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Covert writes: "In the race to Stop Trump, virtually every Republican candidate has been held up as a potential beacon of moderation in comparison to the Donald. If Rubio can't play the role, perhaps Kasich can?"

Donald Trump. (photo: AP)
Donald Trump. (photo: AP)

ALSO SEE: CBS CEO: "For Us, Economically,
Donald's Place in This Election Is a Good Thing"

Not Just Trump: Every GOP Candidate Is an Extremist

By Bryce Covert, Rolling Stone

01 March 16


Despite painting themselves as moderates compared to Trump, every Republican in the race is economically radical

n the race to Stop Trump, virtually every Republican candidate has been held up as a potential beacon of moderation in comparison to the Donald. If Rubio can't play the role, perhaps Kasich can? If no one knows who Kasich is, well, at least Cruz isn't quite as extreme as Trump?

And while Trump has been called out as radical on his views about Mexicans and Muslims, when it comes to economics he's mostly been taken at face value. When he said his tax plan would make "hedge-fund guys" pay up while reducing taxes for the middle class, mainstream news reports heralded the plan as "populist."

But when you dig into the numbers the remaining Republican candidates have proffered in their economic proposals, none of them can hold the title of moderate or populist. Every single one is an extremist. All have put forward relatively detailed plans, and while they all have their quirks, the numbers are strikingly similar — and substantial.

Every single candidate gives a huge gift to the wealthy and a meager one to the less fortunate. Trump doesn't go after the "hedge-fund guys" all that hard, it turns out. Nearly 40 percent of the benefits of his tax package would flow to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans; on the other hand, those in the middle and two bottom-fifths of the income scale would get about 16 percent. The raw dollar amounts are equally eye-popping: Under President Trump, the poorest Americans would see about $200 in tax relief over a decade; the 0.1 percent, richest of the rich, would get more than $1.7 million.

Rubio, the son of a maid and a bartender (as he is wont to mention), looks pretty much the same as the guy who got a $1 million loan from his dad. He would hand more than 40 percent of the benefits of his tax relief to the richest 1 percent of Americans, leaving little for the middle and bottom. That works out to $232 for the poorest, and about $1.1 million for the richest 0.1 percent.

Trump did at least follow through on his promise to include in his plan raising the tax rate on capital gains, or money made from investments rather than through a salary — a means overwhelmingly enjoyed by the rich, although it would still be taxed lower than the highest income bracket. Rubio, though, floats an idea no other Republican has embraced: scrapping the tax on capital gains altogether. All those hedge-fund guys, and every other wealthy person with investments, would receive an enormous handout.

Cruz's tax plan looks a little bit different for deploying what he calls a "business flat tax," which is pretty similar to a European-style value-added tax. But the distribution still ends up skewing toward the rich. With all of his changes taken together, the 1 percent would get a 17 percent boost in their income right out the bat. The poorest, meanwhile, would be only 2.2 percent better off.

Carson takes this repeating script and gives it his own flair. He offers a flat tax, levying a uniform rate on all income, big or small. While the numbers are more bloated, they follow the same pattern: The 1 percent would get two-thirds of the benefits from his plan. At the same time, Carson has been clear that – unlike his rivals – he wants every citizen to owe income taxes, even the most destitute who currently don't pay anything because they make so little. That means that the poorest 40 percent would actually see a tax increase under his plan, while millionaires' burdens would go down. A person in the bottom 20 percent would owe almost $800 more, while someone in the 1 percent would owe about $350,000 less.

Kasich — the supposed rational moderate in the GOP field — hasn't enticed any group to run the numbers on his plan, possibly because he left some key details blank. But the basic building blocks are very similar. In his plan, as with all of his rivals', corporations would face a lower tax rate, as would people who fall in the highest bracket. He would eliminate the estate tax, paid by the wealthiest 0.2 percent when they pass on their inheritances, and lower the capital gains rate — all giveaways to the richest of the rich.

Tax cuts don't come for free — not for the poor or the rich. And so each candidate proposes losing significant amounts of revenue in order to hand these favors to the wealthy. Over the next decade, the government would lose $9.6 trillion under President Carson, $9.5 trillion under President Trump, $8.6 trillion under President Cruz, and $6.8 trillion under President Rubio. There is certainly an enormous different between a $9.6 trillion and $6.8 trillion cost, but these figures are unprecedented. Reagan's tax cuts amounted to a loss of 2.1 percent of GDP, while George W. Bush's cost 1.4 percent. On the other hand, Trump's would cost 4 percent, Cruz's 3.6, and Rubio's 2.6.

Kasich's plan throws in an extra dollop of hardheartedness. He promises to balance the budget in eight years, which might sound good if you think the federal government's finances function like a checkbook, but in fact, they don't. The country currently has a $544 billion deficit; to bring that to zero, particularly while losing so much revenue to tax cuts and implementing his call for a big increase in military spending, all other government programs would have to swallow truly extreme cuts.

Kasich isn't alone in making such a promise, however. Rubio goes even further, calling for an amendment that would require the government to maintain a balanced budget. That would decimate the government's ability to spend more in times of economic turmoil, making recessions longer and deeper, and would force cuts in some parts of the budget if spending has to rise in others — if, for instance, a bunch of people lose their jobs in a recession and file for unemployment insurance at once.

Some of these candidates have actual legislative histories to back up their outrageous proposals, while Trump and Carson so far haven't enacted anything. As governor of Ohio, Kasich pushed through more than $3 billion in tax cuts that helped the wealthy but not anyone else. He also balanced his state's budget without raising new taxes, necessitating huge spending cuts that led to massive layoffs and some cities to actually disincorporate. Rubio and Cruz have spent years in the Senate, and while their proposals haven't become law, Rubio took a colleague's tax-cut package and made it even more costly and beneficial to the rich.

But presidents tend to govern along the lines of the promises they make as candidates. If any of these five men make it to the White House, the economy is in big trouble. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

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+22 # RMDC 2016-03-01 16:57
Yes, indeed. Trump is a horrible presidential candidate, except that all the rest of the reptiles are worse. Trump is the most anti-war. He's attacked GW Bush for invading Iraq. He would side with Putin and end the war in Syria. It is not likely Trump would invade any nations as Bush and Obama have.

He has said he'd use torture, but the rest have even been worse. Cruz wants to carpet bomb ISIS.

I just hope all of them lose and go home and develop a serious drug or alcohol problem. Then maybe they will leave us alone.

There is only one candidate in this race who is worthy of the job -- Bernie Sanders.

Hillary is a liar. Every word out of her mouth is the result of focus groups. She's saying what people want to hear. She does not mean any of it. It she does, then release the Goldman Sach's lecture.
+6 # guomashi 2016-03-01 19:46
Quoting RMDC:

Hillary is a liar. Every word out of her mouth is the result of focus groups. She's saying what people want to hear. She does not mean any of it. It she does, then release the Goldman Sach's lecture.

hillary is a war monger and just can't wait to get her hands on the button to "fight for us" (using someone else's children to do the fighting).

meanwhile trump is the first american political figure ever who does not bow to israel, which is the only chance we have for peace.

if America is committed to wreaking havoc, it is only moral that said havoc be directed internally rather than externally.

the unison chorus of punditry singing "trump is dangerous for america" is really nothing other than "trump is bad for the military industrial complex war machine".

so be it. I can never under any circumstances support hillary, or any other war monger. we have far too much blood on our hands as it is.
+3 # RMDC 2016-03-01 20:31
gou -- i'm with you. I could never support Hillary under any circumstances. She's just more of the Bush-Clinton-Bu sh-Obama dynasty that has been a scourge on the world since 1980 when Daddy Bush had his hand up Reagan's ass and ran him as a ventriloquist's dummy.

If anything good comes out of this election, it will be the permanent end of the Bush-Clinton political machine.

I also have to thank Trump for mopping the floor with Jeb Bush. It was a pleasure to see him tell Jeb to fuck himself in so many words. But otherwise Trump is himself a horror.
# Guest 2016-03-02 09:50
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
+3 # chapdrum 2016-03-01 20:00
Exactly right.

They are ALL stateless frauds.

ALL of them.

Business as usual.
+2 # Depressionborn 2016-03-01 23:44
if you are ill and the medicine you have been taking is making you worse, quit taking the medicine.
+9 # dotlady 2016-03-02 00:05
The Republican tax plans spelled out here are eye-opening. The power elite and its politicians are a black hole sucking. Woe to us if a Republican wins. On the other hand, woe to us unless Bernie wins.
+2 # guomashi 2016-03-02 00:08
Quoting dotlady:
The Republican tax plans spelled out here are eye-opening. The power elite and its politicians are a black hole sucking. Woe to us if a Republican wins. On the other hand, woe to us unless Bernie wins.

yes indeed.
however, we deserve that woe if that's what we elect.
other countries do not deserve it.
woe seems to be our biggest export as of late.
as a matter of moral conscience i would rather see america piled in its own sewage than export it to innocent populations.
0 # Robbee 2016-03-02 09:01
oops! we wandered into a thread that draws rational distinctions among GOP candidates!

our rsn hill-haters maintain there is absolutely no difference between hill and any gop slime - hill-haters boycott such threads as this! hill-haters choose other threads where they shovel their shit at us and hope they leave us in the dark!

just wondering! - why, whenever there's a story about rump or crud or rabidio, do we never hear our GOP cockroaches ranting how hill is just as bad as a zomblican? - why? oh why?

cockroaches! do i have to call you out? by hash tag? where? oh where did you all scurry off and hide? did this article shine a light on a real zomblican? is this the wrong time to peddle your pledge to elect a zomblican?

another thing you may notice about our cockroaches is that whenever there is a story about womens’ rights, they have decency not to hill-hate? - strange, these cockroaches! - their aversion to light!
0 # John Escher 2016-03-02 09:36
+2 # MsAnnaNOLA 2016-03-02 14:55
I am sorry but I am a woman and though women's rights are important, not waging war and killing millions for nothing is more important to me. We are not living in Saudi Arabia. Women will get there with or without Hillary but there is no doubt in my mind that a vote for her is a vote for war! I can't vote for more war!
0 # RnR 2016-03-02 18:20
If the people of this country are so stupid that they pass on the opportunity of having Donald Trump working *for* the country and them, then f them. And he's no war monger either and has better judgment than she and is a better negotiator. It ain't going to be Bernie, I would think they'd spot the signs already.
0 # RnR 2016-03-02 18:51
Bring on the thumbs down *lmao*
0 # Dust 2016-03-03 14:02
Thumbs down only because someone thinks that Trump, with multiple, endless failed businesses, complete ignorance of the rest of the world, and a statement from 1988 that he'd run as a Republican because Republican voters are stupid, would somehow make a good President.
0 # RnR 2016-03-04 13:17
When you do as much (we're talking about probably 40+ years here) as world wide as he has his record would probably still be above average. If you start 1 business and it sails you have 100% success, if you start 1,000 and 800 sail you're only 80% successful. I think he's got a good head, he thinks out of the box, and most importantly (to me) he is patriotic where the rest of them are just multi-national corporation representatives and publicity pariotism to the us of a at al...particular ly the 2 cuban anchor babies who have no dog in the fight.
0 # John Escher 2016-03-02 09:34
The economy, yes, but science too. A disbelief in science starts with a short attention span leading to evangelical Christianity and the superstition that Carl Sagan wrote so much about.

Let's take the Bush family so characterized by their short attention spans. Jeb and his brother are the worst. Jeb thinks everything he hears is "blah-blah-blah."

Jeb is a busy low-energy businessman in the midst of an important job search. But if he lengthens his attention span and shortens his backswing he can vastly improve his game.

Walk a little plainer, Daddy,
Said a little boy so frail.
I'm following in your footsteps,
And I don't want to fail.
0 # mh1224jst 2016-03-03 06:54
The culprit is mainstream, "neoclassical" economics, a way of thinking that developed over the last 140 years to glorify capitalism, justify endless profiteering, and excuse the massive wealth transfers and income suppression that have wiped out the American middle class in less than forty years. It is no accident that the GOP is controlled by tea party libertarians today.All of the GOP candidates proffer "austerity" government, based on a trickle-down fantasy that is the exact opposite of how the economy actually works.

The culprits are the Chicago and Austrian Schools and Paul Samuelson, et al., who have been indoctrinating all of us for over 70 years. Their disastrous Reagan Revolution wiped out the American middle class, and is steadily destroying what is left of our economy and our democracy. Since 1980, the top 1% has gained about $25 trillion of new wealth, about $18 trillion of that financed by federal debt and the rest by consumers.

The immediate necessity is to restore higher taxation of the wealthy and their corporations, and the only candidate who understands this is Bernie Sanders. Any GOP presidency now will result in economic disaster, and the Clinton plan to "make us whole" is also hazardous.

I hope to get my book on all of this published soon. Meanwhile, neoclassical economics has corrupted even "progressive" thinking:

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