Romney’s new either/or proposition on taxes is just the politics of division, plain and simple. As if you only have the choices of a European tax system or adopt the Reagan trickle-down model…please…

After refusing to endorse President Bush’s tax cuts when he was governor, Mitt Romney has now made them a central part of his presidential campaign, stirring accusations that he is changing his position to appeal to GOP primary voters.

In 2003, Romney stunned a roomful of Bay State congressmen by telling them that he would not publicly support Bush’s tax cuts, which at the time formed the centerpiece of the president’s domestic agenda. He even said he was open to a federal gas tax hike.

“For a Republican governor, I thought it was interesting,� U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) said. “I don’t prejudge people, so I thought he might have the courage of his convictions, but I guess I was wrong.�

In a key policy speech in Detroit yesterday, Romney said it is “absolutely critical� to renew President Bush’s tax cuts, set to expire in 2010, to help spur economic growth. It is a stance he has repeated in recent days.

“Which course is better for America?� Romney said. “A European model of high taxes and regulations? Or, low taxes and free trade: the Ronald Reagan model? Some are already fighting to implement a massive tax increase. Instead, we should make the tax cuts permanent.�

My respect for Romney just dropped a few pegs. And it’s not for the flip-flop. I can understand somebody reconsidering fiscal policy. But the intellectually dishonest proposition on economic policy is just tired rhetoric. Oh well…

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