President Obama is running another ad pretending Mitt Romney has a secret plan to raise taxes on the middle class, which Freudians would call projection. We’re not sure what they’d call the President’s bid to make us his accomplices by invoking The Wall Street Journal, but our term for it is political sociopathy.
“To pay for huge new tax breaks for millionaires like him,” the narrator says, “Romney would have to raise taxes on the middle class—$2,000 for a family with children, says a nonpartisan report.” Then this newspaper’s nameplate glides across the screen, with the text, “Study: Romney’s Tax Plan Hits Middle Class, 8/1/12.”
That would be a 250-word, four-paragraph item on the Journal’s Washington Wire blog, which merely informed readers of the existence of a Tax Policy Center study on the Romney tax plan. That’s the supposedly “nonpartisan report” the ad cites.
Since Mr. Obama’s ad makers had perhaps a million such uncritical blurbs to choose from, and most of them lacked straight-up-the-middle headlines, our guess is that they deliberately choose the Journal to associate Mr. Obama with this editorial page’s antitax credibility. It’s a subtle if familiar appeal to authority: “Even the Wall Street Journal . . .”
Apart from taking our name in vain, the larger problem is citing a month-old blog post about what is a single and now discredited report. The Tax Policy Center authors—Samuel Brown, William Gale and Adam Looney, the last a former Obama Administration economist—concluded that Mr. Romney’s tax plan was “mathematically impossible” and therefore to avoid increasing the deficit he would have to dip into the lower-income brackets for more revenue.