Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at Americans for Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit this evening:
Let me mention one more thing, and that is, you know in the international world, our products carry a very heavy load. It’s known as embedded taxes. It’s estimated that our products face about a $100 billion disadvantage around the world. And the reason for that is that because a WTO ruling, they say that the taxes Europeans put on our goods – direct taxes, like the VAT – those the government can refund to exporters. But the taxes that are put on our products – indirect taxes, like income taxes – those we can’t refund to exporters. And as a result we have an unlevel playing field around the world. And if I’m president, I’m going to go to war to make sure that are trade is on a level playing field around the world.
Wow. Now that’s a technical area you NEVER expect a presidential candidate to mention.
Of all the seven presidential candidates who spoke at AFP’s event today, Romney got the most enthusiastic response from the audience of activists for lower taxes and limited government.
Beyond just the embedded tax issue, he certainly hit the right notes from the perspective of improving U.S. global competitiveness — making the Bush tax cuts permanent, eliminating the death tax, a new 0 percent tax rate on savings for low- and middle-class savers, and lowering the corporate tax rate. Like the other candidates, he noted that other countries are dropping their corporate taxes — he cited the Irish model — leaving the United States at a clear disadvantage.
The comments about embedded taxes were so interesting, we’ve uploaded them here as an .mp3 file.
UPDATE (2:15 p.m. Saturday): The AFP was one of several battlegrounds this week between Romney and Giuliani on tax policy.
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