What JEB! Bush Wants to do to America


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Jeb! Bush put out a shell of a tax plan. What he wants to do is clear.

But before we delve into the details of this, consider one small signpost of Bush’s dishonesty on taxes — his plan includes a large tax cut that primarily benefits not the top 1 percent but the top 0.1 percent, and he just left it out of the initial media push entirely.

Specifically, his plan includes a cut in the top marginal tax rate for capital gains income from 23.8 percent to 20 percent. It also cuts the top marginal tax rate for dividend income by the same amount. And it cuts the top marginal tax rate for income derived from interest on bonds from 39.6 percent way down to 20 percent.

As the richest 0.1 percent of the population obtains almost half of the capital gains income in the country, these are shifts that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy few. And yet in a Tuesday evening Wall Street Journal op-ed laying out his tax plan, Bush simply failed to mention any changes to capital gains, dividend, or interest tax rates. Thus he generated a whole slew of day one stories that simply forgot to mention the most regressive part of the plan.

What’s that mean to you? I’ll save the details on the plan, which are at the link, and just give you this summary:

The plan, as currently released, is not sufficiently detailed to permit credible independent scoring. But even four economists handpicked by Bush’s team to analyze it say that under standard methods it would reduce federal revenue by about $3.4 trillion over its first 10 years. That’s trillion with a T. Which is to say that if you had a stack of a billion dollars, you would need to add 3,399 more billion-dollar stacks to equal the cost of this program.

To get a sense of the scale, consider the following big government liberal proposals:

Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? Especially if you don’t specify how you are going to pay for it. But it all adds up to only $3.1 trillion in new budgetary commitments. Read too quickly and the difference between $3.1 trillion and $3.4 trillion can seem like just a decimal point, but $300 billion is a lot of money, even spread across 10 years. So much that it would be enough to add in the $30 billion a year it would take to end hunger globally.

This is real money, dollar for dollar. Jeb’s revenue cuts could pay for all of that. He’d rather give it to very wealthy people. Now, if you want to believe that will do more for the world, that’s fine. You can. If you want to live in the real world, you realize we’ve tried this before under both his brother and Ronald Reagan. It failed.

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