4:55 pm Apr. 16, 20121
When Mitt Romney's comments about cutting or consolidating certain federal agencies wafted out of a Florida fund-raiser last night, what Senator Chuck Schumer heard was one component in a Republican plan to shift America's tax burden onto the middle class.
"The harsh truth that Romney admitted yesterday is that the only way, the only way, to give the wealthiest Americans a $5 trillion tax cut without adding to the deficit is if you put the burden on the middle class ..." Schumer said on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee this afternoon. "Even these drastic cuts wouldn't be enough to pay for the huge tax breaks."
The theme of the call, according to the email advisory, was "Mitt Romney's Penchant for Secrecy," and Schumer cited Romney's destruction of certain records when he left office in Massachusetts and his offshore tax holdings. But he mostly focused on Romney's comments to donors last night that he might eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or consolidate the Department of Education, but that he was "probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go."
Schumer said Romney's "friend Congressman [Paul] Ryan" should be most upset about the overheard comments, because they "pulled back the curtain on Republicans' whole approach to budgeting."
His argument was that Republicans can't possibly offer substantial tax cuts to the top bracket without finding the money elsewhere.
"The math simply doesn't add up," he said.
In the accounting of Schumer, who has made a science (or something close to it) of courting middle-class voters, that could only mean one thing: a tax increase on the middle class.
"The truth is middle class families should hold on to their wallets," he said. "Because there's no way for Mitt Romney to carry out his tax plan without adding to the deficit, unless he raises taxes on the middle class. The bottom line, Romney won't just cut aid for education and housing, he will also raise taxes on the middle class."