Running in 2000, George W. Bush insisted that his proposed tax cut would be a boon to the middle class. Experts demurred, arguing that the top 1 percent of income earners would reap a windfall. Like Romney, Bush declined to show his math. In the end, his 2001 tax cut delivered almost half of its benefits to the top 1 percent and initiated Bush’s march toward a trillion-dollar deficit.
At his debate with Vice President Joseph Biden last week, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said the campaign wouldn’t release definitive numbers because they would only be finalized in bipartisan negotiations with Congress. Tax and spending legislation must work its way through Congress, of course. But it’s hard to give Romney and Ryan the benefit of the doubt when they trumpet big tax cuts while steadfastly refusing to disclose who will pay for them.