Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard:
As his chief talking point, Bush has relied on his record as Florida governor, insisting he would rejuvenate the nation as he did Florida. That pitch fell flat. So the sooner he elevates tax reform to the top spot, the better. Presidential campaigns are about the future. His eight years as governor ended on January 2, 2007. That’s ancient history, politically speaking. Grassroots Republicans aren’t interested. His tax proposal is the future.
The other Republican candidates have their own tax plans, and they won’t sit still. Mike Huckabee favors the Fair Tax, a national sales tax. Marco Rubio has cosponsored with Senator Mike Lee of Utah a plan to cut the top tax rate to 35 percent on personal income and 25 percent on corporate profits. Both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul favor flat taxes. We’re waiting to hear from Trump on taxes.
All those plans are dwarfed by Bush’s. They aren’t as serious in one important sense: Their prospects of gaining sufficient support to pass Congress are nil. The only one with a remote chance of passage is Rubio’s. But the Bush plan is far more viable. It has Reagan written all over it. That means it’s slightly radical but attractive to voters.
Reagan cut the top income tax rate to 28 percent for individuals. Bush would do the same, dropping it from 39.6 percent. He would slash the corporate rate, currently the highest in the developed world at 35 percent, to 20 percent. By repealing Obamacare, Bush would let the tax rate on capital gains fall to 20 percent, along with the tax rate on dividends.
That’s not all for taxpayers. Tax brackets would be reduced from seven (10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35, and 39.6 percent) to three (10, 25, and 28 percent). The standard deduction would increase by $10,000 for married filers and $5,000 for singles. Deductions would be capped at 2 percent of adjusted gross income.