Let’s cleanse our minds of Trumpian genitalia and elevate the political discourse a bit by talking actual policy, shall we?
More specifically, let’s take a look at the tax proposal recently released by the Hillary Clinton campaign, as analyzed by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Foundation.
The plan begins to put Clinton’s campaign rhetoric into actual form. For example, it eliminates the ridiculous “carried interest” loophole that allows hedge-fund operators to pay half as much in taxes on their income as they anybody else would pay for earned income. It would also change the laws to discourage the “foreign inversion” tax dodge that allows major U.S. companies to claim that they have been taken over by a much smaller foreign company, and thus escape U.S. taxes based on little more than corporate fiction.
Capital gains on investments held less than two years would be taxed as ordinary income, on the grounds that such short-term investments are more speculation than actual economy-building investment. The Clinton plan would impose a 4 percent surcharge on adjusted gross income over $5 million, and impose a minimum tax of 30 percent on incomes of more than $1 million, to ensure that the Mitt Romneys and Donald Trumps aren’t paying a lower overall tax rate than their secretaries and chauffeurs.
The TPI estimates that in total, the Clinton tax plan would reduce the debt by $1.2 trillion over the next decade, and by additional $2.1 trillion from 2026-2035. Its report states:
“Overall, from 2016 to 2036, Clinton’s tax proposals — not counting the effect of new spending initiatives, additional tax changes, or any macroeconomic feedback effects — would decrease the federal debt by $4.3 trillion, or 10 percent of GDP in 2036 … Clinton’s proposals would increase taxes on the highest-income filers and have little effect on those with less than about $300,000 in income. Overall, filers in the top quintile would bear 94 percent of the net tax increase. More than half of the tax increase would fall on the highest-income 0.1 percent of filers and more than three-fourths would hit the top 1 percent.”
As it happens, the TPI has also analyzed the tax plans offered by Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and the comparison is instructive. Clinton targets the very wealthy for additional contributions to the country that has made their wealth possible, while all three Republicans propose major tax cuts targeted at those very same people.
Not surprisingly, massive tax cuts targeted at the already wealthy would have a very different impact on our national debt than would the Clinton plan:
So: Who’s the most fiscally responsible candidate of the four?