As the filing deadline draws mercifully closer, the nation’s tax geeks are finally free to
go on a Robert Downey-sized bender turn their attention to what promises to be the most tax-driven presidential election in recent memory.
Right on cue, the Senate will be spending this evening voting on the first iteration of the Democratic-sponsored Buffett Rule, which would require taxpayers earning over $1,000,000 to pay a minimum 30% effective tax rate. The vote is being dismissed as largely symbolic, because as I discussed previously, the Buffett Rule is much more of a mechanism for the current administration to cast roles in the upcoming election — A vote for Obama is a vote for fairness, puppies, and rainbows! A vote for Romney is a vote for rich white guys, unjust tax breaks, and Aspen ski homes! — than it is reflective of potentially impactful legislation.
On the Republican side of the campaign trail, Mitt Romney has at long last started to show his hand regarding where he will make up the increase to the federal deficit caused by his proposed 20% across the board reduction of the current tax rates. From the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, said he would eliminate or limit for high-earners the mortgage interest deduction for second homes, and likely would do the same for the state income tax deduction and state property tax deduction.
Ok, that should raise some revenue. But historically, Republicans have been fiercely protective of their home mortgage interest deduction. It’ll be interesting to see how those claims evolve should Romney’s party members push back the way I imagine they will.
Of course, increased tax revenue is only one way to skin the deficit cat. What about spending cuts?
He also said he would look to the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for budget cuts. Mr. Romney said he would either consolidate the education department with another agency or make it “a heck of a lot smaller.” “I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” he said.
He also vowed to stand up to teachers unions and warned that unions would funnel dues to Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign. “The unions will put in hundreds of millions of dollars,” Mr. Romney said. “There’s nothing like it on our side,” he said, and he encouraged attendees to get their friends to donate, as well.
Now there’s a policy I can get behind. At the risk of sounding unpopular, if there’s one thing I’m sure of it’s that educators are paid far too much. Personally, I’m sick of watching these kindergarten teachers cruise around in their Ferraris during spring break while I’m stuck in the office, counting their millions and preparing their tax returns.