Romney Says He Won’t Cut Taxes on High-Income Earners

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, said he’ll reduce the number of deductions and exemptions for high-income taxpayers, while declining to say which ones he would get rid of as part of his plan.

Romney said he wants to bring down the tax rates while maintaining the revenues that the government collects. The goal, he said, is to not lower taxes on high income earners while lowering taxes for middle income earners by doing away with the taxes they would have to pay on interest, dividends and capital gains.

“People at the high end, high income taxpayers, are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions. Those numbers are going to come down. Otherwise they’d get a tax break,” Romney said on “Meet the Press” airing on NBC today. “And I want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high income taxpayers.”

He said that he wouldn’t raise taxes on middle-income earners to reduce the nation’s deficit.

“My tax policy is designed to find a way to encourage more hiring in this country,” Romney said. “We encourage small business, because small business is able to keep more of what it makes and therefore hire more people, which is my priority.”

‘Silly Idea’

Lanhee Chen, Romney’s domestic policy adviser, said Romney doesn’t want to cut homeownership and health-care tax breaks, especially for middle-income people.

“This silly idea that, I’ve got to tell you exactly -- I’m going to presume and presuppose these are the things that we’re going to curb and these are the things we’re going to change --I think, represents an unrealistic view of how this works,” Chen said.

Romney said it was a “big mistake” for Republican leaders in Congress to back automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion during negotiations last year to raise the U.S. debt limit. The automatic cuts, known as sequestration, are required by the 2011 agreement to raise the U.S. debt limit and were designed to require Congress to find other deficit-reduction proposals to replace them. Lawmakers so far haven’t agreed on such a plan. About half of the automatic cuts come from defense spending.

Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, voted for the automatic cuts while trying to undo them this year. The Republican-led House in May passed a bill to avert the $500 billion in defense cuts.

Defense Spending

Romney said that he wants to maintain defense spending at the current level of the gross domestic product which is about 3.5 percent.

“I don’t want to keep bringing it down as the president’s doing,” Romney said on the program.

The Republican nominee said he would balance the budget by the end of his second term as president. Doing so in the first term, would cause a “dramatic impact on the economy. Too dramatic.”

“We’ve put together a plan that lays out how we get to a balanced budget within eight to 10 years,” Romney said.

Romney indicated that he may be satisfied with being a one- term president. “If I can get this country back on track again, I’d be satisfied with anything.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at rtiron@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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