Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Flat Tax

The Third Republican Debate and the Tale of the Terrible Tax Plans

In the third republican presidential debate, the moderators gave the candidates a hard time over their tax plans, and the candidates responded by accusing the moderators of being biased. Said Ted Cruz:

The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions — “Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?” “Ben Carson, can you do math?” “John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?” “Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?” “Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?” How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about? And Carl — Carl, I’m not finished yet. The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, “Which of you is more handsome and wise?”

This was a clever move by Cruz–republican voters have been trained to believe that the media is out to get them, to suspect that whenever the republicans get asked tough questions that the journalists’ claims are exaggerated or even fabricated. He succeeded in distracting the viewing audience from the real story of the third debate–the deeply flawed tax plans laid out by the GOP candidates.

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Trump’s Tax Plan is Regressive and Unrealistic, Copies Bush and Romney

I was disappointed to read Donald Trump‘s tax plan today. In recent weeks, Trump has been talking a pretty progressive game on taxes. Many of us, myself included, speculated that Trump might be a bit left wing on this issue and might be attempting to shift the Republican Party a to the left on economic issues. Unfortunately, this appears to have been wishful thinking. Trump’s new plan is almost precisely the same as Jeb Bush‘s and Mitt Romney’s. This still puts him to the left of flat tax and fair tax candidates (Carson, Cruz, Paul, Huckabee, Perry, Walker all explicitly endorsed one or both, while Rubio and Kasich have expressed interest in ultimately going to a flat tax), but it puts him to the right of Hillary Clinton and far, far to the right of Bernie Sanders. So let’s talk a bit about how the Romney/Bush/Trump tax plan works, why it’s so disappointing, and what the differences are between the various versions of the plan.

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I Read It So You Don’t Have To: The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

There are a lot of people out there who say that we shouldn’t write about Donald Trump. They call him a figure of fun, an entertainer. But at this point, Donald Trump has been leading in the national republican primary polls for longer than any of the anti-Romneys we saw in 2012:

GOP Surges

The day may come when Trump no longer leads in the polls, but it is not this day–despite the claims of pundits to the contrary, far more viewers picked Trump as the winner of yesterday’s GOP debate than picked any other candidate:

2nd Republican Debate Survey

So I think it’s appropriate to take Trump seriously, to really try to figure out what makes him tick and what his appeal is. To that end, I have acquired and read, cover to cover, The Art of the DealTrump’s 1987 bestseller. I am now prepared to share what I have learned with you.

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Bogus Claims and Broken Arguments: The First 2016 GOP Presidential Debate

The pundits are out in force today arguing about which republican candidate performed best in yesterday’s debate. But the pundit definition of “best” is, well, not the best. They evaluate politics descriptively, disputing who will get the most support, not who should. There’s precious little serious reflection on the quality of the arguments presented. Candidates know this, and consequently every election they behave more theatrically, trying to score cheap points with burns and put-downs instead of engaging in nuanced policy discussion. So instead of discussing whose personal anecdote was the most touching or whose one-liner had the most zing, I invite you to join me in a dissection of the substantive claims and arguments we did see.

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