Claim: A new advertisement endorsed by President Barack Obama that is airing on KLAS-TV Channel 8 states: "Mitt Romney's plan: A new $250,000 tax cut for millionaires. Increased military spending. Adding trillions to the deficit."
Verdict: Partly true and partly misleading. Republican presidential candidate Romney has proposed hiking defense spending such as by increasing shipbuilding for the Navy from nine new ships annually to 15 a year and by reversing cuts made under Democrat Obama. The part about Romney's plan adding trillions of dollars to the nation's budget deficit needs to be clarified. The ad attributes that claim to a May 21 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. But the center's greatest concern, at least as stated in the headline of its report, is that "Romney's budget proposals would require massive cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs." The center estimated that if Romney got everything he desired -- a cap on total federal spending, tax cuts, a balanced budget requirement, no cuts to Social Security but increased defense spending -- the nation would have to cut non-defense programs by 29 percent in 2016 and 59 percent in 2022. As for the claim that Romney favors new tax cuts for the rich, it should be noted that he has called for across-the-board 20 percent cuts in marginal federal income tax rates, meaning one doesn't have to be a millionaire to enjoy a tax cut. That said, the Tax Policy Center, a collaboration of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution think tanks, initially concluded that individuals earning at least $1 million annually would receive a much higher percentage of tax cuts than those earning less when Romney's entire tax package is considered. Then on Wednesday, the center issued an even harsher evaluation, now claiming that Romney's tax cuts "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers." The center concluded that taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent, versus 2.4 percent for those in the $75,000 to $100,000 range. But those earning less than $30,000 would see a decrease of nine-tenths of 1 percent, the center concluded. Romney challenged the center's methodology, though, so expect the debate over whether his tax plan favors the rich to continue.