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It’s no secret that Mitt Romney championed a socialized medicine plan while governor of Massachusetts – a plan that in addition to mandating the purchase of health insurance cost the Bay State nearly 20,000 jobs and sent insurance costs soaring.

Remember that?

Inexplicably, many Republicans who rail repeatedly (and rightly) against the evils of U.S. President Barack Obama’s own socialized medicine plan have forgotten all about Romneycare … or decided they are willing to overlook it.

Not us … in our opinion, “Romneycare” automatically disqualifies Mitt Romney from becoming the GOP presidential nominee For starters, this is just one of many ideological reversals he’s made in an effort to make himself more appetizing to GOP primary voters. More importantly, though, Romney still refuses to admit that his views on health care have been inconsistent – or that his plan in Massachusetts has been a colossal failure.

Had he made one or both of those acknowledgments … we might have been willing to give his candidacy another look. Of course it probably would have been a very, very short look.

Why? Well, “Romneycare” fell under the broader umbrella of “Romneynomics” – which as we’ve previously noted included the same sort of command economic boondoggling that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is famous for supporting.

What else did Romney’s plan include? A massive tax hike on Massachusetts businesses.

In Saturday’s editions of The New York Times, Romney’s tax policy is laid bare …

“The Romney administration relentlessly scoured the tax code for more loopholes, extracting hundreds of millions of corporate dollars to help close budget gaps in a state with a struggling economy,” the Times report notes. “It was only after Mr. Romney was gearing up in 2005 for a possible White House bid that he backed away from some of his most assertive tax enforcement proposals amid intensifying complaints from local companies and conservative antitax groups in Washington.”

The Times report details how Romney – who campaigned on a promise not to raise taxes – went after corporate tax loopholes to suck hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Massachusetts economy.

Of course the result of all those “loophole closings” was predictable – Massachusetts lagged behind the rest of the nation in creating jobs during his tenure as governor.

There’s a two-fold lesson here …

First, “Romneynomics” was more than just a socialized medicine plan – it was a broader big government assault on the free market which failed to accomplish anything except facilitating the growth of state government (which added nearly 3,000 workers under Romney’s watch).

More importantly, though, the lesson is one of convenient political phraseology – i.e. Romney’s effort to call an estimated $370 million tax increase something more palatable to voters.

Here at FITS, we have a simple policy – any “revenue enhancement” (be it a new fine, fee or “loophole-closing”) is a tax increase. No exceptions.

If you’re taking more money out of the economy, you’re raising taxes on somebody, somewhere. And we don’t care whether candidates like Romney, Perry (or Jon Huntsman, for that matter) try to affix the “revenue neutral” label to their economic plans – it doesn’t change the fact that they’re perpetuating a culture of government growth that needs to be thrown in reverse.

As we noted in debunking Huntsman’s economic plan, the doctrine of revenue neutrality “ignores the fact that the federal budget (like the federal government it funds) has assumed obscenely-large dimensions in recent years and is decades overdue for a draconian downsizing. It also ignores the fact that the long-term key to reducing America’s deficit is a vibrant and prosperous economy – one which can only be achieved by broad-based tax relief that stimulates job growth and expanded private sector investment (thus reducing the number of people reliant on government aid).”

In fact, here in South Carolina, taxpayers should know better than most that “revenue neutral” plans are nothing but government growth schemes designed to fool voters into thinking that their tax obligation isn’t going to expand.

Don’t believe us? Look at what happened with Act 388 …

At the federal, state and local level, taxpayers who want this nation to reclaim its economic potential should pledge to support only those candidates willing to cut taxes – not raise or “swap” them. They should also pledge to support only those candidates who favor market-based solutions – not government mandates.

On both counts, Mitt Romney simply doesn’t pass muster.

Pic: via Daylife