The More You Examine Rubio’s Tax Plan, the Worse It Looks

Take another sip of that tax-cut juice, Senator. It's done right by you so far.

Take another sip of that tax-cut juice, Senator. It’s done right by you so far.

Last week, I said that Rubio’s tax plan would remove six trillion dollars from government revenue over a decade. Last night, Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine reported that it’s even worse than that. Chait is fast becoming the best observer on Rubio we have, which means he’s the one to watch as Rubio’s star continues to rise, in part because he can deliver devastating facts like this:

All told, Rubio’s plan would reduce federal revenue by $11.8 trillion over the next decade. The entire Bush tax cuts cost about $3.4 trillion over a decade, making the Rubio tax cuts more than three times as costly.

This is part of the reason why the media has been obsessing over Marco Rubio’s credit card bills over the last few days. Even people who haven’t done the deep dive into Rubio’s economic plans understand that there’s something missing. He claims to represent the future, but he’s promising both EITC benefits for the very poor and tremendous tax cuts for the very rich, in addition to boosting the military budget. Even a child could tell you that there’s no way to pay all those bills without making more money, somehow. So while it’s ridiculous to believe that one’s personal finance should indicate how one would run a financial system as complex as the US budget, this mysterious gap in Rubio’s budget leaves us looking for signs—any kind of sign—how he handles numbers in the real world. Because this tax plan is many things, but it does not represent, by any means, the real world.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.