Presidential candidates’ tax proposals

Brothers Hank and John Green talk succinctly and intelligently about the tax proposals of the remaining major-party presidential candidates. Follow the links below the videos to other information sources.

First Democrats Clinton and Sanders:


Then Republicans Trump and Cruz:


None of the proposals is perfect, but the Republican ones are surprisingly non-serious, promising tax cuts that would explode the federal budget deficit.

While most people seem not to realize it, in recent decades Republican presidencies have been associated with increasing deficits. The last two presidents to produce a budget surplus were Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson, the latter (as I’m fond of reminding people) at the height of the Vietnam War, the War on Poverty, and the Apollo program. Barack Obama inherited a terrible economy and a bad deficit and enlarged the deficit even more in a deal with Congress that cut taxes and increased infrastructure spending, which turned the economy around and likely prevented another Great Depression. Since then the deficit has been falling at a record rate, partly as a result of the improving economy and the rest from efforts by Obama and the Congress to reduce the deficit.

By the way, Clinton’s tax plan would establish a top marginal income tax rate of 43 percent on the portion of one’s income in excess of $5,000,000 per year. For comparison, the top marginal rate under Eisenhower was over 90 percent, and under most of the Reagan years it was 50 percent.

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