Mitt Romney’s ostensible support for a Value-Added Tax and Co-Insurance have drawn criticism from Newt Gingrich’s campaign, which has taken to calling Romney a “Massachusetts moderate” and now says Romney has looked at “European Socialist ideas.”
Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said that the Romney ruminations were part and parcel of the case Newt Gingrich will be making to voters this week: that he represents conservative values, while Romney is a “Massachusetts moderate,” according to ABC News.
“The fact that he’s willing to look at European Socialism shows just how far out of the conservative mainstream he is,” Hammond said.
In a December 24 story in the Wall Street Journal, Romney is described not favoring the idea of “layering a VAT onto the current income tax system. But he adds that, philosophically speaking, a VAT might work as a replacement for some part of the tax code, ‘particularly at the corporate level,’ as Paul Ryan proposed several years ago. What he doesn’t do is rule a VAT out.”
A value added tax, or VAT, is a form of the consumption tax in which the tax is levied based on a product’s price, not including the cost of materials, that originated in and is popular in Europe, imposed by the European Commission, and the governments of France and the UK, among others.
The American Enterprise Institution wrote that “(m)any conservatives/libertarians simply hate, hate, hate the idea of a VAT….They view it as a way to fund a massive expansion of government. I would be surprised if those quotes don’t end up in a 30-second, anti-Romney ad in Iowa or New Hampshire,” ABC reported.
And anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist once called the VAT “a European-style sales tax. It’s assessed on the profits generated at every stage of production (raw material, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, etc.), so there is constant reporting and payment. As such, it’s an extremely efficient money machine for big government. The VAT is embedded inside the price of a good … As such, people forget they pay it, and European governments have found it too easy to raise the tax repeatedly over time.”