Monday, April 16, 2012

Romney finally gets specific (in private)

Mitt Romney was speaking at a private fundraising event yesterday that, apparently, was not as private as he thought, becasue reporters were lurking on a public sidewalk outside the event and overheard everything.

One such reporter was the Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray, who detailed some of the details Romney finally offered.

[Romney] said he would eliminate or limit for high-earners the mortgage interest deduction for second homes, and likely would do the same for the state income tax deduction and state property tax deduction.

He also said he would look to the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for budget cuts.

.... Mr. Romney previously has said he would cut or limit deductions for high-earners but hadn't offered specifics. Some previously announced elements of his tax plan target their benefits to middle-income people, such as his proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes for taxpayers with adjusted gross income of less than $200,000 a year.

On Sunday, Mr. Romney said he would look to the education department and HUD for potential cuts. "That might not be around later," Mr. Romney said of HUD.

Mr. Romney said he would either consolidate the education department with another agency or make it "a heck of a lot smaller." "I'm not going to get rid of it entirely," he said.

Throughout the course of this cycle, Romney's been fairly vague on his plan for cuts.

After chatting with him in late March, The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes wrote:

[Romney] is reluctant to get specific about the programs he would like to kill. He did this in his bid for the Senate 18 years ago and remembers the political ramifications.

.... Romney’s answer goes a long way to explain why some conservatives have been reluctant to embrace his candidacy. They want a list. They want it to be long, they want it to be detailed, and they want a candidate who is not only willing to provide one but eager to campaign on it. This is especially true after the historic success of the unapologetic, aggressive strain of conservatism that triumphed in the 2010 midterm elections.

That’s not Mitt Romney. It never will be.