form, we have a lot of naked conjecture and a bizarre guilt by association argument.

    1. Just as I predicted

  21. Romney probably shouldn’t hold his breath waiting for that opportunity to materialize; nevertheless, if the president got Romney’s endorsement on some specific plan, he could claim he’s got the support of all the voters

    And if he got an endorsement from Gary Johnson and Ron Paul for raising taxes, he’d really have a strong argument.

    What’s that you say? Johnson and Paul would never endorse raising taxes? Right! Now apply that logic to Romney.

    1. Romney doesn’t exactly have as good a record of ideological consistency as those two do

      1. True. But who cares? Once someone loses an election, you stop worrying about what they might have done.

        1. I don’t really care, but it’s funny watching Tulpa continue to get riled up over criticism (which this article doesn’t even qualify as. It basically an open ended speculative question that it doesn’t give a definitive answer or opinion on) of a guy he supposedly despised, even after the election is over.

          1. Romeny probably would have raised taxes. Less than Obama but would have raised them.

            1. Based on what evidence?

              1. We can infer it based on the fact that Romney

                a) didn’t plan on cutting spending

                b) isn’t not such a retard that he doesn’t understand the disaster that continuing our current system of Weimar monetary policy will lead to.

                Wait a minute!

                WTF?!? How did you get unfiltered on reasonable?!?

                1. How did you get unfiltered on reasonable?!?

                  A non-coward must have hijacked your account for a moment.

              2. His interview with WSJ in which he wouldn’t rule out a VAT/consumption tax as “tax reform”.

                1. Exactly. Ultimately a VAT will only come via a “Nixon goes to China” moment from the GOP.

          2. Ah, the famous JustAskingQuestions gambit. Not just for racists anymore, it seems? Krayewski is planting seeds by asking a ridiculous question and pretending it’s not ridiculous.

            Oddly, you have zero criticism of Reason for obsessing over MR after the election is over.

            1. Because Romney was such an intriguing fellow.

            2. I don’t think one article qualifies as obsessing, but whatever (I don’t count articles about the election itself that involve Romney, since any political site is going to have those). Why is the question ridiculous? It wouldn’t be the first time that a Republican president went back on a promise to not raise taxes. And Romney isn’t exactly averse to flip flopping

              1. It’s not one article, dude. Every monkey’s uncle at Reason has written an article/starred in a video discussing Romney since the election.

                1. It’s not one article, dude. Every monkey’s uncle at Reason has written an article/starred in a video discussing Romney since the election

                  And so is everyone else in the media. The Seattle Times is running them, with a column by Danny Westneat (typical seattle liberal journo) navel gazing on why Romney lost the election when even he (Westneat) is kind of, you know, surprised to find out that eleventy million percent of the population has been polled clearly as “wanting less government, lower taxes, and less regulation”.

                  To Westneat’s half credit, he got the article half-right: Romney fucked up.

                  I won’t go into what he got half wrong because what he got half wrong was the stuff that the media had completely wrong about Romney and the state of everything not-liberal.

                2. Yeah no shit Tulpa, and I already explained why. Pretty much all of them dealt with why Romney lost the election or something of that vein. This didn’t focus on the election per se, but on speculation of what Romney would have done had he won the election. Do you seriously expect Reason to not talk about the presidential election (which will necessarily involve talking about Romney) at all?

  22. … he [Obama] could claim he’s got the support of all the voters, even as something like 70 percent of eligible voters did something other than vote for Obama on election day.

    On election day I had my tires changed at CostCo. And I purchased Christmas gifts for my son and one my two step-daughters in the store while I waited for the tires to be installed. This is a high water mark for me in preparedness.

    1. No ammo was bought?

      For shame.

      1. Having bought loads of ammo already, I’ve started trying to buy back-issues of dirty magazines as something to potentially sell when all the porn addicts go into withdrawal after SHTF.

        Problem is, those things are flerking expensive these days.

        1. I went to Wally-World the day after the election and they were pretty stocked up. Two days after that and they had nothin’, and the shit they did have was locked in a case that nobody had the key to. Bunch of guys milling around wanting to buy whatever was left. Actually kinda worried me.

          I am buying any fucking time I have the opportunity. It’s not like it’ll go down in value. I use those tupperwear containers at wally world and use dessicants.

          If I had the cash I’d buy up 30rd magazines, any caliber, and ar15s, aks, etc.

          1. Oddly enough, this happens every time a (D) is elected..hmmm..go figure. It’s kind os a pain in the ass really.

            1. I find it pretty annoying. Just drives prices up for a while. I guess I’ll have to wait another year or so for any good deals.

          2. Are you talking about dirty magazines or ammo?

          3. There was a 1000 rd limit on .223/5.56 at the local shop and no parking available.

            This is at a store that has pallets of it sitting there, and more in the back.

            Obama is the greatest arms salesman of all time.

            1. Obama is the greatest arms salesman of all time.

              I wouldn’t be surprised to find that his biggest donors were Ruger, Hornandy, and Mossberg.

      2. I bought the girl a dog calendar. That was easy. I bought my 4 yo son a model of the solar system. Not so easy. The model still has Pluto cast as a legitimate planet. Comes a time I will have to tell him that Pluto’s just a loose rock, and Uranus and Neptune are just gasses, you can’t land your spaceship on them.

          1. Saturn

            But it sure looks fucking cool

            1. We got to see its individual rings through a telescope on top of Mauna Kea this summer. That was truly fucking cool.


        2. Make sure you also tell him that the planets are really MUCH farther apart than they appear in the model.

          This is cool:…..larsystem/

  23. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig… but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

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