Bidding to seize control of the accelerating debate over economic stimulus, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is proposing a package with something for everyone. In an interview this afternoon, Mr. Romney said he will propose:
--To permanently cut in the lowest income tax bracket to 7.5 percent from 10 percent.
--To make that cut immediately retroactive to 2007 tax liabilities.
--To permanently eliminate Social Security payroll taxes for workers over 65.
--To provide 100 percent expensing of new equipment purchased by businesses over two years retroactive to Jan 1 2008.
--To permanently reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent over two years.
--To permanently eliminate capital gains and dividends taxes on households earning under $200,000 a year, an idea he has previously proposed.
An aide to Mr. Romney pegged the total cost of his package at $250-billion--far exceeding the $150-billion estimated cost of the package President Bush favors. On the potential impact on the long term budget deficit, Mr. Romney said, "If we go into recession, the cost to our balanced budget is going to be far more severe than the cost of this program."
Mr. Romney distinguished his proposal from Republican rival John McCain's statement in debate recently, that his short-term approach to economic slowdown is to cut spending. "That is not stimulative," Mr. Romney said by phone while campaigning in Nevada. "My understanding of what it takes to grow the economic comes from 25 years in the private sector."
To appeal to economic conservatives, he cited the permanent nature of his tax cut proposals, which he called on Congress to enact within 30 days. "The kinds of stimulative actions we take should be pro-growth. They aren't just writing checks for people to buy oil or TVs."
Video is of a discussion on the Bush stimulus package.