It’s common knowledge that Mitt Romney massively lied during the first Presidential debate on October 3rd. Now it seems he’s blatantly lying in his campaign advertisements. One in particular, running in my neck of the woods, claims a source for some tax data is non-partisan when in reality the American Enterprise Institute is far from non-partisan.
Here is the ad:
According to a non-partisan study, President Obama and the liberals will raise taxes on the middle class by $4,000. The same organization says the plan from Mitt Romney and common-sense conservatives is not a tax hike on the middle class.
The American Enterprise Institute may be non-partisan for tax purposes (that is they can’t endorse or support a particular candidate) it’s clear that AEI isn’t non-partisan in view point.
Here is brief list of members (past and present) of AEI:
- Lynne V. Cheney, senior fellow (1993-present)
- Richard B. Cheney, senior fellow (1993-1995), trustee (1995-2000)
- Newt Gingrich, senior fellow (1999-present)
- Alan Keyes, resident scholar (1987-1989)
- Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, resident scholar, senior fellow (1977-1981, 1985-2006)
- Richard Perle, resident fellow (1987-present)
- Fred Thompson, visiting fellow (2003-2007)
- Paul Wolfowitz, visiting scholar (2007-present), member, Council of Academic Advisers (1998-2001)
- Robert H. Bork, adjunct scholar, senior fellow (1971-1973, 1977-1982, 1988-2003)
- Antonin Scalia, visiting scholar (1977), adjunct scholar (1977-1980)
- John Yoo, visiting scholar (2003-present)
AEI Senior Fellow Kevin Hassett, who served as an economic adviser to President George W Bush as well as Senator John McCain, is an economic advisor to the Romney Campaign.
Most people think “non-partisan” means independent however the facts show AEI is not independent, it strongly supports conservative views. The ad is trying to take advantage of people’s misunderstood definition of the word. I call it lying.
The other point about this ad is that the “fact” in the ad is wrong.
The real problem, though, is that Romney and AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis, who originally pushed the report in a blog post yesterday, have their math wrong on the debt that will be accrued over the next 10 years, as the following two charts from the report illustrate. The first, Table 5, details the amount of each person’s taxes that would go toward debt reduction under current policy — that is, all of the policies, including the full Bush tax cuts, current spending levels, and all war spending. Pethokoukis left this chart out of his post, but it’s the one that debunks his entire theory.
In short, that means that rather than raise taxes to pay down the debt, the Obama administration’s policies — those contained directly in his budget — would reduce the share of taxes that go toward servicing the debt by $1,289.89 per taxpayer in the $100,000 to $200,000 range. And that fact remains the same under all three scenarios detailed in those charts. The report proves that relative to current policy, the Obama budget substantially reduces the debt. So, no, the report doesn’t show a tax increase; in fact, it shows that Obama’s policies would cause the share of taxes devoted to servicing the debt to go down.
I don’t think the scare tactic of “increased taxes” is one most people really care about this election season. It all about jobs and the economy. The Bush Tax Cuts didn’t lead to economic growth over its 10 years and more tax cuts won’t do the trick either. Trickle-down economics is a failure and Romney just wants to do more of the same.
Think of Romney as Bush 2.0 and that is one version no one really wants.
10/15/2012 – It looks like people associated with the Romney campaign admitted on FOX “news” that their ad was lying:
And yesterday on Fox News, top Romney aide Ed Gillespie effectively conceded the point, admitting that AEI is in fact a “right-leaning think-tank.”
GILLESPIE: AEI and other sources are very credible sources for economic analysis.
CHRIS WALLACE: You wouldn’t say that AEI is a conservative think-tank?
GILLESPIE: I would say that it is a right-leaning think-tank. That doesn’t make it not credible.
Okay, fine. In theory you can be credible and be right-leaning. And if the Romney campaign had called AEI a “right-leaning think-tank” instead of a “non-partisan, independent” think-tank, we could have a conversation. But when you describe a group as “independent” from one side of your mouth and “right-leaning” from the other side, the credibility problem is all of your own making.
Gillespie tried to defend the campaign’s claim by saying that AEI is “not a partisan organization,” but that’s only accurate in the sense that it’s not literally a part of the Republican Party. Well, sure, except for the part about it’s run and funded by Republicans.
It’s obvious what the Romney campaign was trying to say when they described AEI as both “non-partisan” and “independent”: they were trying to convince voters to believe Romney’s tax plan math ads up because an independent, trustworthy, unbiased third party group said it did.
And the bottom-line is that as even Ed Gillespie conceded, AEI isn’t what the Romney campaign made it out to be. And if the Romney campaign can’t even be honest in what it claims other people are claiming about Romney’s tax plan, why should anyone believe what he claims about it?