Now comes the mail.
After the hundreds of thousands of TV ads bombarding the voters of several swing states, the Web videos arriving via YouTube, 140-character screeds delivered in Tweets and, yes, the radio ads as well, it’s time for the direct mail.
The letter carrier this weekend brought a glossy missive from Americans for Tax Reform — Grover Norquist’s Washington-based group — slamming President Barack Obama for a 2013 budget that “could mean $1.5 trillion in tax increases.”
This is from the anti-tax activist who has exacted no-new-tax pledges from many members of Congress — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has signed Norquist’s pledge, as has his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee. That pledge is partly responsible for the gridlock preventing Congress from agreeing upon long-term deficit-reduction — a deal which the chairmen of the Simpson-Bowles commission concluded requires a share of tax increases as well as spending cuts.
The alarming mailing that showed up in an Alexandria, Virginia, mail slot failed to mention that Obama’s plan for taxes next year is to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for households earning more than $250,000 a year while continuing those tax cuts for the vast majority of Americans who make less than $250,000.
It also warns that Obama’s 2013 budget includes “nearly $1 trillion in deficit spending.”
What it doesn’t say is that, should Romney win election in November, his 2013 budget necessarily will include about $1 trillion in deficit spending as well. That’s because the plan that Romney proposes — cutting everyone’s taxes by 20 percent while eliminating tax exemptions for high-end earners — is intended to be “revenue neutral.” That means it doesn’t alter the overall income for the government in the process. The overall income of the federal government will be about $1 trillion less than what it spends next year under either Obama’s or Romney’s plans. Neither Obama nor Romney has proposed a plan that eliminates the annual federal deficit in the near future.
The Norquist mailing warns that Obama’s $1.5 trillion tax hike would “pull the plug on Virginia businesses’ power to create jobs.” Yet most small businesses would be protected from tax increases under a plan that continues the Bush-era tax cuts for households earning less than $250,000 a year. The Obama campaign has been contending in its own TV ads that it actually is Romney who will increase taxes on the middle class with a plan that forces the elimination of many tax exemptions to balance the ledger. Obama cites the Tax Policy Center for that conclusion. The truth is, it’s impossible to know what Romney’s plan will do because he hasn’t specified what exemptions would be curtailed or eliminated.
Alexandria may be suburban Washington to some people, but it’s actually part of the Democratic-leaning sector of one of the states which Obama and Romney are struggling to win on Nov. 6 – Obama won Virginia in 2008. It’s been six decades since Democrats won two consecutive presidential contests in Virginia.
Which means more mail is on the way.