That's Jonathan Bernstein's simple, straightforward and indisputably accurate formula for Romney's "new" tax plan, which cruelly demonstrates the cretinous politics of unforgiving math. The formula is indeed accurate, but it doesn't add up.
Romney cannot leave the rich fiscally unmolested (0) while "remov[ing] the burden somewhat from middle income people"--thus [+(-X)]--as he promised at last week's debate, and then emerge on the other side with revenue neutrality--another (0). That is simply, straightforwardly, indisputably impossible.
The second zero must be a negative number. There's a common word for this: deficit. Yet Romney swears he'll thwart additional deficits at all costs--which means, inescapably, the erasure of his entire tax plan. So what Romney's proposing is this: nothing.
Unless of course he's sorta fibbing about his zero tolerance for new deficits and would in reality slash yet more government revenue to arrive, at some still nebulous date, at pseudoconservatism's ritualistic Holy Grail: the fatal garroting of the modern welfare state--all of it as we know it, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps ... all of it.