Late last month, Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo reported that the Romney campaign had pushed back against Kevin Hassett’s suggestion that a Romney administration would sacrifice rate cuts to preserve progressivity and revenue neutrality:
“The governor’s plan calls for a 20% rate cut for all brackets, revenue neutrality, while ensuring that high-income earners continue to pay at least the same share of taxes,” a Romney spokesperson told TPM. “All of these goals are achievable, and the governor will work with Congress to enact tax reform that meets each of the goals he has proposed.”
The statement came in response to remarks this week from campaign adviser Kevin Hassett, who said that if Romney cannot make his math work, he’d set higher tax rates for high income earners instead of raising the burden on the middle class.
“If you think the base-broadeners don’t add up, if you think he can’t get to 28 percent, then the right thing that would happen, as you know, if you’re going to have a revenue-neutral reform, is that they would have a different change in rates,” Hassett said earlier this week.
I was actually impressed by how much wiggle room the Romney spokesperson left for a future Romney administration. Hassett was speaking from experience, having seen how campaign proposals have been translated into policy once Congress has a say. The Romney spokesperson who spoke to Kapur wasn’t speaking from experience. Rather, he chose not to repudiate the Romney campaign’s tax policy goal in late September of an election year.
To understand the obstacles a Romney White House would face in passing a large tax cut, it is useful to revisit 2001...
Read the whole thing at Reihan's blog on National Review Online, where it was originally posted.