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Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
An Analysis of the Proposals of the Republican Candidates for President
Following are the proposals and views of the Donald Trump. Sen Cruz, Sen. Rubio, and Gov. Kasich and my comments on their proposals:
Donald Trump, a businessman and graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, makes the following proposals. Trump
Ted Cruz, a lawyer, graduate of Princeton University, received a law degree from Harvard University makes the following proposals:
Gov. Kasich earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from The Ohio State University in 1974. He proposes:
Sen. Marco Rubio earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Florida and a law degree from the University of Miami. He proposes:
The foregoing is, as far as we have been able to determine, the current positions of the four candidates. Trump has clearly made a series of original proposals which have been castigated unjustifiably as racist, etc. Clearly they are not considered politically correct. Cruz’s proposal to abolish the Internal Revenue Service and the progressive personal income tax, and enactment of the Flat Tax with a single tax rates is not a conservative position, it is a reactionary one. Pres. Lincoln, a Republican President, created the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay Civil War expenses. The current income tax was passed in1913, more than a hundred years ago. Congress levied a 1 percent tax on net personal incomes above $3,000 with a 6 percent surtax on incomes of more than $500,000.In 1918, during World War I, the top rate of the income tax rose to 77 percent to help finance the war effort. It dropped to 24 percent in 1929, and rose again during the Depression. Currently the maximum rate is 39.6% and the richest 24% of taxpayers pay 86% of the personal income taxes collected. Indeed, the bottom half of income earners pay no income tax at all and many receive an earned income tax credit from the IRS. Under the Cruz Flat Tax, the top 24% would pay at most 28% and the bottom fifty percent would pay about 20%. Those households with incomes below $10,000 per year would pay no tax at all but under the current law, those with incomes below $30,000 pay no tax at all and most receive a tax credit, payments from the IRS. It is hard to imagine a more reactionary proposal. One of us has a law degree as well as a Ph. D. in Economics. Nothing would induce us to vote for any of the candidates who are lawyers. They appear to be woefully ignorant of economics. The only candidate who has studied economics appears to be Donald Trump. And while we do not agree with his tax proposals because we have our own much better ideas, at least the knows the economic consequences of what he is proposing. None of the others appears close to having his economic understanding.
In the 1950s, the IRS was reorganized and the patronage system replaced with a non-political career system, a conservative idea. Only the IRS commissioner and chief counsel are selected by the president. The Obama Administration abused the internal revenue system. A new President can easily restore the credibility of the IRS by his appointment of a new commissioners. Cruz’s proposal to abolish the Internal Revenue Service has no merit whatsoever.
As for the corporate income tax, Cruz proposes replacing it with a 16% value-added tax, a sales tax, a regressive tax that will fall on all consumers, including low-income consumers. . A more reactionary proposal is hard to imagine. The Ideal Taxes Association has been arguing for the elimination of the corporate income tax and taxing corporate earnings under the personal income tax, which is the treatment given partnership income. It would not only yield more revenue than the corporate income tax but eliminate the defects of the corporate income tax, which discriminates against low and middle class owners of corporate stock, pension funds, and IRAs.
Cruz and Rubio both propose to eliminate the estate tax which in its present form dates back to 1916. The current estate tax has an exemption of $5 million and a rate of 40 percent. Coupled with the gift tax it is the only tax that prevents the accumulation of vast wealth from one generation to the next.
Crux and Kasich propose a constitutional amendment mandating a balance budget. In other words, Congress cannot be relied upon to balance the fiscal budget even though it has the power to do so. Trump, Crux and Rubio favor elimination of the “common core” mandate, imposed by the Department of Education. A few years ago, conservatives proposed eliminating the Department of Education. Present day “conservatives” don’t have the courage any longer to do so. Nor do they have the courage to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development, even though under the Constitution cities and towns are creatures of the States. Reactionary positions are an inducement for ordinary people to vote Democratic. Democratic policies are what brought this great nation into its moral and economic decline.
While many self-described conservatives say they will not support Donald Trump because they do not consider him to be a conservative, Republicans, a majority of whom describe themselves as conservative, have controlled the federal government’s purse-strings for the past six years and have little to show for it. Their only accomplishment was a 5% across-the-board cut in federal expenditures that cut good programs and worthless programs equally with the cut in the military budget and some other programs being restored. Recently, House Speaker Paul Ryan capitulated to the President’s threat of a veto and gave him a budget larger than 2015. That is one reason why so many Republicans are disgusted with the leaders of the party and are backing an outsider like Trump.
Comment by Bruce Bishop, 3/21/2016:
Obama has learned that he can respond to any "cuts" by Republicans by "shutting down the government." Thanks to a compliant Mainstream Media, he will blame that shutdown on the Republicans. His "shutdown" will be calculated to cause the most pain to innocent people -- school children will not be allowed to tour the White House; veterans will not be allowed to visit Arlington; soldiers will not get their pay, and senior citizens will not get their social security checks.
The Republicans are too weak, and too stupid, to fight back, so they let Obama (or Clinton) win. Trump will change the game. He might lack political savvy, but he has common sense, and he is a fighter.
Journal of Economic Literature:
Atlantic Economic Journal: