Economist Says Obama Misrepresented his Study on Romney Tax Plan

-By Warner Todd Huston

Princeton economics professor Harvey Rosen wants everyone to know that he didn’t say what Obama’s reelection campaign is claiming he said about Mitt Romney’s tax plan, namely that it would necessarily raise taxes on the middle class.

On the evening of October 7, team Obama mass emailed another one of its ever present campaign press releases and the topic du jour was how Mitt Romney’s plan will raise taxes on the middle class.

“Even the studies that Romney has cited to claim his plan adds up still show he would need to raise middle-class taxes,” the press release said. “In fact, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein and Princeton economist Harvey Rosen both concede that paying for Romney’s tax cuts would require large tax increases on families making between $100,000 and $200,000.”

But, hold the phone, said the very economist that team Obama cited. In a message to the Weekly Standard, professor Rosen says it isn’t so. In fact, Rosen’s look at Romney’s tax plan came to just the opposite conclusion.

I can’t tell exactly how the Obama campaign reached that characterization of my work. It might be that they assume that Governor Romney wants to keep the taxes from the Affordable Care Act in place, despite the fact that the Governor has called for its complete repeal. The main conclusion of my study is that under plausible assumptions, a proposal along the lines suggested by Governor Romney can both be revenue neutral and keep the net tax burden on taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 about the same. That is, an increase in the tax burden on lower and middle income individuals is not required in order to make the overall plan revenue neutral.

Needless to say, Rosen wants Obama to stop misrepresenting his work.

The Tax Policy Center also reviewed Romney’s tax plan.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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