Ramesh, in today's NYT:
What Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani — who have made the most detailed remarks on taxes of the top-tier candidates — are really saying is that they will make sure that taxes on capital gains, dividends, estates and high earners will stay low. Not many middle-class taxpayers will benefit directly from any of those policies.
... Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani speak vaguely about making sure the alternative minimum tax doesn’t affect any more middle-class families. That is a step in the right direction. But it isn’t a tax cut.
Mr. Romney has also proposed an initiative to make the return on middle-class savings tax-free. It may also be a step in the right direction, but it’s small change. The primary focus of the Romney and Giuliani tax plans remains high earners.
What would be a serious middle-class tax cut? One answer is to expand the tax credit for children. But none of the candidates is proposing to do so, or any other big tax relief for regular folks. You might think that Mr. Giuliani would want to do everything he can to appeal to social conservatives short of actually becoming one himself. But why should he offer a pro-family tax cut when even the hard-core social conservatives in the race aren’t interested? Mike Huckabee wants a national sales tax and Sam Brownback wants a flat tax. Either proposal would increase taxes on a lot of middle-class families.
The Republicans in Congress are no better. For much of the right, the great passion of the moment is to make sure that the carried interest at hedge funds is taxed at what look an awful lot like preferential rates. For years, liberals have said that Republicans talk about “family values” but won’t do anything to meet the economic needs of families. Right now, on taxes, that charge hits home.
Read the whole thing. I would only add that while smart liberals may not think much of Barack Obama's tax plan, it seems likely to have a lot more mass-market appeal than anything the GOP candidates are proposing.
Update: Reihan adds his two cents here.