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:
We seek to simplify the code and lower rates for families and individuals, by consolidating the seven existing tax brackets into two simple groups—15% and 35%—and by making remaining deductions available to all filers.
Our plan will also put an end to the unfair treatment of our ultimate investor class: America’s moms and dads.
In addition to eliminating the well-known marriage penalty—which taxes married couples at a higher rate than if they had filed individually—our plan will reform another, less-familiar inequity in the code: the parent tax penalty.
The current tax system charges parents twice for federal senior entitlement programs. Parents pay payroll taxes like everyone else, but they also shoulder the financial burden of raising the next generation of taxpayers, who will grow up to fund the Social Security and Medicare benefits of all future seniors. Parents, in effect, pay twice for the same Social Security and Medicare benefits as everyone else.
Therefore, to equalize the tax code’s treatment of working parents, our plan would create a new, $2,500 per-child tax credit. This credit—like the correction of the marriage penalty—eliminates an unfair distortion in the code and helps level the playing field for working families.
The family-focused elements of the plan are pure Mike Lee, who has said he wants to influence the party's presidential candidates—a group which could very well include Marco Rubio—on tax reform and other domestic issues. From a recent WEEKLY STANDARD profile of the Utah Republican:
Lee knows he isn’t the presidential candidate conservatives are looking for, but he’s got his eyes on that “positive, innovative, and unapologetically conservative agenda.” He’s not shy about the role he’d like to play. “I do want to influence that debate,” Lee says. His slate of policy proposals isn’t light fare. Since 2013, Lee has introduced bills to make the tax code more family friendly, take on cronyism in Washington, reform the college accreditation system, and change the way the federal government funds transportation infrastructure. But what Lee really wants is to change the way conservatives think about domestic policy, reorienting the Republican party toward a family-focused, constitutional populism to help the GOP win back the White House. If Lee succeeds, it will make him one of the most consequential conservatives of his generation.
Lee’s touchstone is Ronald Reagan, but not in the rote way you might think. “It’s important for us to remember that by the time 2016 rolls around, we will be about as far away from Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 as Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 was from D-Day, and it’s important for us to update our agenda to make sure that it fits the times,” says Lee. “We need to stop simply talking about Reagan and start acting like him.” That doesn’t mean slashing the marginal tax rate or getting rid of the Department of Education. Lee says acting like Reagan means applying principles of limited government, constitutionalism, and a healthy civil society to the issues of the day—namely, the rising cost of living and economic insecurity of the American middle class.
We've just finished tabulating the results an online poll conducted during the last week of WEEKLY STANDARD readers. They were given a chance to let us know who would be, as of now, their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for the GOP presidential nomination. We want to thank the 3,700 readers who participated.
Over the past few days at CPAC, Sean Hannity has asked various prospective Republican presidential candidates to list their “top five agenda items.” Former governor Jeb Bush’s list did not include repealing Obamacare.
It’s still two years before the next president takes the oath of office, but the contest that will determine who raises his right hand that day started in earnest last month for Republicans, with a grassroots gathering in Iowa and a meeting of high-dollar donors in California.
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a possible Republican presidential candidate, is using a crowdsourcing platform to try to reach dissidents and human rights activists in autocratic regimes. In particular, Rubio is trying to help those oppressed by the governments of Iran and Cuba.
"I'm a member of the U.S. Congress looking for Iran and Cuba human rights cases to highlight," the headline for Rubio's post on the platform Movements.org reads.
Rancho Mirage, California Three top Republican senators joined top center-right donors Sunday evening for a lively, informal discussion on politics and policy to cap off a weekend that effectively marks the kickoff of the 2016 presidential primary. In oversized white chairs on stage at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio fielded questions for nearly 90 minutes from Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who capably pushed the potential candidates for responses on a wide range of issues.
Two potential Republican presidential candidates weighed in on the hack of Sony Pictures by the North Korean government.
"The recent Sony hack is not a cyber attack on Hollywood," said Bobby Jindal, the two-term governor of Louisiana, in a statement. "[I]t is an attack on America. It is an attack on freedom and represents a serious danger to U.S. national security. Are we really going to let terrorists and thugs, likely the North Korean dictator in this instance, determine what movies we watch?"
Republican senator Marco Rubio said a top State Department official was "dishonest" about the Obama administration's plans to change its policy on Cuba. Tony Blinken, the newly confirmed deputy secretary of State, told the Florida senator at his confirmation hearing in November that the administration would not unilaterally change its Cuba policy without "full consultation" with Congress. That consultation, Rubio says, never happened to his knowledge.
"He was dishonest," Rubio told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Wednesday. "He was clearly evasive."
The Obama administration is embarking on a “policy shift” to normalize diplomatic and economic relations between the United States and Cuba, according to senior administration officials who spoke with reporters on background Wednesday morning. One official described the current Cuban policy as “past its expiration date.”
Crist, who ran this year as a Democrat, won his first bid for governor in 2006 as a Republican. He left the GOP in 2010 in the midst of losing a Republican primary for U.S. Senate to Marco Rubio, running and losing in the general election as an independent.
The Palm Beach Post reports that Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty is characterizing as “unfair” Marco Rubio’s argument that American taxpayers should not be forced to provide a bailout for health insurance companies that lose money under Obamacare. It’s not entirely clear whether Geraghty thinks it’s “unfair” to oppose the bailout, to call it that, or both. Regardless, Obamacare is poised to force taxpayers to help cover health insurers’ losses — and it’s harder to imagine a clearer example of a bailout, or of cronyism, than that.