Romney slams tax cut deal
December 14th, 2010
10:02 AM ET
3 years ago

Romney slams tax cut deal

(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.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: Health care • Mitt Romney
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    How is it that people in either party at the far ends don't remember what compromise is anymore? You give a little bit and you produce a product, just to ensure you produce products to keep things moving forward.

    No one can have everything and no one should pretend like we can have everything. - Both governor's need to study how legislative processes work a little bit better - I think most of the legislators need a good lesson on this too..

    December 14, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. K, Mackinaw City

    I'd like to think Congress would use the two year extension to seriously consider reforming the tax code with proposals such as the Wyden-Gregg bill, but with Gregg retiring I doubt it will happen.

    December 14, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Keep sucking up Mitt and you'll get the VP spot on Sarah Palin's 2012 GOP presidential ticket.

    December 14, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Kenneth Close

    He is right, I don't know why they call it a tax cut except of an extra 1% thrown in for a group it is at this time tax neutral. But a deal is a deal especially if your out of work.

    December 14, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    What would he be offering? If he really is a fiscal hawk, then he would have let everything expire. I think he is one of those want-to-be fiscal hawks/conservatives who don't understand what needs to get done.

    December 14, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. geecee

    Oh, too bad, Mitt. Obama scored a 3-pointer, going in the back door on this one. You Conservative Republicans are really stupid. The middle class and the unemployed got a bigger gift than you rich guys did! Thank you so much, greedy Rethuglicants. "Not a good idea to raise taxes in the middle of a recession," I think is what you guys were spouting for the past 3 months. So, you didn't. Thanks on behalf of the Middle Class and the Unemployed.

    December 14, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. stevetall

    Why do half-smart Republicans always think they have some kind of mandate from the American people just because they won a few electoral races? Winning a few extra seats, or capturing 51% of the votes does not constitute a mandate. That's a slim majority, and it means that nearly half of the people DON"T support you. In this case, one must think, compromise, and lead, and I don't mean lead us where the campaign donations tell you to lead us. The toughest part of good leadership is taking us as a soicety where we need to be, for the greater good. That's the tough part. Doing something necessary, but not necessarily popular. Until the Republicans come up with a plan other than gumming up the works, they will remain the party of crack-pots, miscreants, and weasels.

    December 14, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. joesnopy

    So Romney, Palin’s second banana boy is coming out against because Palin came out against it and it may help turn the ecommcy which will make it more difficult to beat Obama in 2010.

    December 14, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Don

    He's a Republican and he's against dumping the cost of a tax cut on the deficit? Doesn't sound like a Republican to me. Oh wait, he's got to distract from creating a health care plan for Massachusetts, almost identical to what we have in the health care law. Now that makes sense.

    December 14, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. DD

    OK – so I thought this guy was smarter than Palin and I would have voted for McCain had he selected him as a running mate. Now...I know I made the right choice. The wealthy don't lose any money and he complains? Obviously, only looking at this policy in not a big picture way, which is what is needed. Can't please everybody all of the time, people. Compromise will always be the name of the game, period!!!

    December 14, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Former Republican, but never again!

    He's talking out of two sides of his mouth. He likes the tax cuts, but they add to the deficit. He's trying to have it both ways! What he REALLY doesn't like is that it may help President Obama.

    December 14, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Felix

    Romney do not know what to says he is facing Palin and Palin is like a thunder stom in politic he had been quiet and keeping his mouth shutt and now he goes out and criticize President Obama. I do not know how this man is going to be nominated for the GOP Party his base is very narrow, he cannot get votes from most of Latinos and blacks and those from South Asia I think that the best thing he could do is wait for 2018 and hopefully open the road for Palin and Palin will crash and will keep Obama in office for another four years.
    My feeling is that the Republicans has to do a better jobs with the minority that slowly is becoming a mayority and at the end those votes are going to decide the elections in the USA!

    Ideassoul

    December 14, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. B-KC

    So he likes everything about the deal except for the fact that it adds to the deficit AND doesn't make the tax cuts permament? WTF?

    December 14, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Stufthis

    Does't Mittens know that the republicans got him a huge savings on his own income taxes? Is he that clueless to think that it is more important to hurt Obama politically than to do something that may help some Americans? Mittens is acting more like the Alaska Airhead every day.

    December 14, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. Mike from MN

    Don't give the GOP what they want, they complain. Give the GOP what they want, and they still complain.

    December 14, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. tony

    Likes the tax cut extension – Doesn't like the added cost to the deficit. Then just vote that way!!!

    December 14, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Clwyd

    Fools rush in!

    December 14, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Stufthis

    Mittens needs a TV reality show for billionaires. He is losing the PR battle with Sarah, and his $500 haircuts and $10,000 shoes are not enough to improve his image, as most view him as a loser.

    December 14, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Dan Breeding

    I love how the republicans keep saying the American people didnt vote us in to have our policies watered down or ignored. Where was this frame of mind when the American people voted in the democrats and the republican response was to just say NO to everything. Does the hypocracy ever end and who are these stupid Americans who can't look back just 5 years and believe all the lies spewed at them when a little fact checking and a look back not that long ago will debunk most of it. I am a liberal but when a Democrat lies I call them on it, conservatives seem to be proud when thier leaders spread lies (death panels, our President wasnt born in America, well this list is too long to type out). How about country OVER party? That ideal does not exist in American politics any longer.

    December 14, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. what_the

    i usually don't say anything on these posts but seriously? is it just me that this doesn't make sense to? He is against adding to the deficit, but for keeping the tax cuts which in turn adds to the deficit? pretty sure keeping the tax cuts adds more than the extended benefits. there have been numerous studies/reports done stating that both cuts to numerous federal budgets and raising taxes both must be done. which party is going to stand up and do it? doesn't sound like the republicans at this point if they do not want to raise taxes. all the cuts the republicans are currently talking about doing are not the ones we should be doing in order to actually make a difference... just my opinion of course and i am a republican...

    December 14, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Chris

    Ok, I am wondering what Romney is really saying. He likes the tax extension, payroll tax reduction and extension of unemployment benefits for 40 million people but he doesn't like that it adds to the nation's deficit. You can't have these things without adding to the nation's deficit. You can't say they are doing the wrong thing but also say it's the right thing. This is slick talking to try to please both sides. I wish he would just come and say what part of the tax deal he feels should be changed or eliminated. I HATE when politicans just talk but never say anything of any substanced!

    December 14, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Don

    Apparently the republicans CAN have it both ways.

    December 14, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Tam

    Ah, this great intellect joining the Palin brain trust.

    December 14, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. How is that $900 BILLION Deficit-spending Tax Cuts Giveaways working out for you?

    Romney, the fiscal financial guru (sarcasm) says "the tax cut extension is only temporary and that the deal adds to the nation's deficit"

    So if we make it permanent like the GW Bush tax cuts has been for the last decade (10yrs)...wouldn't it add to the nation's deficit?...is that not the cause of our economic depression? Seriously, why are we in a recession again...with all of the GW Bush tax cuts and the rich folks starching their tax cuts giveaways in foreign accounts?

    Mittens speaking in circles can even make a Romney dizzy!!!

    December 14, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney is confused. The Tea Party sent people to congress to make sure that tax cuts for the wealthy are renewed so the national debt will skyrocket. Oh wait, they sent people to DC to eliminate their own social security and medicare to cut government costs. What aspect of the tea party is Romney trying to appeal to?

    December 14, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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