During the primary Jeb Bush campaigned as a wonk who could battle Hillary Clinton on policy. Accordingly his website was full to the brim with white papers that would make the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation smile. Chief among them were his tax plan which he claimed over and over again would usher in “4% growth”. When it came time for Donald Trump to unveil his tax plan, he literally stole Jeb Bush’s plan, but dropped the corporate tax rates 5% lower.
For the record Jeb Bush’s plan proposed a corporate tax rate of 20%, down from the current 35%. Donald Trump pushed the bar that much lower when he unveiled his tax plan, which called for a 15% corporate tax rate. There’s an argument to be made for lower corporate tax rates and Jeb Bush made that argument. He genuinely believed lowering corporate tax rates would allow companies to bring their money back into the country from tax havens. Meaning the lower tax rates would be offset by new money flowing into the economy and spending cuts the Jeb Bush plan also proposed.
Donald Trump has pledged not to cut medicare or social security. Which would make dropping corporate tax rates to 15% a much riskier proposition. By some estimates doing so could cost the United States up to a trillion dollars in the next ten years. Especially if tax cuts are not met with some equal cut in spending, or at least something close. As of late the Trump administration does not seem interested in any meaningful spending cut. At least compared to his proposed tax cuts and spending hikes.
Trump’s tax cut alone could cost the United States up to a trillion dollars if it isn’t offset. Trump’s pledged new $50+ billion in military spending could cost another half trillion if extended over the same period of time. Although the Trump administration attempted to offset that spending hike by cutting programs at the State Department, Department of Education, and EPA among others, it’s still not going to be enough.
Donald Trump has yet to unveil his infrastructure bill, but he repeatedly pledged another trillion dollars in new spending there as well. Even if Trump billed his plan as “revenue neutral” by prioritizing projects that would generate private income, that doesn’t change the fact that the first stage of that plan would cost hundreds of billions of dollars at best and over a trillion at worst. Plus, any revenue would be flowing into private pockets which means his pledge to keep it revenue neutral is essentially meaningless.
One policy which was revenue neutral was Obama’s affordable care act, but that is slated to be replaced by a bill which is essentially yet another high income tax cut. Once again, offset by absolutely nothing. In fact the Republican backed health care bill, or ACHA, is literally a Paul Ryan dreamboat that takes healthcare from the poorest and most sick in order to fund a tax cut for the wealthiest among us. Again, not balanced by anything on the other side, no new revenue, nothing. Just millions of people potentially without healthcare and millions more dollars for millionaires and billionaires.
Republican’s do not care about debt. They don’t care about deficit spending. They never have and they never will. But they will always pretend. Whether it’s massive military spending and unbalanced cuts from Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, or Donald Trump. Republicans do not care, as long as they can cut away the social safety net while they rack up debt, it’s all good.
That’s how it worked when Reagan busted unions and destroyed American mental health care, while eviscerating American tax income. That’s how it worked when George Bush cut taxes and started two wars. And that’s how it’s going to work while Trump cuts taxes, and probably everything else.