Romney's Idea on Taxes May Save the Day

His proposal to cap deductions by a fixed dollar amount is in play

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 13, 2012 2:41 PM CST

(Newser) – What a difference an election makes: Democrats are suddenly getting behind an idea pitched by Mitt Romney as a way out of the fiscal cliff mess, reports the New York Times. On the trail, Romney floated the notion of putting a cap on income tax deductions at a fixed dollar amount. He didn't get into specifics, but negotiators now see the idea as a way to make the rich pay more in taxes without raising rates. "Let's just say there's a renewed interest," says Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad.

As Matthew O'Brien at the Atlantic explains, "a cap just might be a Republican-friendly way to get what Democrats want." He cites an example of how progressive it would be: A cap set at $50,000 would bring in an additional $59 billion in 2015, and the richest Americans—the ones who take the biggest deductions—would account for 75% of it. But don't assume it will fly, despite the seemingly bipartisan credentials. "This is a tax hike in sheep’s clothing, and the question is whether the GOP congressional leadership will treat it as such," writes Peter Grier at the Christian Science Monitor.

Mitt Romney, accompanied by wife Ann, waves after speaking at a campaign event at George Mason University on Nov. 5.
Mitt Romney, accompanied by wife Ann, waves after speaking at a campaign event at George Mason University on Nov. 5.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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