Yes, we built it; can we repair it? Pt. 8

A standard attack line from Republican candidates and conservatives is to attack those who disagree with their ideas as being biased.  The claim is to show that people are getting to conclusions in an unfair manner instead of just letting the facts speak for themselves.  The most common time this happens is when the issue of taxation is to occur.  The worst is when conservatives seem to support a non-partisan source and hail them as independent when it gives them information that they agree with but if it disagrees with them or agree with a liberal, it is all of a sudden, a biased liberal think tank.  The fear seems to be of objective analysis.

During the 2012 Republican Presidential primary, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney released his tax plan in “Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth.”  Romney expanded the plan in February of 2012 which would eliminate the alternative minimum tax and cutting the marginal income tax rates by an additional 20% cut across the board.  The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center did an analysis of Romney’s corporate, individual, and estate tax plan and found that it would cost $480 billion per year or $4.8 trillion over 10 years.  Per their analysis, “our major conclusion is that any revenue-neutral individual tax change that features Governor Romney has proposed would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle-and/or lower-income taxpayers.”

Romney and his campaign immediately dismissed the Tax Policy Center as a biased organization.  He also noted that the plan analyzed by the Tax Policy Center was not the complete one.  William G. Gale, former staff economist in President George H.W. Bush’s White House, fired back in an interview, “We wrote a technical, accurate paper given the available information.  The criticism that you can’t analyze the Romney tax plan because there isn’t one? That hasn’t stopped other economists from analyzing its growth effects. I like to have substantive discussions about tax policy. The uproar about the paper has not been substantive.”

But the main point of criticism from Romney   and his team remained.  Was the Tax Policy Center biased against Romney?  The Romney campaign released a press release when the Tax Policy Center released their study on Rick Perry’s tax plans.  The press release “Objective, Third-Party Analysis Showed Governor Perry’s Plan Would Raise Taxes on Millions of American Families –But He Doesn’t Seem Interested in the Discussion” seems to call into question whether or not the Romney camp thought that they were objective.

Following Romney’s lead, The Wall Street Journal called the Tax Policy Center, a “liberal think tank that has long opposed cutting income tax rates.”  Point of fact is that the Tax Policy Center seems to argue for lowering the income rates and doing more to help out the individual tax payer.   Of course, other authors for The Wall Street Journal called the Tax Policy Center nonpartisan and independent in previous articles and subsequent articles.  Conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin called the Tax Policy Center “left-leaning” and “very partisan” when talking about Romney’s tax plans.  When she had written about Herman Cain’s tax plan, she called it nonpartisan and independent.

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