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(STATEWIDE) – The Idaho Department of Health says influenza season has officially arrived in Idaho. So far, three people have died and health officials say the season has the potential to be a severe one. [...]
ABC News(GARNER, N.C.) — Of all the topics U.S. voters have to understand, none is more complicated than taxes. Think 80,000 pages of convoluted code, abstract loopholes and what seems like innumerable exemptions.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said he wants to change all that.
“Of all the terrible things that can be said about our tax code – and I can think of a few – the worst is probably this: It punishes people for doing things we should encourage and rewards people for doing things that may not be so good. It taxes paychecks hard but gives companies a write-off for debt,” Bush said Wednesday in North Carolina. “I believe it’s time we build for the future, not borrow from it.”
In short, he plans to simplify the tax code, making it so that ordinary people can understand and file their own taxes. So what would this mean for you? We asked these two economists to help us figure it out:
Kevin Hassett: director of economic policy studies, the American Enterprise Institute, served as a policy consultant to the U.S. Treasury under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Harry Stein: director, fiscal policy, the Center for American Progress
“It’s a really big proposal; kind of thing that a president pushes in the first State of the Union. It has a million bells and whistles,” Hassett said, adding, “It’s the kind of impressive tax plan that you usually don’t see.”
1. Reducing Tax Brackets:
Bush’s big goal is to do what President Reagan did: lower tax rates. In his policy plan, instead of seven brackets, there are now three: 28 percent, 25 percent and 10 percent. Bush noted in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that “at 28 percent, the highest tax bracket would return to where it was when President Ronald Reagan signed into law his monumental and successful 1986 tax reform.”
QUESTION: Aren’t these just more tax cuts for the wealthy?
Hassett: That will undoubtedly benefit people in upper brackets more. One of the things we’ve seen is a collapse in the role of small business in the economy … this is the policy that has the potential to have the biggest positive effect.
Stein: Bush’s tax plan would give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. It cuts taxes on investment income, which overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy (since they are the ones with wealth to invest).
2. Eliminating Penalties and Other Taxes
Bush’s plan also eliminates certain taxes to double the standard deduction now taken by roughly two-thirds of all filers. He would cut the marriage penalty, which causes some married couples to pay higher taxes than they would if they were single.
It also expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, ends the death tax, which requires a person’s estate to be taxed, retires the Alternative Minimum Tax and ends the employee’s share of the Social Security tax on earnings for workers older than 67.