Critics of Mitt Romney's tax reform plan say his proposal leaves out too many details, but Paul Ryan, the Republican presidential nominee's running mate, says keeping the proposal vague gives it the best chance for passage through Congress.
During an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, Ryan said Romney is following Ronald Reagan's playbook by not divulging the details about what specific tax loopholes he would close and the rates that would be set under his administration. Ryan said the reason is "because we want to get it done."
"Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill did it in 1986, but we haven't done it since 1986 for lots of reasons, which is we don't want to presume to say, 'Here's exactly our way or the highway, take it or leave it Congress,'" Ryan said during the CBN interview. "We want to say, 'This is our vision, lower tax rates across the board for families and small businesses, and work on the loopholes that are enjoyed by the higher-income earners, take away their tax shelters so more of their income is subject to taxation.'"
Romney's tax plan, outlined on his campaign website, promises to cut marginal tax rates "across the board" by 20 percent, eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for those earning less than $200,000 annually, scrap the death tax, repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax and cut corporate tax rates to 24 percent.
President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is running a television ad that criticizes Romney's silence on the issue that claims he "dodges" questions about his tax plan. On Monday, the campaign sent reporters a press release asking, "Will Romney's Campaign Reset Include Details?"
But House Republicans insist the strategy is practical, not political.
"Let's suppose that he had a plan with every dot and tittle," Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, a former Finance Committee chairman, told The Hill newspaper. "What's the practical aspect of it? A president proposes. We dispose."
Paul Ryan's response on CBN:
Look, I've been on the Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. I'm very familiar with how to make successful tax reforms take place. Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil did it in 1986, but we haven't done it since 1986 for lots of reasons which is we don't want to presume to say, 'Here's exactly our way or the highway, take it or leave it Congress.' We want to say, 'This is our vision, lower tax rates across the board for families and small businesses, and work on the loopholes that are enjoyed by the higher-income earners, take away their tax shelters so more of their income is subject to taxation.' That lowers everybody's tax rates. And we have to be able to work with Congress on those details, on how to fill it in and more to the point we don't want to cut some backroom deal that they did with Obamacare where we hatched some plan behind the scenes and they spring it on the country. We want to do this in front, in the public, through congressional hearings with Congress so that we can get to the best conclusion with public participation. That's the process that works the best to ultimate success gets this done. That's why we're doing it this way.