(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is not a fan of the tax cut compromise between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans.
In an op-ed Tuesday in USA Today, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate calls the plan a "bad deal" - making Romney the first possible 2012 GOP White House contender to come out against the proposal other than former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
While Romney points out what he calls the good parts of the deal, such as the reduction of payroll taxes, the keeping intact of the income current tax rates, and the extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed, he takes issue with much of the proposal, saying the tax cut extension is only temporary and that the deal adds to the nation's deficit.
"Intermixed with the benefits are considerable costs of consequence. Given the unambiguous message that the American people sent to Washington in November, it is difficult to understand how our political leaders could have reached such a disappointing agreement. The new, more conservative Congress should reach a better solution," Romney writes.
The piece was published just hours before the Senate is scheduled to vote on final approval of the plan. The deal cleared a key procedural hurdle Monday, with an 83-15 vote to end Senate debate on the measure. Anticipating final Senate approval of the measure, President Obama Monday urged the House to pass it quickly, despite the misgivings of many House Democrats who are opposed to the current deal.
In his op-ed, Romney says the compromise, if enacted, could benefit the president politically: "President Obama has reason to celebrate. The deal delivers short-term economic stimulus, and it does so at the very time he wants it most, before the 2012 elections. But the long term health of our great engine of prosperity will remain very much in doubt."
The op-ed may be an attempt by Romney to tout his fiscal discipline chops, and could be an attempt of outreach to fiscal conservatives and Tea Party activists, who will be an important constituency in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries and caucuses.
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Both Palin and Romney can say this kind of stuff right now. They are on the sidelines and not actually governing (BTW – Palin QUIT her terms as governmor). They have no real political consequences in saying this kind of stuff right now. The polls show the American people are HAPPY with the compromise. Yes they want something done on the debt, but they also want our leaders to work together. If either one were President right now, they would also ACCEPT this deal vs vetoing it and allowing the tax rate to go up. While it isn't the greatest, this is the best compromise. There is no such thing as an absolutely perfect bill, never will be. There will ALWAYS be a subset of people against ANY particular bill.
So people considering either of these for President in 2012 – remember these statements they are making now. Also notice Palin ONLY allowed Fox on her trip to Haiti. How does she expect to govern the ENIRE United States, by only talking to a subset of the American Public. I don't watch Fox more than 10 minutes in a week. How could I form an opinion of what she would govern is she doesn't talk to the rest of us.
OK, so he wants permanent tax cuts but also wants to lower the deficit....? If that's really what he is saying, the two don't mix well. Either cut taxes and find another way of battling the deficit, or don't cut taxes and also find other ways of battling the deficit. I am sick and tired of all sides pointing out what they see as wrong with what everyone else is doing. How about you offer a new plan? Or address specifically what changes to make, rather than speaking in generalities.