4:04 PM, Apr 15, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
While Hillary Clinton was meeting with voters in Iowa on her second full day as a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio spent part of his discussing a tax policy white paper at a Washington think tank. The newly declared candidate joined with Utah Republican Mike Lee at the Heritage Foundation to talk about their proposal to reform the tax code, which has already become a point of contention in Rubio's nascent presidential campaign.
The plan Rubio and Lee have introduced would accomplish a few big things: simplifying the income tax code into two brackets at 15 percent and 35 percent; eliminating most deductions except those for mortgage interest and charitable contributions; consolidate business tax rates to one rate, 25 percent; and an increase to the child tax credit to $2,500 per child.
There are plenty lines of attack against the plan from the left, but the proposal has earned criticism from the right, as well. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, which largely shares the Florida Republican’s views on foreign policy and immigration, greeted Rubio’s entrance to the race with some skepticism. The paper's Tuesday editorial suggested the young Republican’s tax plan would be a departure from GOP standard-bearer Ronald Reagan.
Here’s the Journal:
With this proposal, Senator Rubio makes himself the party’s most visible ally of the “new” Republican idea that the Reagan tax-cutting agenda is a political dead end, and that the party now must redistribute revenue directly to middle-class families. It’s not clear how Candidate Rubio would hope to win a tax-credit bidding war with Hillary Clinton, who’d see and raise on the size of the credit and make it refundable to non-taxpayers. The Rubio tax credit looks like an obvious political gambit with no economic growth payoff.
Rubio took issue with that characterization at Heritage. “This is not a redistribution because this money doesn’t belong to the government in the first place,” he said. “What we recognize is that in our existing tax code, there is a penalty for those who are raising children.”
It’s an argument Lee has made numerous times: The tax code penalizes Americans who choose to have children, since the primary cost of raising those children (who are, in the eyes of the government, future taxpayers) falls on the parents. “Those who look at it as a bad thing try to describe the child tax credit as a subsidy, as a special-interest giveaway. It’s not. This is an offset to an existing penalty, to an inequity that exists under the current system,” Lee said at Heritage.
Some conservatives see tax credits as new, unpaid spending, preferring tax deductions as a way to reduce the burden on your average taxpayer. The political problem is there aren't a lot of people who can benefit from more or bigger tax deductions. Most middle-class Americans don’t itemize deductions on their tax returns, since the complexity of the code usually requires the services of a tax professional. The Tax Foundation estimated in 2010 that 70 percent of taxpayers would choose the standard deduction instead of itemizing. On the other hand, Lee has argued, the tax credit allows for any taxpaying parent to keep more money, even those who pay payroll taxes but don't make enough to pay income tax.
At Heritage, Rubio defended the credits in more philosophical terms. “One view is the government is entitled to a hundred percent of your money, and we’ll let you know how much of it you can keep. And the other view is, we’re entitled to a hundred percent of our money, but we understand we have to have a government, and we’re going to let you know how much we’re willing to send you,” Rubio said. “That’s the view that I adopt, the latter.”
Expect to hear that argument at a Republican primary debate stage soon.
7:31 AM, Mar 4, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah have returned to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to tout their latest tax reform proposal. The Republicans call their plan both "pro-growth" and "pro-family," and say it addresses inequities in the tax code for businesses and middle-class families.
Here's an excerpt:
The case for GOP boldness. Sep 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 03 • By FRED BARNES
Big ideas sometimes play a role in political campaigns, but not in this year’s midterm elections. Republican candidates concentrate on linking their opponents to President Obama and his policies. That’s it. Democrats are understandably wary of defending Obama. They go after Republicans on minor or trumped-up issues, often in unscrupulous TV ads.
Why do lobbyists work so hard to counter a tax bill that has no chance of passing? Mar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By IKE BRANNON
When House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, introduced a major tax reform proposal at the end of February, the entire tax policy world in Washington was set into motion. I have friends who lobby on tax issues who claim they did not sleep the two days after the release, working through consecutive nights to read the bill, confer with colleagues, and conceive of a plan to counter what’s in the bill that impacts their clients.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:11 PM, Oct 15, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with staff writer John McCormack on the latest in the government shutdown and debt ceiling talks:
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:05 PM, Oct 11, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with staff writer Jay Cost on the government shutdown and whether the GOP has a strategy to end it with a policy victory.
Sep 30, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 04 • By YUVAL LEVIN
Republicans these days are eager to replay the Reagan revolution. It is not hard to see why: In the 1980s, the GOP was the party of ideas, and the vision that Ronald Reagan and his supporters brought to Washington proved immensely popular with voters and profoundly improved American life. But in their effort to repeat Reagan’s particular policies, rather than his more impressive feat of developing policies that applied conservative principles to the problems of his day, today’s Republicans risk becoming detached from the country’s real concerns.
Obama and Reid kill tax reform.Aug 12, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 45 • By FRED BARNES
Tax reform is dead. President Obama killed it, with an assist from Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
To be exact, it’s officially dead now for this year and next. But in truth, it’s been dead for months because Obama, in private negotiations with Republicans conducted by his aides, rejected the one thing that makes tax reform politically possible: revenue neutrality. It allows the tax base to be broadened and tax rates to be lowered.
10:23 AM, May 14, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Seems K Street and Max Baucus were looking forward to a fun year of fixing up the tax code and making it stand up and salute. But now the IRS has gone and muddied the waters. As Erik Wasson and Peter Schroeder write at The Hill:
Don't expect White House leadership on corporate tax reform.Apr 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 30 • By IKE BRANNON
The Obama administration recently signaled to the business community that it could countenance some version of a territorial tax system for income earned abroad by U.S. businesses. Tax reform enthusiasts have seized on this perhaps a little too desperately, as evidence that reform will occur this year. It’s a thin reed, however: If any tax reform does pass Congress it will happen in spite of, and not because of, this administration.
10:02 AM, Apr 11, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Veteran Michigan congressman Dave Camp has all but ruled out running for an open Senate seat next year. The Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means committee told reporters Thursday morning at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor that he is focused on getting Congress to pass comprehensive tax reform.
“I’m not taking a serious look at the race,” said Camp. When asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD about his interest in running, the Michigan Republican laughed.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:22 PM, Mar 14, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Fred Barnes. Hosted by Michael Graham.
A modest proposal.Mar 11, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 25 • By CHARLES WOLF JR.
Nonprofit organizations (NPO), often referred to as the “independent sector,” are an essential part of America’s vibrant, pluralistic civil society. Their activities span a wide range of public and private purposes—philanthropic, cultural, religious, professional, educational, scientific. The public as well as private interests that NPOs represent add vitality as well as fractiousness to American society.
For incredibly cynical and corrupt reasons.Feb 11, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 21 • By IKE BRANNON
Argentina hasn’t always been a basket case: In the early 1990s the country embarked on a radical privatization of government assets, with the result being a decade of strong growth and foreign investment. Much of the successes of that time have been reversed, but the story of how the statist Peronista party came to embrace such a radically pro-market agenda contains a political message for our country today, namely that sometimes the conditions are ripe for politicians to do the right things for the wrong reasons. And that is precisely why tax reform may now be feasible.