COMMENTARY | Emily Friedman of ABC News blogged on Wednesday that Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign could be helped by a newly released nonpartisan government report that paints a dismal picture of the economy in America. I think, after days of banter over the religious affiliations of the candidates and — again — what must be done about those pesky female reproductive systems, Romney would do well to seize this opportunity.
According to the report, from the Congressional Budget Office, the deficit for 2012 is estimated at $1.1 trillion and that the tax and spending cuts planned for January will likely drive the country into a recession. Oh, and if that weren’t enough: unemployment is expected to remain above 8 percent for the rest of the year.
Yes, Romney would do well to turn the campaign focus back on the economy. That doesn’t mean blaming Obama for the problem while Obama is simultaneously blaming the Republicans for it. I think that most voters can see how this is a two-party problem. And, though there certainly should be a two-party solution, Romney should at least provide a somewhat detailed illustration as to what solution he sees working. The White House, according to Friedman’s detailing of the issue, has — in the midst of blaming the Republicans — actually made a suggestion, and that is having the House Republicans pass a bill extending the tax cuts to the middle class.
Romney’s tax plan, as discussed in a late July report from the Washington Post, would provide extend the tax cuts to the rich. However, according to nonpartisan analysis, these cuts would reduce tax collections by about $360 billion in 2015. In order to prevent the deficit from going further through the roof than it already is, revenue would have to be generated by removing middle class tax breaks such as those for mortgage interest, employer-provided health care, education, medical expenses, state and local taxes and child care.
Romney’s camp dismissed the analysis provided by the Tax Policy Center as “liberal,” though the Washington Post reported that the study actually seemed to “bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate.” And right now, given the latest figures from the Congressional Budget Office, it would seem as though the ball is in Romney’s court. It would seem that the economy under the Obama administration is so dismal that all Romney has to do is talk about that.
But talk is cheap and solutions are hard to come by. Eventually, the finger-pointing has got to stop and the real work has to begin. That work could begin with Congress at least extending tax cuts to the middle class with a real agreement to continue to revisit the notion of how to deal with the upper-income taxpayers very soon. And the work could also begin with Romney giving some good information as to how he would lead us forward from here.