Jon Huntsman’s economic plan: Tax cuts for rich, tax increases for everyone else

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2011-05-2008

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Huntsman in the before-times. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Jon Huntsman would like you to know that he has an economic plan he hopes the tea partiers will find nutty enough to support. Remember the tea partiers? The “tea” part supposedly stood for “Taxed Enough Already”? Well, if they’re truly steamed about taxes and not just pretending, they’re going to despise this, but if they’re just an astroturf-supported frontgroup for corporations and the rich, he might have a good shot at their support after all:

[Huntsman’s plan] would pay for a half-million-dollar tax break for the richest 0.1 percent of Americans with tax increases on the middle-class and new taxes on seniors, veterans, and poor families.

In an apparent attempt to eclipse all previous Republican giveaways, including the disastrous Bush tax cuts, Huntsman would drop the marginal rate paid by the richest Americans by more than a third to 23 percent — a lower rate than rich people paid during the Coolidge and Hoover Administrations or any time since. He would also eliminate all taxes on all capital gains and dividend income — the primary forms of income for the wealthiest Americans.

Huntsman says he will pay for this supply-side bonanza by eliminating all so-called “tax expenditures.”

Think Progress has a quick rundown of what his plan would mean: The short version is that it would subject most middle class Americans, as well as seniors and other groups, to tax increases in order to pay for these new tax windfalls for the top tenth-of-a-percenters.

Now that’s class warfare. And it’s a pretty bold statement of “coddle the rich, screw everyone else,” even compared to everyday Republican rhetoric—with a rate cut, a removal of the capital gains tax and making dividend income tax-free, he’s got everything in there short of personally pledging sexual favors to every individual billionaire in America.

So here’s my question: Who is this Republican “base” that actually likes this stuff? The people marching around in tricorner hats with big signs saying how overtaxed they are, then demanding their leaders raise their taxes in order to cut taxes on the wealthy yet again? How many teabaggers are out there demanding that their Social Security benefits be taxed, or that their health insurance be taxed, or that their veterans benefits be taxed, because by God we demand no taxes on dividend-based income?

Here’s hoping Huntsman promotes his new plan heavily, because I really, really want to see all the tea party reactions to it. I have no doubt the hardcore base will be able to justify it somehow, complete with bused-in FreedomWorks supporters and a bunch of hand-waving speeches about how zeroing out capital gains taxes will prevent Muslim immigrants from gay marrying our children because Sharia and evolution sucks and whatnot, but I want to personally see Huntsman and the others try to explain this stuff to their base. It would be funny.


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