New Republican Tax Plan Cuts Rates on the Rich

| Tue Feb. 25, 2014 11:02 AM EST

Excellent. Yet another tax plan from the Republican Party:

The long-awaited simplification of the tax code being drafted by House Republicans would slash the top income tax rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent and impose a surtax on some of the nation’s wealthiest households.

Under the proposal, set for release Wednesday, the vast majority of taxpayers would see little change in the ultimate size of their tax bills, according to a nonpartisan congressional analysis of the legislation.

The vast majority, eh? Interesting. I wonder which tiny minority will see their taxes fall? Let me guess....

Of course, I could be proven wrong when the plan is released tomorrow and we get to see the analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation. However, I'm not encouraged by the fact that reducing the number of tax brackets is apparently a key feature of this "simplification" plan. That doesn't simplify things by even an iota. The hard part of calculating your taxes, after all, is figuring out your taxable income. That takes about 99.9 percent of your time. Once that's all done, the final step is to look up the amount you owe in the tax table. That part takes about 30 seconds.

So the only real reason to reduce the number of brackets is to somehow lower taxes on the rich. There's just no other plausible motivation. And every tax plan ever proposed by a Republican over the past three decades has effectively done exactly that.

I'm also not encouraged by the fact that the plan lovingly sets out the precise tax rates for high-income earners but remains hazy about exactly which tax breaks it's going to eliminate to make up for the lower rates. It's funny that these Republican proposals always lay out the rates they want down to the percentage point, but suddenly get fuzzy when it comes to eliminating deductions and tax credits. Gotta defer to the will of Congress on that, the authors tell us.

You betcha. But I'd say it shows where their heart really is when it comes to taxes: cutting rates on the rich. So I think it's a good bet that this is what we'll see tomorrow.

But I could be wrong! Maybe Republicans have finally seen the light. I'll be waiting with bated breath for all the details.

UPDATE: I was wrong. Details here.