Today, Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) released his economic platform, which he claims is a “a clear alternative to the anti-growth, anti-job creation economic policies coming out of Washington.” “We have reached a point in our history when we must decide if we are to continue on the free market, limited government path that has made us exceptional, or if we are prepared to follow the rest of the world down the road of government dependency,” he said.
However, as the Orlando Sentinel’s Jim Stratton pointed out, “after perusing the list, the sharp-eyed reader will likely notice a recurring theme: This Rubio guy appears to be a big supporter of tax cuts. The proposals are sure to please his conservative base, many of whom see tax cuts as a magical elixir, good for pretty much anything that ails you.” Indeed, of the 12 steps that Rubio proposed, six are tax cuts, and another three are directives to stop regulations or taxes from being implemented. Here are some highlights:
— IDEA #1: Permanently Extend The 2001 And 2003 Tax Cuts
— IDEA #2: Cut Taxes On American Businesses
— IDEA #3: Permanently End The Death Tax
If this plan looks like a simple doubling-down on the Bush tax cuts, it is, with an unspecified corporate tax cut thrown on top for good measure. This comes despite the fact that the Bush tax cuts led to “the weakest jobs and income growth in the post-war period,” with monthly job growth the worst of any business cycle since 1945. In fact, the supply side tax cuts of both 1981 and 2001 failed to deliver as much investment growth, GDP growth, household income growth, wage growth or employment growth as the Clinton-era economic policies.
The cuts that Rubio proposes would also spend trillions of dollars while overwhelmingly sending the benefits to the very rich. In fact, at the 2009 level, the estate tax only affects the richest 0.2 percent of households in the country. So Rubio would spend billions on the hope that a tiny percentage of the population creates some jobs. “Those 2001 and 2003 tax cuts didn’t seem to help America avoid the recession, and Jeb Bush’s effort to cut taxes in Florida didn’t seem to help this state avoid becoming one of the worst hit by that recession,” wrote Kyle Munzenrieder at the Miami New Times.
Rubio has consistently tried to position himself as a deficit hawk, criticizing the government for “spending money we don’t have,” but as Stratton noted, “the campaign release doesn’t address what programs it would cut or any way to make up revenue lost from the tax cuts.” Of course, Rubio could just subscribe to the version of economic principles espoused by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) which says that “you should never have to offset” tax cuts for the rich.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.