Romney economic aide changes tune on taxing the rich
A prominent adviser to Mitt Romney's failed bid for the White House says U.S. lawmakers should raise taxes on the super-rich to fix the country's budget problems, a marked departure from what the Republicans lobbied for during the presidential campaign.
In an opinion piece in Tuesday's Financial Times, Glenn Hubbard says the first step for the U.S. to avoid its fiscal cliff is to raise average tax rates on upper-income earners.
"Revenues should come first from these individuals," Hubbard wrote.
In addition to helping Romney's campaign devise its economic policy, Hubbard is also the dean of Columbia University's business school in New York City.
Hubbard first gained national prominence for his appearance in the 2010 film Inside Job. The film attempts to document the series of missteps in the financial industry that led to the 2008 financial crisis, and Hubbard's appearance stands out for his obstinance and hostility when the narrator questions him on his high-paid connections within the industry.
Argues for holistic approach
In his Financial Times piece, Hubbard says the government could help solve its own deficit shortfall by eliminating tax loopholes and capping deductions.
That's a notion that the Romney campaign was staunchly opposed to during its bid for the White House that it lost to presidential incumbent Barack Obama.
On the hustings, Romney said asking the segment of society that he called the "job creators" to pay more would kill jobs and stifle growth, and instead preferred to see the U.S. slay its budget deficit with spending cutbacks on entitlement programs.
Indeed, Hubbard still argues that a more holistic approach is needed.
"A strategy of 'taxing the rich' cannot pay for the entitlement state," he wrote. "If we wanted a larger government as a share of GDP, we would have to raise taxes substantially on everyone."
The piece comes as lawmakers prepare to meet for a summit on Washington on Friday.
Unless an impasse in Congress can be avoided, experts suggest the U.S. is on track to go off its 'fiscal cliff' early in the new year, as a series of tax hikes and spending cutbacks could nudge the world's largest economy back into recession.