President Obama in his State of the Union speech last night laid out the no-brainer case again for deficit reduction through a return to tax code fairness. The speech came hours after multimillionaire Republican primary frontrunner Mitt Romney released the low-rate, off-shore income tax returns he submitted last year– returns that may devastate Republican trickle-down economics talking points on tax policy and government finances. What else happened to Mitt Romney this week?
There was that ad from Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC, Winning the Future, which was, as Dave Weigel put it, “the sort of thing that will make a Republican voter’s bile bubble up and come shooting out of every waiting orifice.”
There was also Dan Check’s “Romney Income Calculator,” an online “game” of sorts that attracted mega-hits, in which you type in your working-person annual salary to discover how long it would take an under-taxed fortune to generate the same amount of money for Mitt “corporations are people, my friend” Romney. The tragi-comic oddly hypnotizing math works out to inform that if you make less than $100,000 a year, it takes Romney’s money about a day and a half to out earn you.
Which cast the tax plan Romney is pushing under a spotlight. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, the plan would have saved Romney $4.1 million last year, effectively cutting his taxes in half. That math leads to more math, like this, for example: As president, Romney could end up paying himself $16,4 million in tax breaks over his first term in addition to earning the president’s $400,000 per year salary. So, electing Mitt Romney could cost the American tax payers $18 million in Mitt Romney’s take alone.
There was in addition, the problem of “the help.” The wealthy Romneys with their three homes appear to be stingy with their maids (or maybe they’re paying them under the table). Either way, more great news.
There was also the matter of his just plain losing voting contests. “Republican primary frontrunner” Romney lost to Santorum in Iowa and then he lost to Gingrich in South Carolina. So he has won only in New Hampshire.
Now Gingrich is tied with Romney or leading in Florida polls. The primary there is Tuesday.
Romney is no longer the frontrunner and he is not an inevitable nominee.