Senator Marco Rubio is running as the acceptable moderate among the three leading Republicans presidential candidates, compared to Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. But as the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reported yesterday, his tax plan is not moderate, and it is scarcely acceptable.
Rubio’s proposals would deliver a $1 million tax break to the richest 0.1 percent of the country in its first year and slash government revenue by $6.8 trillion over the next decade. To avoid adding to the deficit, it would require “unprecedented” spending cuts, according to TPC. But that’s not all. Rubio has also called for higher military spending, delayed cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and a Balanced Budget Amendment. To appreciate the impossibility of balancing the budget while raising military spending and slashing taxes at unprecedented levels, try running a marathon while fasting.
Rubio’s budget is an unwieldy buffet, with morsels to lure every man, woman, and child, provided they don’t think too hard about the math. There is the abolition of investment tax cuts for the rich, and tax credits for the poorer; Medicare for moderates, and balanced budgets for conservatives; Social Security for the old, but the promise of long-term entitlement reform for the young. The result is a plan that promises everything to everyone and leaves nothing to arithmetic. If Rubio’s budget plan went through as written, it would require effectively dismantling every other government program not mentioned in this paragraph. And since government spending is disproportionately skewed toward helping the poor, sick, and old, this would mean cutting unfathomably deep into decades-long commitments to America’s most vulnerable citizens.