Published for National Review’s ‘The Corner’, October 4, 2012
That was quite a debate. There is a lot to say, so I’ll just throw out a few scattered thoughts:
(1) Mitt Romney has put a marker down on tax policy. He has no intention of reducing the revenue raised from high-earners relative to current policy. He does, however, intend to lower the statutory marginal tax rate. Many have argued that this is incompatible with Romney’s other stated goals, including reducing the taxation of capital income, etc. My sense is that the marker he laid down in Denver debate will take precedence over the plan he rolled out before the Michigan GOP primary.
(2) President Obama invoked the Clinton-era tax rates. Yet Ezra Klein ofWonkbook has observed that the Obama administration is committed to raising taxes on high-earners well beyond the Clinton-era tax rates:
The end result is that he wants to raise almost twice as much money from folks making more than $250,000 than he’d get from simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire for this group. So overall taxes for them are going to be much higher than simply going back to the Clinton-era rates would suggest.
(3) Romney effectively defended the concept of Medicaid block grants, but he did not make a case for his proposed growth rate. This was a vulnerability that President Obama did not exploit. Generally, Romney proved more deft in exploiting such moments of weakness.