Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 14.
With the number of GOP presidential candidates winnowed down to 11, Republican voters looking to make up their minds this primary season would do well to examine which candidates' plans are most advantageous to their taxes. After all, Americans have a tendency to vote with their wallets, and finding a politician who's going to lower the check you write to Uncle Sam is an attractive one.
By now, most candidates have given some idea of what they would do to the tax code if given free reign. Focusing on poll leaders Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, Roberton Williams, the Sol Price Fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, broke the tax proposals from this year’s candidates into two main categories.
“Group one is the folks that are saying, ‘O.K., we’ve got a basic income tax system. We’re going to stick with that, but we’re going to make some significant changes to it.’”
This includes candidates like Bush, Trump and Rubio. Their plans all use the current basic income tax system but with changes that dramatically alter and eliminate some sections of the code.
Group two would replace America’s income tax system with a consumption/value added tax or a flat-tax system that forms a hybrid with a value added tax. Putting Williams puts Cruz and Carson in this category.
It’s an interesting dynamic -- and certainly the calls for structural change have great political import -- but what will any of this mean come April 15, 2017? The first thing to know is that the Republican plans all have two overriding themes in common: tax cuts and lots of love for the rich.