The past year will forever be remembered as the year Donald Trump took over the Republican Party. His ubiquitous media presence and position atop the polls have put him in the driver’s seat of the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Conventional wisdom among the Republican establishment holds that the Trump balloon will pop; that despite their promises to support whoever wins the nomination, no one will actually have to hold their nose and vote for The Donald. This fantasy may explain their reluctance to stand up to his racist and hateful rhetoric, but only partially. The unsettling reality is that Trump’s platform and that of Republican Party are one and the same. Whether presented from the youthful veneer of Marco Rubio, the cowboy boot-clad Ted Cruz, or in the bumbling words of Jeb Bush – on issue after issue, the GOP is a mirror image of Trump’s vision.
Yesterday, we highlighted how the party is taking Trump’s lead on Islamophobia. Today, we look at taxes.
Trump’s tax plan would drop the income tax rate for the wealthiest Americans to its lowest level since 1931. He would cut corporate, business income, and capital gains tax rates, while eliminating the estate tax – reforms that disproportionately aid the rich. Ultimately, these massive giveaways for the wealthy would add up to $10 trillion in lost government revenue.
But if that sounds like an extreme proposal, it’s par for the course among Republican candidates for president. Just like Trump, their tax plans would tilt the playing field towards the rich. Just like Trump, their proposed reforms are aimed at padding the pockets of Wall Street and the wealthy. And just like Trump, they each blow a hole in the federal budget through enormous, unpaid-for tax breaks.
This is the year Trump took over:
- Marco Rubio’s tax plan would gift “the top 1 percent…tax cuts more than 103 times larger than the poorest 20 percent.” And totally eliminating taxes on investment income – Rubio’s biggest gift to the wealthy – is a huge giveaway for his Wall Street “megadonors” like Paul Singer, but does nothing for working families. Rubio’s proposal would also cost $11 trillion – three times the size of the Bush tax cuts – and would dramatically grow the budget deficit.
- Despite Jeb Bush’s claims of a “populist” approach, Jeb’s own plan would similarly use big cuts to capital gains taxes to benefit the wealthy few over the middle class. The increases in after tax-income would go to the top 1% – Jeb himself would receive a $800,000 after-tax boost. But it would increase the federal debt $8.1 trillion over 10 years. And to his dubious credit, he hasn’t tried to spin it, affirming: That’s “just the way it is.”
- Ted Cruz’s extremely regressive flat-tax proposal would require that middle-class income earners pay a greater percentage of their income than they do at present, but be a huge boon for his billionaire donors – increasing the the wealthiest’s after-tax income by 29.6%. Of course, Cruz’s plan would do all this through lost federal revenue.
- Ben Carson has a flat tax proposal of his own. It is based on the religious practice of tithing, but would ironically end up being terrible for the middle-class and working families, while helping those already well-off. To off-set the lost revenue in Carson’s plan, while balancing the federal budget (also a Carson proposal), the government would be forced into a “72 percent reduction in federal spending, basically the equivalent of eliminating Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and the entire military.”
Published: Dec 29, 2015