Up   |  September 23, 2012

Romney economic adviser: Romney won't make tax system less redistributive

In an interview Sunday on Up w/ Chris, Romney economic adviser and fundraiser Emil Henry accused President Obama of favoring redistribution of wealth but refused to say whether the Romney campaign would change the tax code to make it less redistributive.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i want to respond real quick on food stamps . you are right the amount of people on stamps has increased quite a bit. it was 32 million when the president took over. it's now around 46 million to 47 million. the last big expansion eligibility, the two things that increased are the recession. people have gotten poorer because of the recession and the eligibility ha happened in 2002 signed by president bush . it was voted for by none other than paul ryan . the last expansion of eligibility of food stamps happened under a republican president who voted for paul ryan . the other thing i want to ask about is the redistribution thing. p president believes in it, mitt romney doesn't. if that's the case, why not advocate a flat tax ? if romney doesn't believe in redistribution, he's got the wrong tax plan. real belief would be at the very least a flat tax . i don't understand why he doesn't have the courage to go out there and advocate for a nonredistributive tax plan.

>> actually, if you look at his tax plan closely, it's about as close to a flat tax plan as has existed since the reagan years. what he's done is he -- and what he was advocating for is a highly simplified plan. the tax code , by the way, is 70,000 pages. 70,000. you know why it's 70,000 pages? for the last multiple decades, politicians have sold for donations have sold exemptions to the code. let's simplify it. we can come to that one. let's simplify it. let's lower marginal rates and get rid of, not all, but most of the agregregious exemptions and taxes on the middle class will go down. and no -- i have heard him say this 100 times and i know this for a fact, he says taxes on rich folks are not going to go down because of the elimination of exemptions. the more people hear about this --

>> that's intention with the nonredistributed thing. taxes on wealthy people have to go down. if he doesn't believe in that, he has to reduce the burden of wealthy people. we have a barely, but progressive income tax . if he doesn't believe in redistribution, he has to cut it for the wealthy. it's not the case he is flattening the tax code and not lowering them for rich people .

>> your point -- if your making -- chris, i always like talking with you. you think outside the box . if your point is that a progressive tax code, which is what the united states of america has and it's the right thing, and it's about fairness and fairness of opportunity, your point is there's a technical element of redistribution by virtue of hiring --

>> not just technical -- that's redistribution. you are paying for it!

>> let's be real about it. let's be real about this. when president obama talks about redistribution, chris, you know this is true, when he talks about redistribution, he is talking about a massive difference from the romney plan, which is about simpler, lower marginal rates , getting rid of exemptions and lowering the corporate tax rate to attract business in america .

>> just two points. one, it wasn't just you and rachel maddow that had a problem with governor romney 's comments. i read peggy noonan and david brooks . 67% of them pay payroll. 37% are retirees and elderly. the other 10% are student, military, disabled and yes, those in poverty. on a percentage basis, my guess is a lot of that 47% pays higher than the 14% that governor romney announced.

>> he said this is a choice election. it certainly is, okay. what you are seeing -- do you remember this textbook they used to assign in college called who built america ? it was a history of labor . we are turning that understanding completely upside down. who built america , the people in lower manhattan , finance capital . we are moochers and looters.

>> we got mitt romney 's tax returns and learned he paid 14 -- roughly 14.-something percent. the lowest pays 17.1. this notion of mooching is distorted in terms of the facts. i want to thank you.

>> can i jump in on that one.

>> sorry. we are up against a break. thank you for coming. i'll have you back. economic adviser to mitt romney . thank you all for joining us this morning.

>> thank you.

>>> from act up to occupy, how change does come to washington, when we come back.