As the Republican presidential candidates meet once again to debate, now is a good time to take stock of their various plans for tax reform. Using the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s microsimulation model, we have calculated the revenue impact of the six major candidates’ tax plans.
According to the graph below, every Republican candidate who has published a tax plan would either balloon the deficit by trillions or have to impose draconian cuts to programs to finance their massive tax cut plans. Even the so-called “moderate” tax plan from Jeb Bush would cost more than $7 trillion over the next ten years.
At the furthest end of the spectrum, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz’s plans are more than double the size of Jeb Bush’s plan at a cost of $14.8 trillion and $16.2 trillion over 10 years. Not too far behind are Marco Rubio’s $11.8 trillion plan, Donald Trump’s $12 trillion plan and Ben Carson's $9.6 trillion plan.
Even without making needed additional public investments in infrastructure, research and healthcare, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the nation is on course to add $7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. This means the federal government must raise more revenue over the next 10 years just to prevent a massive rise in the nation’s indebtedness. Yet each of the Republican candidates’ proposals would double, triple, or even quadruple the fiscal hole over the next decade. At a time when lawmakers are struggling to find ways to pay for basic services such as highways, let’s please stop this tax cut crazy talk now.
Updated January 16 to reflect the release of Ben Carson's more detailed flat tax plan.