So, it turns out that Mitt Romney may be walking back his shift to having a reality-based tax plan after all.
At least, sort of. To recap, the Romney tax plan calls for a 20% cut in tax rates, protecting certain current tax treatments of investment, revenue neutrality, and no tax increases for middle-income filers. The numbers, however, don't work; something has to give -- it's what Matt Yglesias calls "Romney's trilemma." Earlier in the week, a Romney adviser said that the numbers do so work, but if they didn't then the fix would be to lower the rates by less.
Now, however, we get a report that the campaign is insisting that "All of these goals are achievable, and the governor will work with Congress to enact tax reform that meets each of the goals he has proposed."
I don't know....I guess I want a bit more. I really don't have a major problem with the campaign presenting a plan that is probably not actually achievable, as long as they really mean it about the general direction of the policy and there's some fine print spelling out some clarifications. At least from the story at TPM, there's no direct contradiction of the previous position; it's just an insistence that the plan, as it is, still goes forward (see also a comprehensive post on the entire issue from Dylan Matthews).
As I said, I don't know. I'm still inclined to believe that when push comes to shove, the piece they abandon is revenue neutrality, covered by phony numbers. In other words, what is really going to happen if Romney is elected and gets his way is a large, mostly unfunded, deficit-exploding tax cut. But unless there's a somewhat more forceful walkback, I'm inclined to hold off a bit. Hey, reporters: We know that Team Romney's basic position is that they can do this. What we need is for the campaign to be pressed on the "what if?" question: if it turns out that for whatever reason something has to give, what would it be?