Hillary Clinton's Teases Her New Tax Plan, & Here's How It Stacks Up Against Other Candidates
Over the next month, according to CBS News, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton plans to give voters a glimpse of what her tax policies will look like, and on Saturday, there was one major point that her campaign decided to lead-off with: Hillary Clinton's support for the so-called Buffett rule. Initially framed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett as "my secretary shouldn't pay more taxes than me," it's been a staple proposal within the Democratic party for several years now, after President Obama publicly backed the idea in 2011 ― the implementation of the Buffett rule would mean individuals earning more than $1 million in income would have to pay no less than a 30 percent effective tax rate.
Obviously, this is just one component of a larger plan that will reportedly be revealed in the weeks to come. However attractive the idea of raising taxes on millionaire earners might be to liberals and progressives, the Buffett rule on its own would be a little thin. But it does provide a good jumping-off point to compare a crucial component of Clinton's tax plan against her Democratic rivals, as well as some of the Republicans most likely to emerge from their side of the primary process. Here's how her plan for a minimum 30 percent effective tax rate on $1 million and up income earners stacks up against her opponents' plans for America's top earners.
1. Vs. Bernie Sanders
It's only right to lead things off with Clinton's foremost Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Although Sanders has similarly been vague on details so far, like the specific tax rate he'd back form the top-bracket of income earners (he initially suggested that Eisenhower-era rates of about 90 percent weren't unthinkable, but since backed off that claim). He has suggested in the past that the top rate would be more than 50 percent if he had his way, although as he said in the second Democratic presidential debate, "we haven’t come up with an exact number yet." In short, if you want a progressive tax plan that goes even further on top income rates than Clinton's, you're virtually assured that from Sanders.
2. Vs. Donald Trump
Like it or not, Trump's the GOP frontrunner, so there's a very real chance you'll be measuring his tax plan against Clinton's this summer. And Trump wants taxes on the top earners in America to go down, not up ― he wants the top income tax bracket to be slashed to 25 percent. In fairness, his plan would cut taxes across the board, and would expand the number of low-income households that pay no income tax by about five percent. But as far as the wealthy are concerned, a Trump tax plan would make for a very cushy pile of extra money.
3. Vs. Marco Rubio
If the Republican establishment were to have its way, you'd probably see Florida Sen. Marco Rubio escape from the pack with the nomination, although the establishment has rarely seemed quite as limp and ineffective as it has this election cycle. Rubio's tax plan would cut the current top tax rate to 35 percent, and all told, it would have a very beneficial impact for the richest Americans, with an average savings of more than $200,000 for the top one percent.
4. Vs. Ted Cruz
It's easy to forget now, but Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the first Republican to jump in the race, and his long view approach to the race has left him well-positioned to jockey with Rubio and Trump coming down the stretch. His tax plan is unique compared to Clinton and the three candidates listed above: he supports a ten percent flat rate for all income earners. This would be an extremely regressive tax, effectively slashing the top tax rate nearly 30 percent.