Not Just Trump: Every GOP Candidate Is an Extremist
In the race to Stop Trump, virtually every Republican candidate has been held up as a potential beacon of moderation in comparison to the Donald. If Rubio can’t play the role, perhaps Kasich can? If no one knows who Kasich is, well, at least Cruz isn’t quite as extreme as Trump?
And while Trump has been called out as radical on his views about Mexicans and Muslims, when it comes to economics he’s mostly been taken at face value. When he said his tax plan would make “hedge-fund guys” pay up while reducing taxes for the middle class, mainstream news reports heralded the plan as “populist.”
But when you dig into the numbers the remaining Republican candidates have proffered in their economic proposals, none of them can hold the title of moderate or populist. Every single one is an extremist. All have put forward relatively detailed plans, and while they all have their quirks, the numbers are strikingly similar — and substantial.
Every single candidate gives a huge gift to the wealthy and a meager one to the less fortunate. Trump doesn’t go after the “hedge-fund guys” all that hard, it turns out. Nearly 40 percent of the benefits of his tax package would flow to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans; on the other hand, those in the middle and two bottom-fifths of the income scale would get about 16 percent. The raw dollar amounts are equally eye-popping: Under President Trump, the poorest Americans would see about $200 in tax relief over a decade; the 0.1 percent, richest of the rich, would get more than $1.7 million.
Rubio, the son of a maid and a bartender (as he is wont to mention), looks pretty much the same as the guy who got a $1 million loan from his dad. He would hand more than 40 percent of the benefits of his tax relief to the richest 1 percent of Americans, leaving little for the middle and bottom. That works out to $232 for the poorest, and about $1.1 million for the richest 0.1 percent.
Trump did at least follow through on his promise to include in his plan raising the tax rate on capital gains, or money made from investments rather than through a salary — a means overwhelmingly enjoyed by the rich, although it would still be taxed lower than the highest income bracket. Rubio, though, floats an idea no other Republican has embraced: scrapping the tax on capital gains altogether. All those hedge-fund guys, and every other wealthy person with investments, would receive an enormous handout.
Cruz’s tax plan looks a little bit different for deploying what he calls a “business flat tax,” which is pretty similar to a European-style value-added tax. But the distribution still ends up skewing toward the rich. With all of his changes taken together, the 1 percent would get a 17 percent boost in their income right out the bat. The poorest, meanwhile, would be only 2.2 percent better off.
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