Political Animal


December 13, 2011 8:00 AM The competition to reward the wealthy

By Steve Benen

Just about all of the major Republican presidential candidates have unveiled tax plans they’d pursue if elected, and the result has become a competition with a competition — GOP contenders aren’t just fighting for votes, they’re fighting to see who’s willing to give the biggest tax breaks to those who are already very, very wealthy.

For now, it looks like disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken the lead in this race, too.

The Tax Policy Center has run the numbers on Newt Gingrich’s tax plan. The verdict? Gingrich’s plan does more for wealthy American households than any plan released by the other 2012 candidates — and increases the deficit by trillions.

Gingrich would give the top 1 percent of U.S. households an average $430,000 tax cut, with their tax rate dropping 22 percentage points under the assumption that the Bush tax cuts expire in 2012. Households with an income of more than $1,000,000 would get a whopping $760,000 tax break on average, heavily weighted by the top 0.1 percent, who’d get a $2.3 million tax reduction. By contrast, the bottom 20 percent would save only an average of $649 under the Gingrich plan — with their tax rate dropping just 1.5 percentage points — and more than half of that group wouldn’t see any benefit at all. And those earning $40,000 to $50,000 would get a tax cut of about $1,900 on average.

Those who make the least would get the least, with lower-income households getting almost no benefit at all. Those who make the most, meanwhile, would get the most, with multi-millionaires and billionaires — who’ve already benefited from exceedingly generous tax breaks over the last decade — poised to be rewarded even more in a Gingrich administration.

Matt Yglesias put together this chart, showing the breakdown by income, making clear that those in the top 0.1% — those making more than $8 million a year — stand to get the bulk of the reward under the Gingrich plan.

Pat Garofalo added that, under this approach, “The end result of the plan would be millionaires paying a lower tax rate than middle-class families.” Remember the recent debate over the Buffett Rule? Gingrich plans to turn it on its head.

And what about the deficit that Republicans occasionally pretend to care about? Gingrich doesn’t bother with the pretense — his tax plan would “add $1.3 trillion to the U.S. budget deficit in 2015 alone,” according to an analysis released yesterday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

President Obama was asked on “60 Minutes” the other day about the GOP presidential field, and he said, “It doesn’t really matter who the [Republican] nominee is going to be. The core philosophy that they’re expressing is the same. And the contrast in visions between where I want to take the country and where they say they want to take the country is going to be stark.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • just bill on December 13, 2011 8:07 AM:

    and obama had better pound that message home every single day between now and election day.

  • Danp on December 13, 2011 8:08 AM:

    How does Gingrich propose to pay for his mirrors-in-space program? Or will he change that to a mere proposal that we rename Orion, "Newtron Joe"?

  • c u n d gulag on December 13, 2011 8:09 AM:

    Me and the rest of the 99%er's are eagerly waiting for our checks.

    I mean, the top 1% ARE going to spend their anticipated tax breaks sending us checks to vote for this aren't they?

    Maybe I'll buy some better food for my family, or fix my teeth, or get health care long enough to find out if I've got something that can be fixed before I run out of the money they're going to pay us. Maybe I'll contribute a few bucks to a feed those worse off at local soup kitchens.


    Oh yeah, I forgot, that's what FOX NEWS, talk radio, and the MSM are for - to act as the middleman for the propaganda, and THEY'LL get the money.

    Never miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind...

    No soup kitchens for YOU!

  • hells littlest angel on December 13, 2011 8:10 AM:

    How does Gingrich propose to pay for his mirrors-in-space program?

    He'll put it on his Tiffany's revolving credit account.

  • c u n d gulag on December 13, 2011 8:11 AM:

    He's just pulling that space crap out of Uranus.

    Uhm... sorry - HIS anus.

    Speaking of Black Holes...

  • stevio on December 13, 2011 8:15 AM:

    Blitzer, Gregory,etc. will soft peddle it all. The rich have purchased the Golden Triad:

    Congress (soon the Senate which for all intent and purpose is already FUBARed)

    Supreme Court

    Main Stream Media

    It's way too late to turn it around. Your home-grown version of what a Democracy is has been eliminated. The hybrid left us is a form of Capitalism that benefits only one class.

    OWS notwithstanding, too little, much too late.

  • dAY on December 13, 2011 8:24 AM:

    Meanwhile, on CNBC this morning, the three founders of Home Depot were bemoaning just how G. D. AWFUL Obama has been, with all his regulations, for business.

  • c u n d gulag on December 13, 2011 8:27 AM:

    I believe you wrote about the wrong hybrid "ism."

    The "ism" term I believe you were looking for isn't 'Capitalism,' it's "FascISM."

  • Mudge on December 13, 2011 8:36 AM:

    Did the Home Depot crew name a regulation enacted by Obama?

    Gulag fellow traveler more or less says it, the tax break competition is geared to luring the big money to the respective campaigns, pay for stricter voter supression laws, etc . It is a promise to the wealthy of their committment to a further consolidation of wealth and power,

  • Anonymous on December 13, 2011 8:40 AM:

    Speaker Gingrich's tax cuts aren't just for the presently-wealthy. They are also for those of us who aspire to the wealth that the American Dream promises us.

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  • Rugosa on December 13, 2011 9:35 AM:

    Those who make the least would get the least . . . Those who make the most, meanwhile, would get the most . . .

    Which is exactly what is intended.

  • Peter C on December 13, 2011 9:36 AM:

    "This is an impressive crowd-- the haves and the have-mores. (Laughter)

    Some people call you the elite. I call you my base. (Laughter)"

    -George Bush at the annual Al Smith dinner in New York.

    The haves (the 1%) and the have-mores (the 0.1%) are STILL the base of the Republican Party.

  • TeaBagger HankJr. on December 13, 2011 9:43 AM:

    Speaker Gingrich's tax cuts aren't just for the presently-wealthy. They are also for those of us who aspire to the wealth that the American Dream promises us.

    Hedda Peraz, don't be ashamed to use your name next time. Stand up proudly to these libruls, who need to be told how it is in the real world. Taxing job creators is disastrous.

    We should all be thanking our lucky stars that the rich stay in America, despite its high taxes, instead of heading for greener pastures like Sierra Leone or Liberia. Instead of denigrating them, we should beg them to stay and offer to pick up the tab on their having a 0% tax rate. That's how you get this country back to work again. Disappointingly, Newt's plan is little more than a band-aid on the gaping wound of job creator's hurt feelings.

  • Trollop on December 13, 2011 9:57 AM:

    Where is the guillotine again?

  • AndThenThere'sThat on December 13, 2011 10:52 AM:

    An inverted graph is a odd way of charting positive numbers.

  • nemisten on December 13, 2011 11:30 AM:

    Why do all you people hate all our patriotic job-creators? You must also hate freedom. And god. And your mothers. And this country. In fact, you're all just terrorists -- plain and simple.

    (Sorry. Just anticipating Rush's commentary today.)