When GOP presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, pundits salivated over the idea that the campaign would be transformed to be one of ideas rather than insults.
It only took a few days before that was exposed as wishful thinking, but that didn’t change the fact that the Romney-Ryan vision of how the nation’s tax and investment laws should be shaped offers a stark contrast to the one presented by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
1. Investment Income
The battle over the rate at which capital gains are taxed often plays out along what sounds like class lines. Many say keeping them low helps the wealthy at the expense of the middle class because they will pay a disproportionate share. Others say low tax rates on the wealthy help create jobs.
2. Income Taxes
Income tax rates are another area of contention that exposes the split between the left and right.
3. Estate and Gift Taxes
This is another area that exposes the rift between the two parties' vision for the future of the country.
4. Regulation of Financial Services
The Obama administration has backed major reforms for the financial services industry from the Dodd-Frank Act to the Volcker rule.
5. Corporate Taxes
The current corporate tax rate is 35%. Candidates for both parties advocate reducing it, although the details differ greatly.
6. Alternative Minimum Tax
The AMT has been problematic for years. Established in 1969 to ensure that wealthy taxpayers hand over a minimum amount of their income to the government, the formula used to determine it, which has changed over the years, has managed to threaten middle-class earners because the amount was never adjusted for inflation. Several times, Congress has been forced into action to make short-term fixes. By 2008, the AMT was raising $26 billion in revenue, which is why it has been difficult to eliminate.