A few days back Tom Ashbrook focused his program on the competing tax plans of the major Republican and Democratic candidates for President (or at least the ones who are still standing).
What’s clear is that the differences between the candidates is extremely stark. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation:
- Ted Cruz is reviving the flat tax idea and eliminate the estate tax.
- Donald Trump also wants to eliminate the estate tax and to have four tax brackets of 0%, 10%, 20% and 25%.
- Hillary Clinton adds a 4% surtax on income over $5 million and engineers a complex formula to assure that the wealthiest at least pay some minimum of taxation.
- Bernie Sanders establishes four tax brackets of 37%, 43%, 48%, and 52% and adds a 2.2% premium to pay for health care.
- John Kasich, no one cares because he’s not going to be President.
Both the Cruz and Trump plans would massively redistribute income to the wealthy under a reincarnation of the “Trickle Down” theory, a theory so discredited at even its chief architect, former Reagan Administration Budget Director David Stockman has disowned it. It’s been tried in recent years in Kansas and Louisana, and is just devastating the economies of both states. Something that somebody should really have asked the Republican candidates about in one of their innumerable debates.
Bernie Sanders does want to raise our taxes. A lot. Even those of the middle class. So we need to be honest about that, those of us who have been supporting him. He wants to redistribute some income back down the slope. What he would give us in return is free health care and free college education. It’s the Scandinavian bargain. To pay for the free health care, he slaps a 2.2% “premium” insurance on our taxes to pay for health insurance “premiums.” This is part of his plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with a single player plan.
In any case, not enough attention has been paid to the tax plans of the major candidates. The “On Point” piece is long – about 45 minutes if you listen to the whole thing (although the first 15 minutes will give you a pretty good idea) – and very informative about what the various candidates really are proposing.
 Warren Buffet famously said that it was wrong that he was paying a lower effective tax rate than his own secretaries.