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Mitt Romney's Trillion Dollar Tax Cut Nobody Talks About - Matthew O'Brien - The Atlantic


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This looks like a pretty standard tax reform -- cut rates and preferences, blah, blah, blah -- but look again. Romney only cuts preferences in the second step. The first step is not paid for. This is not a mistake; this is the plan. At least according to his advisers. Setting aside one-time costs like the repatriation tax holiday, the Tax Policy Center figures Romney's initial rate cut would reduce revenues by $96 billion in 2015 alone -- or nearly a trillion dollars over a decade. Who are the lucky flesh and blood people who would benefit from this 13-digit tax cut? That's a tricky question to answer, but the latest figures from the Tax Policy Center estimate that 53 percent of the corporate income tax falls on the top 1 percent. In other words, this $96 billion corporate tax cut would be a $51 billion tax cut for the top 1 percent. That's good for an average cut of $43,440 for each household in the top 1 percent, going by these 2015 Tax Policy Center distributional tables. 

But the red ink doesn't stop with a half a trillion worth of tax cuts for the top 1 percent. There's also the repatriation tax holiday. That would cost a comparatively modest $79 billion over ten years, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Here's how it works. Right now, corporations have to pay the difference between our corporate tax rate and overseas corporate tax rates when they bring overseas profits back home. A repatriation holiday is just what it sounds like -- it lets corporations bring foreign profits here while paying much, much less in tax. The Bush administration tried this in 2004, and it was a total flop. The idea was returning capital would jumpstart jobs and investment, but all it jumpstarted were executive bonuses and stock buybacks. A 2011 Senate report found that the 15 companies that brought back the most capital actually cut over 20,000 jobs and cut research and development spending between 2004 and 2007. Even worse were the expectations this precedent created. It turns out if you give a corporation a repatriation tax holiday, they're going to expect another, which is why it would cost $79 billion over a decade. It incentivizes firms to sit on cash overseas and wait for the next holiday.

At this point even he admits that he wants the rich to get richer.

He thinks that's a good thing.

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