Economy

Trump Hits Scott Walker For Failing To Raise Taxes

CREDIT: AP Photo/Seth Perlman

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

On Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. and former Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker announced that he is endorsing Ted Cruz. Hours later, Cruz’s rival Donald Trump lashed out at Walker for not raising taxes in his state.

“There’s a $2.2 billion deficit and the schools were going begging and everything was going begging because he didn’t want to raise taxes cause he was going to run for president,” Trump said in an interview with radio host Michael Koolidge. “So instead of raising taxes, he cut back on schools, he cut back on highways, he cut back on a lot of things.”

Trump’s right that Walker’s economic policies led to big deficits and spending cuts. The governor pushed through property and corporate tax cuts, which largely benefitted the wealthy, that have cost the state at least $275 million, and it ended fiscal year 2015 with less money in its reserves than any other state. To close the budget gaps those tax cuts helped create, Walker cut funding for public universities that led to schools letting professors go and cutting programs.

But the message is strange coming from Trump, given his own tax promises. His plan is packed with giveaways to the wealthy and corporations, despite his populist promises, which ends up meaning that the richest 1 percent of the country would capture 40 percent of the benefits, leaving less than 17 percent for the bottom three-fifths of the country.

And the tax relief he would offer to the wealthy would come at a high price. Over a decade, his proposal would cost the federal government $9.5 trillion in revenue. That's far more than it cost to enact tax cuts passed by Presidents Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush.

That kind of money doesn't come for free. To make his plan revenue neutral, meaning it wouldn't cost the government money, while also sticking to his promises not to make any changes to Social Security and Medicare, Trump would have to cut all other government spending by more than three-quarters. That would leave very little for, say, school and infrastructure funding. If instead he paid for his plan with an equal combination of spending cuts and tax increases, any benefit for anyone but the wealthiest would disappear: The bottom four-fifths of the country would actually see their income go down, while the top 1 percent would still get about a $162,000 benefit.