Things you should know when Rubio talks economics in tonight’s debate

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If you set aside Donald Trump and Ben Carson — and I hope that Republican voters do exactly that once they come to their senses — then Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is at the moment the most likely GOP nominee. So as an introduction to tonight’s GOP debate on Fox Business Network, I thought I’d take a closer look at the details of his economic and budget plan.

Surprise! It involves tax cuts. Big big tax cuts. Here it is in more detail:

— Everybody gets a tax cut!! Poor people, middle-class people, rich people. Mo’ money for everyone!

— Everybody gets a tax cut!!, but defense spending would increase significantly. Yes, that would goose the deficit significantly, but we’ll get to that later in this piece.

— Everybody gets a tax cut!!, including rich dead people. The estate tax would be eliminated. (It is imposed only on estates above $5.4 million in value, or $10.4 million for a couple, so for most Americans that would mean nothing.)

— Everybody gets a tax cut!!, especially investors, because the capital gains tax would be reduced to zero. So if you make $80,000 a year at your job, you would still pay significant income taxes while your brother-in-law who collects $800,000 a year from a trust fund would pay zero in income taxes. Because he’s a maker and you’re a taker, I guess.

— Everyone gets a tax cut!!, and as a consequence, the federal debt is projected to skyrocket by $11.3 trillion in the next decade, according to an analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice. That’s over and above the $8 trillion increase already projected by the Congressional Budget Office. (The conservative Tax Foundation pegs the additional debt impact of the Rubio plan at a still hefty $4.4 trillion).

— Everyone gets a tax cut!!, but according to the CTJ analysis, the highest earning 1 percent will enjoy 34 percent of the tax-cut benefits.

— Everyone gets a tax cut!!, but even under the conservative Tax Foundation analysis, those in the top 1 percent would see an 11.5 percent increase in after-tax income. For comparison’s sake, those in the middle class — households with incomes of roughly $40,000 to $90,000 — would on average see an after-tax income increase of 1.57 percent.  When calculated in real dollars, as the CTJ does, the imbalance is even larger.  Households with an income of $50,000 would get a tax break of $2,859. The top 1 percent — with an average income of $1.7 million — would see a benefit of $223,783,¹ or roughly 78 times as much as the middle-income household. It’s no wonder that the billionaires are rallying around Rubio.

— While everyone gets a tax cut!!, because apparently we can afford it, here’s what we can’t afford any longer: programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, ObamaCare, Medicare, student loans and food stamps. As Rubio told Maria Bartiroma over the weekend, “We have to also do entitlement reform. We have to reform Medicare and Social Security. That is the long-term driver of our debt.”

And by “entitlement reform” to reduce the debt, he means significant cuts in spending and benefits. It’s a pleasant-sounding euphemism for efforts to slash hundreds of billions from those programs.

But here’s the thing that really gets me. In his interview with Bartiroma, as in his previous debate performances, Rubio spoke with apparent sincerity about the struggles of working-class and middle-class Americans:

“In America we tell people, it doesn’t matter where you started out or what your parents did for a living, if you work hard and you persevere, you can get ahead and improve your life. And that’s what I fear we’re losing. That perhaps is the most important issue we confront economically in this country is that more and more people are starting to believe that that, that upward mobility, what we call the American dream, is not going to be possible for them. And if we lose that, we stop being a special country.”

I’m sure he’ll make a similar statement tonight. Yet faced with an admittedly new and frightening economic circumstance, Rubio proposes an exaggerated version of the very same placebos the GOP has advocated for at least the past half-century. It’s the same tax-cut-based program implemented by President George W. Bush to such astounding success that when he left office, we had fewer Americans working in private industry than when he was inaugurated eight years earlier.

I just don’t get it.

——-

¹Put another way, the average tax savings for the richest 1 percent under the Rubio plan would be more than the total income for some 95 percent of American households.

Reader Comments 0

409 comments
Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

SHEETZ in case anyone's hangin' round here...

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

"I'm not a scientist"

(that's one thing that didn't need to be clafified)

"The world needs fewer philosophers."

really?...

These are not mindsets or people that I want leading ANYTHING of mine.

The only thing that Walking Dead clown show told me was - it's 363 days until the 1st woman president.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Just as I suspected...enter an article late, and the AJC ends up a dollar short.

It's obvious the AJC and their IT department didn't think this paywall thing through.

Oh well... 

Peachs
Peachs

I wish they would put the economist or lack of on stage for each candidate and pull some real economist from the private sector and have a debate on this stuff.  It may put 90% of the tea beggars to bed who never read the contract the sign but since these guys are reading idiot cards from the advisers I would like to hear from they guys who intellectually have to own this junk. 

M H Smith
M H Smith

Well Jay, now that you put it that way you could have at least said if you want Hillary or Bernie? 

Peachs
Peachs

@M H Smith the right never defends itself with ideas they are being attacked all the time and that is as deep as they go in explanation of why they should be president. Their intellectual research couldn't fill a 2 inch bucket. 

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

poor Rubio. He won't even be a light snack for mama python. She'll need supplements

Peachs
Peachs

@gotalife I loved when the moderator when asking a question mistakenly read the question saying Hillary with no last name and had to correct himself.  The brand is so strong and that is a lot of this election, that is why Trump is leading, and in the end that will put Hillary in the White House. 

gotalife
gotalife

It was about failed ideology.

gotalife
gotalife

We get it rubio,


The gop killed the American dream.


td1234
td1234

Marco is attempting to sell that he is not part of the establishment. 

gotalife
gotalife

trump and carson got screwed.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

It looks like they want Trump & Ramses...er Carson to just stand there, and maybe not summon an alien space ship or something.

gotalife
gotalife

Imagine a Clinton Presidency.


OK ,  I will vote for that.

td1234
td1234

@gotalife A real debate about economic issues in the country not about free give away. 

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

@gotalife Yep - they got what they wanted - no tough questions, and it's a bore....

gotalife
gotalife

cruz is right, pee in a cup pols.

gotalife
gotalife

Good question about Hillary's experience,

td1234
td1234

@gotalife This election is about the future not the failures of the past. No Hillary. 

gotalife
gotalife

They need to ask trump something.

gotalife
gotalife

cruz scores on not bailing out banks.

gotalife
gotalife

bush blew it.


Don't bailout the banks again.


Hillary is right.


Leverage from another collapse.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

There are reports of black students getting death threats on Missouri's campus


BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Posters continue to show their true colors I see.

JKLtwo
JKLtwo

@BuckeyeGa Probably from other blacks.  Is Jesse going to swoop in to try and get another paycheck after he got booed out of Ferguson? 

td1234
td1234

Trump is 100% right about having trade deals that do not have plans for currency manipulation in them is just plain stupid. 

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

It was great to hear Cruz talk about cutting corporate welfare. The sugar subsidy is a perfect example. The average U.S. consumer gets hit with a hidden tax because of subsidies to sugar farmers, dairy, wheat, corn and other agri corporate farms. 


There are 2 types of capitalists. Political capitalists who make their coin via crony crapitalism like sugar subsidies. And true capitalists who make their coin by providing the masses with great products at a great price. 


We can do without the political entrepreneurs like Solyndra and the sugar industry. 

td1234
td1234

Cruz supports the Penny plan. Best plan to be proposed to balance the budget in the past 30 years. 

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"Cruz: Cut programs, cut taxes, cut, cut, cut. What a mind!"

Worried about your EBT getting cut ME?