Although MSM questioners at tonight's GOP debate undoubtedly will want to keep the focus on such important issues as contraception and Satan, we'd do better to learn more about two tax plans that were put on the table today–one from Mitt Romney and one from the man who holds the job Romney wants.

Which of the plans is instituted will have a profound impact on our economy. Not to in any way denigrate the importance of Satan, but in the current context, we could benefit far more tonight from an airing of how these two tax plans would work.

President Obama is asking today that the corporate tax be brought down from 35 to 28 percent and loopholes eliminated. This looks like very good news at first glance.

The U.S. has arguably the highest corporate tax in the world and reform would likely help get our economy unstuck and going again. The American Enterprise Institute's  Aparna Mathur also explains in this fascinating piece how taxing the rich, including rich corporations, harms the middle class.

Unfortunately, the president’s plan is less than meets the eye. Cato’s Dan Mitchell describes it as a plan that “rearranges the deck chairs on the Titanic.” An important part of the puzzle, says Mitchell, is how the government defines taxable income.

Mitchell says that the new plan is a step in the right direction but adds:

The bad news is that he exacerbates the tax burden on new investment and increases the second layer of taxation imposed on American companies competing for market share overseas.

In other words, to paraphrase the Bible, the President giveth and the President taketh away.

Veronique de Rugy of Marcatus calls the president’s plan “half-baked corporate-tax reform.” De Rugy finds the president’s proposals for corporations doing business abroad inadequate.  

Since the U.S. has such a high corporate tax rate, she notes, the reduction to 28 percent only moves the U.S. from having the highest corporate tax to having the fourth highest among the OECD nations.

Mitt Romney’s new tax plan would provide, according to economics guru Glenn Hubbard “a marginal rate cut for every American.” The gist from the New York Times:

Romney’s top economic adviser, Glenn Hubbard, said the plan would cut all six current tax brackets – 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, 35 percent, depending on a taxpayer’s income – by the same proportion of 20 percent. That would produce this new set of tax brackets: 8 percent, 12 percent, 20 percent, 22.4 percent, 26.4 percent, and 28 percent.

Unlike President Obama, Romney sees prosperity as the way to generate tax revenue. The Romney campaign says:

Government cannot continue to increase irresponsibly the size of annual deficits. Stronger economic growth and reductions in spending will help to ensure that these tax cuts do not expand deficits.  In addition, higher-income Americans in particular will see limits placed on deductions, exemptions, and credits that are currently available. The result will be a pro-growth tax code that still raises the necessary revenue, retains the existing progressivity, and ensures that middle-income Americans see real tax relief. 

Kevin Williamson is critical:

The centerpiece of Romney’s income-tax plan is to 1.) reduce marginal tax rates by 20 percent across the board (not by 20 percentage points) but 2.) offset that lost revenue by limiting deductions and exemptions, except that 3.) such limitations will be imposed only on “high-income folks.” Which is to say, Romney proposes to create a two-tier tax system (not unlike the one President Obama favors) that “cuts taxes” on everybody except the people who pay most of the taxes….

Romney plans to cut the taxes of the middle class and make up the difference by raising taxes on the rich, making that lopsided system even more lopsided, and he even embraced the odious Occupy Wall Street “1 percent” language in selling the plan. To what possible end?

Although Romney's corporate tax cut is only three points away from the president's (Romney would make it 25 percent), unlike the president, Romney would go to a territorial system which would greatly help U.S. companies and bring the U.S. into line with most of the other OECD countries.

Romney would abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax—a strong contrast to President Obama’s so-called Buffett Rule, which targets the richest Americans, as the AMT originally was to do, but could, as the AMT did, expand to take in people who aren’t as rich.

Romney's plan lacks details on how he would reform Social Security and Medicare, and, as they say, the Devil is in the details.

Let's just hope he doesn't get more attention tonight than taxation and prosperity. 

  Hat tip: Katrina Trinko