Politics & Policy

Ted’s Flat Tax Could Pave Path to Victory

Cruz speaks at a rally in Phoenix, Ariz., March 18, 2016. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Senator Ted Cruz’s victory in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary cements him as the clear, conservative alternative to Donald J. Trump. The Texas Republican trumped the New York real-estate mogul, 48 percent to 35. This landslide confirms Cruz, not Governor John Kasich (R., Ohio), as the life boat for GOP voters who wisely worry that the high-decibel tycoon’s juggernaut would sink beneath the waves next November — to the applause of women, Hispanics, immigrants, the disabled, and millions of others whom he has frosted.

Cruz now should crank up the volume on campaign 2016’s best idea: a 10 percent flat tax that is perfectly timed as smart policy and smart politics.

Cruz’s Simple Flat Tax Plan would:

‐ Collapse today’s seven personal-income-tax rates into one: 10 percent.

‐ Offer taxpayers a $10,000 standard deduction and a $4,000 personal exemption.

‐ Keep the Child Tax Credit and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.

‐ Exclude from tax the first $36,000 in income for a family of four.

‐ Dump thousands of tax loopholes, but save the charitable deduction and home-mortgage write-off up to $500,000 in principle value.

‐ Replace today’s corporate tax. As the Wall Street Journal crisply explains: “Businesses would deduct capital purchases immediately and pay a 16 percent rate without deducting wages.”

‐ Allow corporations to deploy domestically some $2.4 trillion in profits dormant overseas after paying a one-time, 10 percent repatriation tax.

‐ Create Universal Savings Accounts for up to $25,000 in tax-deferred, annual, heritable deposits.

‐ Bury the Payroll Tax, Alternative Minimum Tax, Obamacare taxes, and the Death Tax.

Some economists have criticized Cruz’s 16 percent business levy as an opaque, value-added tax. Consumers usually pay corporate taxes through higher prices, lower wages, reduced dividends, and other less obvious costs.

“If the government is going to take our money,” argues Cato Institute scholar Chris Edwards, “it should mug us on the street in broad daylight, rather than sneak into our homes at night and burglarize us unnoticed. The VAT would encourage more burglary.”

The Simple Flat Tax would be a badly needed testosterone shot for the effete Bush-Obama economy.

Cruz’s commercial tax could be more simple and visible, but it hurts less than the current system. At 16 percent, it is nominally less than half of today’s corporate tax. America’s 35 percent rate is the civilized world’s highest. Cruz’s 53.4 percent chop in the nominal corporate rate would reduce massively the demand for the corporate inversions — the practice of firms moving to low-tax offshore locales – that Obama unilaterally restricted last Monday via tighter regulations rather than lower rates.

The Simple Flat Tax would be a badly needed testosterone shot for the effete Bush-Obama economy. The Tax Foundation estimates that, over a decade, Cruz’s tax modernization would boost wages by 12.2 percent, GDP by 13.9 percent, capital investment by 43.9 percent — all above current projections. Cruz’s blueprint also would spur 4.9 million new jobs. While this initiative would reduce tax receipts by $3.7 trillion, higher revenues from economic expansion would generate $2.9 trillion in taxes. The net price tag for all of the above comes to $768 billion. That’s $62 billion cheaper than Obama’s failed $830 billion “stimulus.”

#share#Atop making tremendous economic sense, Cruz’s flat tax is exactly what his campaign needs right now.

Until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 18, millions of Americans will spend incalculable hours coping with W-2s, W-4s, 1099s, 401(k) statements, notepads, calculators, caffeine, checkbooks, and the other mind-numbing, migraine-inducing minutiae that define tax season.

The time is now for Cruz to tell Republicans in New York and beyond that his presidency would stop this excruciating drudgery. Cruz’s flat tax features a 14-line, postcard-sized return. Today’s 1040 form contains 91 lines.

Voters across America should welcome the prospect of scrapping the 73,954 pages of federal tax rules, slashing the $234 billion cost of tax compliance in 2014, and shrinking the stifling presence of the IRS or whatever Cruz uses to replace the agency that scandalously hogtied conservative non-profits before the 2012 election.

#related#Also, high-tax New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Oregon, New Jersey, California and the other remaining GOP primary states tend to harbor few evangelical Christians and social conservatives. Cruz could prosper by selling his bold and dramatic tax overhaul to fiscal conservatives in these more secular states.

In fact, Cruz met last night in Brooklyn with black business owners and concerned citizens at a gathering organized by John Burnett, a New York financial manager and the 2013 Republican nominee for city comptroller. Cruz predicted that his Simple Flat Tax, as well as broader deregulation, would help entrepreneurs open and expand private-sector companies.

“The effect of that on small businesses,” Cruz said, “we’re going to see jobs coming back to America from China, from Mexico. We’re going to see wages finally rising. The wages of working men and women that have been stuck in stagnation year after year after year. And we’re going to see young people coming out of school with hope, with dreams, with two, three, four, five job offers.” 

Ted Cruz’s 10 percent Simple Flat Tax is the right issue at the right time. He should push it — good and hard — from Manhattan to Malibu.

Deroy Murdock — Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online.

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