Mitt Romney has made a big deal out of President Obama's decision to grant requests by governors from both parties for more flexibility in the work requirement in TANF, the reformed welfare program. The question that millions are now asking is whether the NYT has a work requirement for its reporters. David Leonhardt's piece on Mitt Romney's first 100 days suggests otherwise.
One of the big questions that serious people have been raising is how Governor Romney proposes to pay for the large tax cuts for the wealthy that his plan would provide. Romney has claimed that he would pay for these tax cuts by eliminating tax deductions. The Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute claim that this plan does not add up. It would be necessary to substantially reduce or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, the deduction for employer provided health care and other deductions for middle income taxpayers to make up the lost revenue.
In dealing with this problem, which implies that Romney would impose a substantial tax increase on millions of middle income families, Leonhardt refers us to a proposal by Representative Ryan which would allow people to pay taxes under the current schedule or use the new lower tax rates. Does this add up? Can a plan that provides a tax cut to everyone who knows arithmetic (or knows someone who knows arithmetic) produce the same amount of revenue as the current tax system?
It's Leonhardt's job to investigate this issue. I'm sure that he is a busy guy, but he has more time and probably more expertise to examine this issue than most of his readers. It is incredibly irresponsible to pretend that numbers add up when they don't. If Leonhardt didn't have the time to assess this key point, then he didn't have time to write the piece.