Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney's plan to cut taxes and get the economy back on track would hurt the poor, a non-partisan think tank said Wednesday, sparking a furious political debate.
The Brookings Institution said Romney's plan to lower rates and maintain tax breaks would spell "large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers."
Romney has proposed cutting income tax rates by 20 percent, eliminating tax on investment income, eliminating the estate tax, and cutting the corporate tax rate.
To offset the $360 billion in lost revenues, Brookings said the government would be forced to end some tax benefits.
As a result, those earning over $1 million a year would get an average tax cut of around $175,000, while those earning less than $30,000 would get an increase of around $130.
The authors of the Brookings study -- including Adam Looney, who once served on President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers -- also said the plan would do little to boost growth.
Romney's campaign dismissed the study, describing its authors as partisan and saying it considered only half of Romney's tax platform.
"This is just another biased study from a former Obama staffer," said Romney policy director Lanhee Chen.
"The study ignores the positive benefits to economic growth from both the corporate tax plan and the deficit reduction called for in the Romney plan."
"President Obama and his allies are simply trying to distract attention from his failed record on the economy."
Obama's campaign leapt on the study, saying it was evidence of the Republicans' failed "top-down" economics.
"They've got a basic theory," Obama told supporters in the key battleground state of Ohio. "The basic idea is, is that if you give more tax breaks to the very wealthy, and you get rid of regulations on banks and polluters and health insurance companies, then somehow everybody is going to prosper."
"We tried that. It did not work."
"The centerpiece of my opponent's entire economic plan is not only to extend the Bush tax cuts, but then to add a new $5 trillion tax cut on top of it," Obama said.
"The bulk of this would go to the wealthiest Americans. A lot of it would go to the top one percent."
Republicans and Democrats in Congress are locked in a fierce debate about whether tax cuts should be extended for high earners.
On Wednesday, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted 256 to 171 to extend tax cuts for everyone.
The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, and Obama has vowed to veto it should it come to his desk.
In a statement, the White House said the bill would add to the deficit and raise taxes on working families.
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