New Obama Ad Hits Romney's Wealth, Tax Policy

Matt Vasilogambros and Jim O'Sullivan
National Journal


The Obama campaign released a new ad attacking Mitt Romney on his tax policies and his personal wealth, as Democrats prepared to kick off their convention on Tuesday.

The 30-second ad, called “Heavy Load,” underscores what will likely be a primary theme for Democrats this week: the burden middle-class families currently face. The ad argues that the Republican nominee’s policies would raise taxes on the middle class by an average of $2,000 a year, while giving tax breaks to those making more than $250,000 a year.

“So, Romney hits the middle class harder, and gives millionaires an even bigger break,” says the ad, which also references Romney's wealth. “Is that the way forward for America?”

Romney has said he would establish in perpetuity the cuts on income and capital gains signed by President George W. Bush, and impose across-the-board income tax cuts of 20 percent. He would eliminate the so-called “death tax” and repeal the alternative minimum tax, according to the plan outlined by his campaign.

Obama wants the Bush-era tax cuts, which he and Congress extended during the 2010 lame-duck session, sustained for the first $250,000 of household income but allowed to expire for income above that threshold (which would amount to a tax increase for the well-off).

The spot’s first claim, that Romney would raise taxes by $2,000 on middle-class earners, relies on a study by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center and appears more difficult to prove. In part, that is due to the lack of detail in certain parts of Romney’s proposal.

According to the Tax Policy Center study, “Because Gov. Romney has not specified how he would increase the tax base, it is impossible to determine how the plan would affect federal tax revenues or the distribution of the tax burden.”

The authors of the report also said, however, that if Romney  is serious about his goals of not increasing the deficit while protecting tax breaks for investors, his plan “would have to raise burdens on middle-class households.”

Romney’s camp contends that allowing taxes on higher earners to increase will “stifle growth and lead to fewer jobs. Mitt Romney’s plan will lower rates across the board, helping create jobs and higher take-home pay.” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email, “There’s only one candidate for president who will raise taxes on middle-class families – and that’s President Obama.”

The Obama ad will air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.