[See below for excerpts or click here for the full story]
Boston Globe // Scot Lehigh
[The Bush and Trump tax plans] truly are deja vu all over again. That is, tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit top earners while swelling the federal deficit.
It’s as though Bush and Trump are determined to do George W. Bush one better. Under George W., for example, the top income tax rate was cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, though it has since reverted to the higher level.
Brother Jeb wants a top rate of just 28 percent, Trump one of only 25 percent. Both Republican hopefuls would also eliminate the estate tax and repeal the alternative minimum tax, designed to keep better-off taxpayers from avoiding any income-tax payment.
… Given the nature of our current economic and fiscal problems, it’s not necessary to cut top rates at all.
… Second, the big tax cuts would balloon the deficit, which, at least for now, is at a manageable percentage of Gross Domestic Product. Initial estimates are that Trump’s plan would cost the federal treasury around $1 trillion annually, a worrisome reduction considering that total current federal revenues run about $3.5 trillion a year.
… Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal nonprofit, estimates the yearly cost of Bush’s individual income tax provisions alone at about $225 billion. Add in corporate tax cuts and the estate tax elimination, and that cost more than doubles.
The experience over the past decade should give us a good idea of what would happen if either plan passed and the deficit exploded. Republicans would insist the fiscal hole could be addressed only on the spending side, which means the lost revenue would become a lever conservatives would use to try to force deep budget cuts.
We’ve been down this path before.