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Candidates' Tax Plans May Sound Good, but They're Unsound

Cash-strapped consumers are tapped out and hurting. Attempting to ride to their rescue are presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The candidates introduced ambitious tax-cutting plans in the last week aimed at easing the burden on the consumer.

The plans differ radically. Obama, a Democrat, presents a tax cut, while Romney, a Republican, takes it even further -- no taxes at all in some cases. Their plans offer some relief, but they don't make fiscal sense at a time of budget deficits and an increasing national debt.

Obama has announced a tax cut of about $85 billion. The Illinois senator's plan favors working Americans, homeowners and low-income seniors. He offers a tax cut of $500 per working person and a new mortgage credit aimed at low- and middle-income homeowners. Seniors with yearly incomes of less than $50,000 would pay no taxes.

Obama also wants to reduce tax filing time. He aims to simplify forms so that they can be completed in five minutes or less. It all sounds great. But how will Obama pay for it? He makes several sweeping statements at the end of his plan but doesn't give specific numbers:

"In addition to closing the corporate loopholes and cracking down on international tax havens, he will pay for middle class tax relief by ... increasing the highest bracket for capital gains and dividends and closing the carried interest loophole."
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