For example, we don’t need six income-tax brackets. Here’s a thought: Take the 33 percent bracket that starts at $188,450 and get rid of it. Ditto for the 28 percent bracket at $123,700 and the 25 percent bracket at $61,300. Get rid of them. Collapse it all down into one simple 15 percent tax bracket. Then figure out what kind of spending cuts are necessary to finance it.
If everyone paid 15 percent of all of their income – no exemptions, no progressivity – this would not cover the non-Social Security portion of Federal outlays including interest over the long-run (something to do with those rising health care expenditures due to the Prescription Drug Benefit). Is Kudlow so stupid that he doesn’t realize that this would be a massive Federal income tax increase on the middle class, the working poor, and even those in poverty? Kevin is not so incredibly stupid:
My back-of-the-envelope calculation says Larry’s fiscal brainstorm will cost us about $250 billion. So now that I’ve figured that out for him, how about if he games out the spending cuts first and then we take a look at his revenue ideas? It’s funny that no one ever wants to do that, but $250 billion in cuts to the non-defense, non-security, non-Medicare, non-Social Security, non-interest categories of the federal budget ought to be pretty easy for a bunch of fiscal barracudas like the modern GOP, shouldn’t it? And I think the Republican presidential field would be pretty pleased to run on all these spending cuts once somebody puts them on the table. So let’s hear it. On the bright side, at least Larry is conceding that these tax cuts would require spending reductions in the first place. In his usual alternative universe he would have just said they’d pay for themselves and no reductions would be necessary, so I guess that’s progress. Then again, maybe he just momentarily forgot his talking points today.
Something tells me that Fred Thompson and RUDY are both calling Kudlow the Klown to help them fine tune their fiscal messages.
Update: On the spending side, Kudlow the Klown writes:
When you look at the non-defense, non-security budget between FY 2001 and FY 2007 — when the GOP controlled three houses in Washington — spending rose roughly $550 billion dollars. That’s a whopping 38 percent, or 5.5 percent each year. It’s also more than twice the 2.4 percent inflation rate during that period. The Education Department was by far the biggest transgressor. It posted an alarming yearly growth of 11.4 percent. Other obvious abusers include the Interior Department, which grew at 5.8 percent, and Transportation, which came in at 4.4 percent. Rounding out the profligate herd was Energy with 5.1 percent; Agriculture at 4.5 percent; and HUD at 4 percent. Every single one of these government agencies ballooned its budget well beyond the inflation rate.
Max Sawicky might call these big increases in small programs. But Kudlow also notes that total nondefense spending has risen by 5.5% per year! That’s in nominal terms folks and it is about the same of the growth rate of nominal GDP. Check out my graph of nondefense Federal purchases. Kudlow wants you to believe these are huge and growing rapidly. Even a village idiot would know this claim was false. I suspect Kudlow is not THAT stupid. But would this hack lie to his readers? Why not? He usual does.
Someone needs to ask Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg why they have not fired Kudlow. Do they think their readers are really so stupid not to see through his serial dishonesty?