Economists Run The Numbers On Ted Cruz’s Tax Plan — It Would Cost $16.2 Trillion

The Fox Business Network’s Republican debate focused on the economy, which meant the candidates spent the evening ignoring President Obama’s history-making job creation numbers and instead played the game of “Who can promise conservative voters the biggest tax cuts?” On a stage full of bloviating tax-cutting demagogues, Sen. Ted Cruz managed to standout by out-crazying them all.

With a straight face, Cruz swore that when he took office he would attempt to abolish the Internal Revenue Service completely, enact a “flat tax” that would result in the wealthiest one percent paying far less in taxes, vowed to let the banks fail during another economic meltdown, and – perhaps most zealously of all – a expressed a desire to get back to the Gold Standard.

His anti-tax stance might play well with his Tea Party base, but needless to say economists were watching the debate in pure confusion. Economic professor and New York Times writer Justin Wolfers live-tweeted his disbelief that Cruz was even considered a serious candidate with some of the things he was saying.

Despite Cruz’s claims to the contrary, the gold standard would be the easiest and surest way to destroy the world economy. Cruz wants to go back to it – and roughly zero economists agree. In 2012, nearly fifty of the country’s top economic experts were asked whether the gold standard would have prevented the recession, 100 percent of them said “no.”

Things get worse from here.

Cruz’s plan to enact a flat tax and abolish the IRS border on advocating the dissolution of the United States government entirely. The economics group “Citizens For Tax Justice” crunched the numbers and documented their horrific findings.

Cruz’s plan would be more costly than any of the other plans put forth by his competitors. A Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) analysis of the Cruz tax plan finds that it would cost $1.3 trillion in its first year alone and a staggering $16.2 trillion over ten years.

Cruz’s plan would eliminate the corporate income tax, the estate tax, and the payroll tax, digging an $18 trillion hole in federal revenues over a decade. He also proposes to sharply reduce the personal income tax, replacing the current graduated rate system with a flat-rate 10 percent.  Cruz’s plan would repeal most itemized deductions and tax credits, but it would leave the mortgage interest and charitable deductions largely intact, along with the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. On balance, these personal income tax changes would lower income tax revenues by 60 percent and add another $12.8 trillion to the plan’s 10-year cost.

Cruz’s attempt to get rid of the “tyranny” of taxes would result in being liberated from a functioning economy altogether. To put things in perspective, at $16.2 trillion, Cruz’s self-inflicted deficit would amount to America’s entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Finally, the oppressed taxpayer would have the freedom to burn wheelbarrow’s full of now-worthless money to keep warm during the long national nightmare of a Cruz presidency. The Tea Party dream.

It should be said that Cruz himself disagrees with this assessment (of course). In his mind, the $16.2 trillion in tax cuts will more than be off-set by America’s thriving job creators utopia where the rich will finally have enough money to feel comfortable creating all those high paying, middle class jobs they swear they have locked away somewhere if only mean Obama wouldn’t oppress them with taxes. You shouldn’t buy it. You know who else thought he could create a job creator utopia? Kansas governor Sam Brownback – and he destroyed his state’s economy.

As Wolfer’s noted with astonishment above, the craziest thing about Ted Cruz is that he’s considered one of the more viable Republican candidates. There are even political observers on both side of the aisle speculating that after Trump and Carson’s inevitable implosions, Cruz may be perfectly poised to get the nomination. If ever there were a reason to get off the couch and vote, I can’t think of it.

Feature image via screen capture