Moneybox

Jeb Bush’s Tax Plan Is Pretty Awesome for the Top 1 Percent

Jeb Bush’s pitch: slash taxes for the wealthiest.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Jeb Bush’s proposed tax plan is a massive giveaway to the wealthy that could easily add trillions to the deficit. But when I last wrote about it, I hadn’t seen an analysis showing precisely what percentage of the cuts would flow to the richest tax payers. Today, Matt Yglesias points to a brief report from Citizens for Tax Justice showing that more than half the benefits from cuts to individuals’ income taxes would belong to the top 1 percent. On average, middle-class Americans would get somewhere between $488 and $1,482 of relief while 1 percenters would nab a $82,392 cut. In total, they get about 53 percent of the haul.

This is not especially surprising. The wealthy pay a lot of taxes (which, I would argue, is a good thing) so they stand to gain the most from a large, across-the-board cut like the Bush plan. Also, the once-and-maybe-possibly-future GOP front-runner wants to reduce taxes on investment income, which would largely benefit high-income families.

Keep in mind, though, Bush’s entire tax package would probably benefit the affluent even more disproportionately than CTJ’s analysis suggests. The think tank only looked at the candidate’s cuts to individual taxes. It did not include the effect of his proposed repeal of the estate tax, which is basically a tax for millionaires, or his plan to cut corporate taxes, which amounts to a tax cut for shareholders.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if, like his brother before him, Jeb will be able to market an essentially plutocratic tax plan by pointing out that at least some of the benefits will dribble down to the bottom 99 percent of the population while also making unbelievable promises about growth. Have voters forgotten the 2000s? We’ll see.